In our family...

In our family....we do second chances...we do grace...we do real...we do mistakes...we do I'm sorry (and I forgive you)...we do loud really well...we do hugs...we do family...we do love.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Today is a hot coffee and hot chocolate kind of Minnesota day. It started snowing yesterday morning which made my drive home from work a slow one. It snowed all night and started blowing so schools are closed and since my drive to work is through the country side and the visibility and roads aren’t good, I am home today. Lucky me.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.

The little’s were thrilled.

 I threw together a stew and cleaned house, while the little’s played house & school all morning long. I listened to them playing and repeating things they hear and by golly they imitate us pretty darn good.

I was cooking in the kitchen when they came knocking at my pretend door looking like this…CIMG0049 CIMG0051


“Could we borrow a can of beer?” they asked excitedly. “A beer?” I asked. To which they said, “We’re not old enough to buy beer at the liquor store and we need a beer for the chili we’re making.”

Silly little’s. They really do pay attention to when I am cooking in the kitchen.

Please note the wig on little man’s head. He loves wearing it so much that he decided to sneak it to school last week.  When I found it in his backpack he confessed to taking it and wearing it at school because he wanted all of his friends and his teacher to see him with it on. Makes perfect sense to me. :) I asked him what his teacher said to him and he said she couldn’t stop laughing and then she made him put it back in his backpack.

Please note the desk and paint that were left in the middle of the living room by my daughter. Any guesses to how many times they asked if they could paint the desk this morning? Any guesses to how many times I caught them investigating the paint?

Speaking of little man…he proudly announced last night, that he had been given the “golden dustpan award” at school for keeping his classroom clean. Which doesn’t really surprise us since he likes cleaning and has not lost his love for vacuum's. I told my husband that just maybe little man’s dream of being a janitor someday will come true after all. My husband didn’t find this very funny. The reason he wants to be a janitor is because he thinks their vacuums are really really cool.

Finally, just before lunch I set the kids loose outside(all bundled up of course) and they actually got some of the driveway and side walk shoveled. They each have their own shovel and are still young enough to think it’s fun to shovel.

CIMG0052 CIMG0053

It has continued to snow off and on all day and the wind is still howling outside. To think this is just the beginning of the season. I would go into hibernation…but then I would miss out on all the fun of  building snowmen, sledding and throwing snowballs at my kids and husband.

I look outside and it is snowing again. I might just need to add a little something to my hot chocolate when I come back inside from doing a little shoveling.

Oh the joys of living in the middle of a winter wonderland and life with the little’s.

Anyone up for a good snowball fight?

I’ll have the hot chocolate ready.

Until next time, hugs and love, Lori

My Youngest Son

In a little over a week my youngest son will begin his journey home. Yes, I am happy that he will be closer…at least he will be for awhile. I will enjoy those things I’ve missed about him…his laughter, seeing him smile, hugging him and watching and hearing him tease & play with the little’s…and hearing him say, “Oh Mother…”even though I’ve heard these words over the phone numerous times these past few years, there is something about hearing them when he is standing before me.


This child of mine…my last born…is the one that challenged me the most and honestly I said time and again that had he been my first, he would have been my last. I do not say this in a bad way…he was just that…my hard child…my strong willed child…he wanted to eat all of the time…he cried the loudest…he tested me…over and over again, all in the same day…he climbed out of his crib at a very young age which only led to him climbing on the counters and before long, unlatching the gate and running down the street…which led to him figuring out ways to get on top of the roof of the house. I kid not.

He just never stopped unless it was to eat or sleep. Not in a hyper active sort of way…more like a non stop thinking and doing sort of way.

You would think I wasn’t watching him but I was. Like a hawk. I had these other kids and a daycare business which meant other children and of course I needed to use the bathroom on occasion.

When he was 15 months old we attended the local county fair and he was literally stolen out of the wagon he had been sitting in. Some woman snatched him out of the wagon when I had turned my back on him for mere seconds, and then tried to leave with him. It was 15 minutes of the scariest time of my life and had they not acted quickly by shutting down the gates, he would not be here now. Apparently she tried to get out of the gates with him and when they tried questioning her, she put him down on the round and ran.

I have never forgotten the terror I felt that day. I knew deep in my heart that we had been spared one of the worst nightmares of our lives.

All through his growing up years he was a handful. He tested and tried me like none of my other children had. He might have made me cry but he didn’t break me. Let’s just say he did not give up easily but neither did I.

I am not sure when everything changed. It’s like I blinked my eye’s and he came around to being this respectful kind young man.

To give you a glimpse of his character at the age of 17. When my step daughter went into labor he took care of little man so that I could be in the labor room with her. When it got close for little lady to make her entrance into the world, he drove over an hour to the hospital so that he and little man could be there to welcome her into the world. Since they pretty much became ours right from that point, he went to sharing his last year at home with 2 little one’s. He spent a lot of his senior year rocking her and sleeping in the chair with her and playing with little man to help us out. He did a lot of the things a father would do and yet he took no credit.

This was a common sight for him to be holding one of these two…



Fast forward to 3 years ago. It was his senior year of high school and it was the evening of his high school Christmas concert. He left early to go pick up his girlfriend while we were still home getting the little’s ready to go. I was almost ready to go when the phone rang. My husband came to me and I knew instantly something was wrong. It was my husbands brother on the phone saying that my son was in an accident.

Apparently a relative of his had been driving and almost hit my son, who was standing in the road. He was bleeding and could barely walk. She put my son in her car immediately because it was really cold outside. She called for an ambulance and while they waited she asked him who he was but he didn’t know. She knew what town he was from because he had a lettermen's jacket on. She asked him if he had his license and he gave it to her. When she seen the name she called her aunt who is married to my brother-in-law, and they lived in that same town and asked her if she knew who this was since they lived in our area. It really is a small world. And a miracle that someone found him on this cold dark night.

A short time later, the ambulance driver called me and told me where they were taking him and let me talk to him. After getting to the hospital the ambulance workers came in to see my son and one by one they told us that it was a complete miracle that he was alive. In one man’s words, “Merry Christmas, I think you’ve just received a Christmas miracle.”

They had me come out of his room and they told me what had likely happened. They also told me that to look at the car you would never know that anyone could have lived through that. The road was a road that wasn’t traveled that much and with it being totally pitch black outside, it was a miracle that he not only found the road but that someone found him.

Apparently he had fallen asleep and went over the road and flew into a field. He hit his head which knocked him out. When he woke up he dug himself out and crawled out of the car and then had to crawl in the snow quite a distance to the road. He had no idea where he was, let alone his name.

 A few days later when I seen the car I was not only horrified but I now knew why the ambulance workers had said all that they did. I have no clue to how he survived this accident. All I know is that his life was spared on this cold dark night in early December, 3 years ago. I was once again spared the nightmare of losing my son.

During both of these moments I imagined my life with out him…in those quick seconds all of his life flashed before my eye’s like a movie..I remember with tears in my eye’s, how I could have lost him and how thankful I am that I didn’t. I am forever grateful that I was spared the agony of losing him.

These experiences of almost not having him, make him extraordinary. The person he is, makes him extraordinary because of what he has made of himself. Whether it’s being the young man that stepped it up to play “daddy” at 17 or being the greatest uncle to each of his nieces and nephews, by being a positive role model. He is without a doubt a stand up guy just like his big brother.


Do you think the little’s are a little bit crazy about him?


After he graduated he moved to North Florida to attend college near his Dad. He attended for 2 years and then moved to South Florida to attend a police academy. He has lived with my eldest daughter and her family, and has been working while waiting to start school. Over the past couple of months he has come to realize that he didn’t really like living there and so has plans for attending the police school which is in a nearby town, here in Minnesota.


I cannot wait until he moves home. I know that this move home is only a temporary stop until he moves onto his next adventure. I know this because I am the one that gave him his wings and he’s known to be pretty good at flying. I can only hope that his next adventure keeps him a little closer to home.

My son’s life was spared twice and I don’t take that lightly. It still causes me to hug all my children a little tighter and to make sure I say “I love you.” as often as I can….and to be really really thankful for every day I get to be their Mom.


Until next time, love & hugs, Lori

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saying Good-bye

Right after I clicked “publish” for my last post, I received a call from my friend. Her mother, who is my friend as well(I wrote about her recently)is dying. She is now in hospice and their goal is to keep her comfortable until she dies. The day’s get long and hard when one sits alone with their mother or wife, watching her slip away, more and more each day. So instead of digging my hands into the mess down in the dungeon, I went to be with my friends.

As hard as it is to watch someone suffer, or die, or whatever else someone is experiencing, there is no place that I would rather be then along side them. To just sit, to look into eye’s and speak love with them, to give kisses, hugs and love, to whisper words of support and to just “be” with her and them.

There really is nothing one can say or do to take the pain and suffering associated with watching a loved one die, away from them. She is the love of his life and he is watching her leave. She is her mother, her best friend and she can’t hang onto her anymore.

I have watched this woman live fully and wonderfully and as I participate in the ending of this wonderful life, I am forced to pay attention to my own mortality and that of my own loved ones.

Now that she is drinking and eating very little, her body is shutting down more and more. Her body is doing all the things one does when it’s the end.

When I was sitting with her in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about how we were in this building in which the coming and going of life was either celebrated or grieved. It was very likely that a new life was making it’s entrance into this world at that moment, while another was leaving it. How loved one’s were excitedly gathered to welcome the new life into their lives, while in another section of the hospital, other loved one’s gathered to comfort while their loved one made their exit. First breathes. Last breathes. Joy over new life and sadness that it is over.

She asks God to take her. Because we love her and hate seeing her suffer, we too pray for God to take her. Still, she has hung on and we speculated that it may be because she is waiting for her other children to get here from out of state. When she was told that they were coming her face lit up and she smiled and even laughed. They arrived last night.

This whole letting go and saying goodbye is a painful one. Wanting to hang on to this woman that brought you life or shared life with you and yet knowing you have to let go because it’s their time to leave. Grieving because you can already see the parts of her that have left and knowing it won’t be long.

She will make her exit soon and we will mourn the loss of such a beautiful person. The beauty of her heart and the life she lived is evident in those who love her. She will be sadly missed yet we will joyfully celebrate the gift of her life and all that she was. She lived and loved fully and that is the legacy she leaves behind.

Please pray for my friends. That as they gather in her final hours that they will be drawn tightly together and that she will know it’s okay to leave. Pray that her suffering ends soon. And that the suffering of her family and friends that she leaves me behind, comes to an end. Her leaving will be bittersweet in that such a beautiful woman is no longer suffering. Thank you.

We did get quite a bit done in the dungeon yesterday and will work part of the day on it until we get the little’s back or get called away. Isn’t it something that things like this seem so very small in comparison to things of life and death or friends and family?

Do me a favor…hug those you love today…hold them close…tell them how you feel about them and back it up with action..heal a grudge you have with a loved one…smile and laugh…do something you enjoy…live today fully.

Until next time, hugs and love, Lori

Friday, November 26, 2010

Random Blessings

In spite of getting snow and freezing rain on Thanksgiving eve, we were able to travel up north on Thanksgiving and we had a very nice day. How thankful I am for the blessing of a dependable vehicle and such special people to spend a day of giving thanks with.

On the 2 1/2 hour drive to our Thanksgiving destination, I had opportunity to make calls of Thanksgiving wishes to loved ones. As I made call after call to express my gratefulness for each of these people being in my life, my heart swelled with the thought of having so many amazing people in my life. It can be difficult to not be with my children and grandchildren to celebrate the holiday’s but in my heart they are always with me and I cannot help but be grateful that they are alive and well.

The little’s were ecstatic because they got to spend the day with their best friend, Esox and other people they simply adore.



Little lady and Esox have a very special relationship…




Little man got a chance to help in the kitchen.

156047_1726822777137_1435450271_31836580_2930773_n  My little “Emeril” wanna be in action…155688_1726822937141_1435450271_31836581_268944_n

They had a blast making a joyful noise with my nieces…





We got a chance to see the deer come up near the house and eat at the twilight hour…



Even more exciting is that the little’s get to stay up north and play in the snow and woods for a few days, while my husband and I came back home to work and get things done in our basement in preparation for my son moving back home. My grandson is gone to visit his daddy so our home is completely child free. What a blessing to have this time to get something accomplished without 3 sets of little hands digging where they are not suppose to or having another part of the house get completely demolished while we focus elsewhere.

I should be down working in the dungeon instead of reading blogs and writing this post. But what a blessing it was to stop by and visit today without feeling guilty.

Can I just say peace & quiet are not over rated?

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I suppose it is time to welcome all things Christmas. My intent is to not let the commercialism or stress that can come with all of it, steal the Christmas magic. We will wait to put up a tree and decorate it until my son has moved back home the second week of December. We will bake and do crafts and make most of our gifts this year instead of focusing on financial lack or thinking our Christmas must look like it does on TV or that we will not have Christmas since we can’t buy gifts. Our intent is to think of ways to spread Christmas joy and to make merry because we have so many reasons to do so.

Now that our outdoors is covered in snow and it is closer to 0 then not, it is starting to look a lot like Christmas. The little’s love it and cheer with excitement whenever that white stuff falls from the sky and they want to be out in it playing all of the time. I guess I really don’t mind it since it can be kind of fun and it gets them out of the house.

The other night I had this most incredible vivid dream about many of you. In my dream we were all together at this big blog party and I got to spend 3 days of fun with all of you. Things you each have written recently or information that I know about you were filtered through out the dream. It was so real and so fantastic that when I woke up I was super happy and then I realized it was just a dream. Bummer. Still, it was such a blessing and makes me smile whenever I think about it.


If you are from the US I hope you and yours had a wonderful day of sharing in Thanksgiving and that today you are not only full from the good food but from good times with friends and family as well.  If you were one of those out shopping in the black Friday madness I hope you got a lot of great deals and it was worth standing out in the cold(if you live where it’s cold) and fighting crowds. 

I suppose I should get myself down to the dungeon and begin this great task of sorting and cleaning. But first I think there is a day after Thanksgiving sandwich calling out my name.

Happy weekend to you and your loved one’s. May peace, love and joy wrap themselves around you no matter the circumstances or what life has served to you in this moment.

Until next time, hugs & love, Lori 







Tuesday, November 23, 2010

To be thankful


How easy it is for me to take the little things in life for granted. It is easy to forget how blessed we are to live in this era with all it’s modern conveniences. I think about the early settlers on the ships that set sail for a new country and what life was like during the first Thanksgivings. A toilet that flushes, hot running water to bathe in and to use at our beckoning, electricity that allows us to see in the dark and to turn things on & off with just a switch, machines that wash & dry our clothes, and heating & cooling systems that make our homes comfortable to live in and protect us from the elements. Not to mention TV’s, stereo’s, gaming systems, computers, telephones and many more material things for our added entertainment.

While we do work hard to have what we have, I am grateful for our jobs and ability to make money and that these afford us these things that make our lives easier. I  know that these things could be taken away in a heart beat due to tragedy, illness, death, or economics. There are no guarantee's of life remaining as I know it now. I know what it is to live without some of these things. For example, there was a time in my life when buying meat or anything of the sort was not in my budget. To this day, whenever I purchase, prepare or eat meat, a gratefulness that I cannot describe with words, comes over me. Maybe this is how or why I learned to live happily in a simplistic way of life.

In all actuality I could live without many of these things because I have but what I could not live without are people, love, forgiveness and grace.

I have walked willingly and unwillingly through the depths of hell. In breaking bread with the devil and his companions I lived a life that is so far from what I know now that it almost feels like I am telling you about someone else.

Hands that reached out to me in my disparity, bearing these gifts of love, forgiveness and grace, gave me the keys to my freedom. 

Had I not met love I would not be here writing right at this very moment. And I am not talking about the romantic kind love. Had I not known what it truly means to be forgiven I would not have been able to stand myself enough to continue on. Literally. Had I not known the release of forgiving those who have transgressed me, I am absolutely sure these things would have made me a bitter unhappy woman today. Grace in all it’s glory set my record clean. 

Had I not accepted these gifts, I would never have found the value of these lessons I learned in my walks through hell. Those play dates with the devil were not all in vain because he taught me everything I do not want or want to be in this life of mine; bitterness, rage, abuse, violence, agony, deceit, dishonesty,and a whole slew of other things not worth repeating.

These beautiful things called love, forgiveness and grace, stole my heart and changed it. They took my heart of stone and shaped it into something that has this great capacity to love others. They turned me inside out and shook up every belief I had up until this point in my life. The thing is, getting to lay all these transgressions down didn’t mean that all the bad I had done was okay or that the things done to me were justified, it just meant they were done. Finished. Laid down. Grace helped me leave it there and not go back.

Walking without the weight of all these things on me, felt like flying. I was free. The kind of freedom that make the life I live now possible. 

I will be forever eternally grateful that the beauty that is grace helped me to take all that was and turn it into something more. 

This is why I love so passionately and fiercely. This is why I cannot hate or judge or turn anyone away. This is why I want everyone that I come into contact with to know what it feels like to be loved & forgiven without strings and to be seen through the eye’s of grace. This is why I am who I am…all because love and forgiveness found me and grace said it was okay for me to accept it.

The thing is, my soul still needs this love, forgiveness and grace today. In a sense my life depends on them.

I am grateful for every single person that has ever given me these gifts of love, forgiveness and grace. I am thankful for each person that has come in and gone out of my life. I know all too well that these people we hold so close to our hearts can be taken from us in a mere moment. I know it enough to be thankful for each person I get to spend today with because I may not get to share in tomorrow with them.

I humbly tell you I don’t deserve half of what I got in this life but I humbly accept every bit of it. This husband of mine that cherishes me and loves me big, thinks I am really something.  These 7 children of mine that call me Mom or Mommy, that have stretched my heart so big and have their names chiseled into my heart,will forever and always have me thankful that I get to be their Mom. These grandchildren who toss and turn my heart with their adoration of me, simply and utterly amaze me.

If today is my last day on this earth, I leave it as a very blessed woman. I was given a second chance at living and I will be forever grateful for every single day I got. I have loved and been loved to the fullest extent. What more could I ask for? Every day that I get is just an added bonus, so I live every day as if it were my last. Of course I don’t want to leave here but if my time were up I would want it to be known that I lived a good life.

I sit here thinking of my husband, children, family and friends and many of you that share these gifts with me in this present day and it makes my heart burst with thankfulness. Do you have any clue to how grateful I am for each of you? Thank you for sharing who you are with me. For letting me learn from you and for taking time for me. Thank you for helping me to see what I sometimes have a hard time seeing. Thank you…from the bottom of my heart and all that is in me, thank you.

To all of you celebrating Thanksgiving or not, Happy Thanksgiving. Happy thankful day. Even if you are not celebrating Thanksgiving be thankful for all that you are and the multitude of blessings that are yours. Tell someone you are thankful for them today. I am pretty sure it will make their day.

Until next time, hugs & love & much gratitude for you, Lori

Sunday, November 21, 2010


In a couple of weeks my eldest son will fly to Florida to help my youngest son move back home. I love my boys with all my heart as mothers are known to do, so there is nothing extraordinary about that. But, if you knew their stories…of how they became mine, then you would know that these otherwise ordinary boys are in fact extraordinary. 

My eldest son is by far one of the most honorable men of character I’ve ever known. He has a story that runs deep and is wide with experiences that no boy should have had to experience. I did not give birth to my eldest son in the traditional sense instead I gave birth to him in my heart. He started out as my nephew and because of tragedy became my son.

Both of his parents and both of his grandparents (my mother and father in law) all died within the span of a year and a half.

Because it was laid out in the will for a certain uncle and aunt to get them, that is where they had to go. I understand their reasoning behind having them as the guardians since these people were very wealthy. But, that is all they were thinking about. They did not stop and think about the culture shock it would be for them to go from living in a small run down home out in the country to living in a million dollar home in an upper class community in the big city.

Let me pause here to say that we as parents need to think of the whole picture when we are deciding the fate of our children should both parents pass away. There is more to raising a child then mere money and love goes a long way when it comes to bringing up a child. Thinking about the family structure of the home they would move into, needs to be considered.

Their Grandma died of cancer first. She was the dearest mother in law and someone that I have never ever stopped missing.She was the glue of this family. Their father died next, exactly one month after they discovered he had throat cancer. It wasn’t many months later when the 3 of them came home from school one afternoon to find their Mom dead on the floor. I will never ever forget the phone call from the eldest boy saying, “My Mom is dead. Can you come?” One month later, their Grandpa died.

The 3 of them stayed with us for the first few weeks after their Mom died. I did not want them to leave. Ever. We wanted to keep them so badly but it was insisted that they would be better off with the wealthy aunt and uncle. Moving in with this aunt and uncle meant they lost literally most of their belongings because none of them were good enough to move into their home. As if they hadn’t lost enough, they lost their dog, most of their toys and clothes. They made the move with very few things so it was as if they were not only stripped of all the significant caregivers in their lives but anything personal to them as well.

I still remember the day they left to go live there. It made me literally sick to watch them leave because I knew deep down this was not right. 

They were wise in sending them for grief counseling. Except for the fact that the counselors told them that these boys would never live normal lives because of these losses and because of the dysfunction they discovered upon digging deeper into their lives before the deaths.

We got a call a couple months into them being with them and were told they were not adjusting and that they were behaving badly. Then a family meeting was called and they informed all of us of what the grief counselors said. When they announced that they would never be normal, I started crying. My brother in law went on to say that they had sat the boys down and told them that since they were so unhappy living with them, that come the end of the school year, they would be free to go search for a home that would want them. AND that they doubted they would find anyone that would want them!

What the hell? Who say’s things like this to children? I was furious to say the least. I wanted to punch him. What kind of people give this kind of life sentence to children?

Come the beginning of June, my eldest son called and asked if he could come visit. He came the middle of June and he never left again until he was out of high school. Within a couple of weeks he was so tied into our home that I could not possibly send him away. I quite literally fell in love with this boy.

He went away to camp for one week and after having a family meeting, we contacted the family and told them we did not want to give him back. We expected a fight but they were elated to be free of him. His 2 brothers had each went to different family members that also wished to keep them. The day we picked him up from camp we asked him if he wanted to live with us permanently. He literally flew up from the table and screamed. Tears streamed down our faces as he hugged us in excitement.

When we got home that day I told him, this is your home now. What is ours is yours. The other kids were instrumental in making him feel a part of our family and home. Not once, in anger or otherwise did any one of them say a negative thing in regards to him joining our family. 

I told him that he could call us Mom and Dad when and if he wanted or whatever he felt comfortable doing…that no matter what he would always have his Mom and Dad in heaven. I explained to him that if something happened to me that I would want my kids to have a Mom…that they would always have me, their Mom in heaven but that it would make me happy if they had a Mom on earth.

I did not take him as a son because I felt sorry for him. I took him as my son because I felt God calling me to do this. I lost two children to stillbirths and I told him when I first got him that his mom was up in heaven rocking my babies for me and that I was here to love and care for him here on earth for her. I truly felt Gods hand on us. Taking him felt so right... so perfect...he seemed like the child I had been waiting for.

It was not easy though. He had not been allowed to properly grieve the losses that had come one after the other, in his life. The grandparents that had died, had been very active in his life, spending a lot of time in their home and were probably the closest to him. For many months, I was up with him every single night, hugging him as he cried. Night after night he woke me up, much like a new born baby, except he just needed someone to hold him and make him feel safe. We cried many tears together those dark nights but I knew he needed to do this in order to heal.

Ever so slowly he began to heal and with the love of those around him he became such a part of our family that not one of us look at him as if he wasn't born into our family. I did not do this alone. It was a family thing...his three sisters and brother had a very big hand in this...we couldn't have done this without them.

The ironic thing is, he looks like he was born into my family. He and my middle daughter who are fairly close in age and were in the same grade together, could almost pass for twins.

I am not sure when the grieving ended. All I know is that he began to smile more then he cried. He was happy more than sad. He started sleeping through the night. He started acting like my son and a brother to my other children and before long his being with us with just normal.

It was during all of this that he came to be my son. I quite literally gave birth to him in my heart. It feels like he has always been here. He has another mother that lives in heaven and I vowed to her and to God that I would love him like a son and treat him as such. It has been easy to keep that vow. I don't look at him any differently then the children I gave birth to, so it is easy for me to forget that he did not come from my body.

I have been blessed over and over by this precious son of special gift sent to me from heaven. He is an extraordinary man of character. He is everything I could hope for in a son. He is an example for his younger brother and his 3 sisters. He is such a great uncle to his two nieces and 2 nephews that they adore him. I’m pretty sure little lady has him wrapped around her fingers.

This is him(in the red shirt)with little lady on his lap.



He is known for his smile and good nature. He is kind, gentle, hard working, thoughtful, responsible, honest and very well liked.  He is not bitter nor has ever used these things as excuses to feel sorry for himself or to not try at things. Actually, it’s been quite the opposite. He has a allowed these things to make him a better person.

I would love to take him back to these counselors whom gave him this life sentence of never being normal. He is not only normal he is extraordinary.

My son is living proof that good can come out of tragedy and that life can continue after the storm. He is living proof that God can work miracles of healing in those that have suffered great loss. He is my proof that gifts and children come in all different ways. He has taught me many lessons along this journey that I will never lose sight of. He is my reminder that life is precious and that we need to hold on tightly to those we love, because each day is a gift with them.

What is really nice is that he lives in a nearby town and actually likes living in Minnesota so I don’t think he will be flying far away from me. He has a wonderful girlfriend that has a son that is 8 years old. I have a feeling that there might be a wedding in our future which would make me pretty happy to have them be a part of our family as well but we will have to see.

He is still close with his 2 brothers from birth and the 2 of them actually own a house together and  live a few blocks from me. 

Soon, I will tell you the story about my other extraordinary son.

Just writing this, makes my heart overwhelmed with gratefulness. What are you grateful for today?


Until next time, love & hugs, Lori 


Friday, November 19, 2010

The Birth of a Mom

I talk a lot about my little’s here and while I have written about my 5 now grown children on occasion, I realized recently that the last time I really shared about them was towards the beginning of this blog. Since most of you were not readers way back then, you probably haven’t read much about them.

Being a good Mom is my passion. Preparing children for their road ahead is something that is as important to me as my beating heart. I know that I am more than this Mom title and I have other passions as well but none of them are as close to my heart as this.

This is my story about how I became a Mommy to my first five children… 

I was still a child myself when I started out on this journey. As I birthed and raised each of them, I basically grew up with them. They raised me up, so to speak, to be the Mommy I am right now. I seriously give them much of the credit for teaching me what I know today. The trial & error’s of this journey of learning what it really means to be a Mommy or parent is one in which I fell on my face more often then not.

I give them the credit because when I started this Mommy gig I didn’t really have a clue to what the hell I was doing, even though I had gotten lots of advice from reading tons of parenting books. While these books can give some great wisdom to help out with this incredibly big task, it comes down to us putting what we know into practice and that doesn’t guarantee it will work.

Still, there are a lot of things that parenting books don’t tell you. But, even if they laid it all out, step by step, sharing all the messy secrets, would we really listen?

Our children don’t usually fit inside the box that we try to put them in nor in what the books or parenting experts say they should fit in. And could we please stop feeling badly when our children don’t?

I learned as each one came, that this is not a one size fits all kind of task. Each one of them is intricately different from one another and that meant what worked for one, did not guarantee it would work for another. I learned that my greatest tool for parenting them was to study each one of them and to really get to know their nature or temperament and their personalities.

I did not have to be a parenting expert but I did need to be an expert of knowing them. 

I learned early on that I wanted this Mommy gig to be about more than just feeding, clothing and keeping them alive. I wanted something more.

I asked myself, “What is the point of all this? What kind of qualities do I want them to possess when they reach point B.”

I wrote out a Mommy mission statement so to speak in which I described the kinds of qualities I wanted them to possess  once they reached adulthood. It’s these things that fueled my fire and set forth the intention of raising these children to be able to fly on their own some day.

Coming into this role with my share of hang-ups and being the fallible human creature that I am, I made mistakes a lot. Sometimes I forgot my mission statement & got off track. I’d try to fit them all in the same box. I messed up. There were times I listened to other people, who are not experts of my children, instead of allowing my own heart to lead. I apologized to my children a lot. I cried a lot. I prayed a lot.

On the flip side, I did a lot of things right. I loved a lot. I laughed a lot. I had a lot of fun. And so did they. I followed my heart and them.

Once I figured out that trying to control my children into being midget robots of me would only lead to failure in the end, it gave me freedom to enjoy letting them be themselves. Giving them permission to be their own unique selves took the pressure off of me to make them be who they are not. 

Investing all our time, energy and work into little people can seem like an endless task and one that seems to go on and on. This parenting gig is monotonous and often times not pretty. Yet it is filled with the greatest, happiest and wondrous moments of our lives.

Loving these people that were born from my body or from my heart is like watching a part of my heart walk around. Loving my children was the easy part. The hard part was putting that love into action on a daily basis. Not an easy task to do if you’ve been up with a child all night and then find yourself right smack in the middle of childhood messes the very next day. Loving my children fiercely and passionately is what drove me through those moments in which I wanted to lay down on the floor & sob.

When we first start, the thought of at least 18 years with them in our care(if we’re lucky)seems long. Many of you know, like I do, that this ride goes way too fast. The ride from point A to point B is over in a blink of an eye. All to quickly and often times before we are ready for it to be done.

They each made their own share of mistakes along the way. Watching one’s children fall is painful. Being there to help cushion their fall by guiding, listening and loving them while they were still young in the safety of our home, was a blessing in disguise.

Getting my  kids from point A to point B was the hardest, most joyful and greatest ride of my life. I wish I had kept that piece of paper with my hand written mission statement on it just for the memory of it. Yet, it seems that those things are still etched into my heart today.  Seeing them reach adulthood with many of these traits that I, their imperfect teacher had worked hard to instill in them, is amazing.

They are amazing.

They started out loving me and thinking that I was pretty great. They seen me as all knowing & as Princess Mommy.

As they matured their view of me was tainted with seeing me in my humanness and they began to question my authority…not always liking me and questioning what I knew. They fought for their independence to believe and think for themselves. They thought they knew more than me. They tested. They pushed the limits. As they embarked on their own journeys of discovering themselves on the emotional rollercoaster it was up to me to remain the constant, ever present force of love in their lives. This was the hardest stage to go through because as much as I loved them and they loved me, we didn’t always like each other.

Just when they got to the point of really liking me again, it was time for them to take flight.

After they each had time of living their lives independently and separate from me they now realize that I really did know what I was talking about and they have a new respect for me. They are back to this place of loving me and thinking I’m pretty great. They know I don’t know everything but value my wisdom and although they no longer call me Princess Mommy, they do treat me like a queen.  I call this coming full circle. 

I wrote a post called Coming Full Circle back in August of 2008 that talks about this journey.

Now that I’ve jumped on the Mommy train once again, I am benefiting from what I learned the first time around. I’m learning my little’s day by day. I am becoming an expert on them. I am enjoyed these days of them adoring me and thinking I’m great because I know all too well that will change for a season until they too come full circle.

I still make mistakes. I still have to remind myself that kids don’t fit into boxes (except to play in of course :). I still have to say “I’m sorry.” I still cry and pray. And I’m still having fun. The fun part of a do over is that I now know to cherish every single moment. I know now that laughter is a key ingredient for parenting 101. I now know the value of choosing my battles and not getting upset over the spilled milk in my life. I now know all too well that before I know it they will be flying from this nest too. Until then, I will enjoy this ride…every moment between point A and point B.

Next time, I want to share more personal details with you about my extraordinary sons and after that my amazing daughters. I want to tell you about these people that are carrying part of my heart with them out in this world.

Cheers to all of you that have taken this parenting ride or are on this ride right now.

Cheers to all of you that while you may not wear the title of parent, whether it’s by choice or circumstances, you stand in as awesome supporters of the parents and children in your life. You rock.

Have a great weekend dear friends. Hope you find something to smile about! :)

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Messy Day’s Like This

This morning my grandson and little lady brushed my hair and “made me all pretty”. How I needed this pampering on this gray cold morning. Then I was crowned “princess Mommy of all the Mommy’s in the world”, so now I write with a princess crown on my head. How did I get so lucky?

It is my focus at present to be mindful of all that I have to be grateful & thankful for. I have a tendency to naturally lean in this direction largely due to the shoes I have walked in to get to where I am today. Still, I am human and that bent towards allowing negativity or tough moments to get the best of me, is ever present.

On day’s like this, when it’s hard to grab a whole 5 minutes at time to just think, write or read, in the midst of all the messes this day is presenting,  I forget to be thankful.

I have a dear friend that has been battling various health issues and after another fall last week, is in the hospital. As I’ve sat with her and looked into her eye’s I see such tiredness and a look that say’s “I am finished. I am ready to move on.” She is in her 80’s and has lived a full life. Yet, she continues to suffer, as does her family in watching her. She is growing weaker and more fragile each day. It seems that the end of her life may be soon.

As a friend it is difficult to see any good in all of this suffering. So instead I look to the beauty before me. This dear woman of beauty, grace and honorable character has taught me much just by watching her live and now she teaches me much about the end of life as well.

I see the love between her and her husband and one could only hope to have such a strong long love as this. I see the love between her and her daughter and the beauty of their relationship. The fact that they include me in their family and treat me as so, touches me beyond words. Tears prick my eye’s just writing this.

On Saturday I had the opportunity to bring her cards that my daughter and the little’s had made for her. To see the smile and delight upon her face as she looked at each one was priceless. My children and the little’s adore her as much as I do. The last time they seen her was Halloween when I brought them to show her their costumes and I don’t know who was happier her or them.

Today I am grateful with all of my heart, to know this woman and her family. They are amazing people and I will forever be grateful for the love they have shown me and my family. Even though it’s never easy to say goodbye to someone so special, I will be thankful when we are not seeing her suffer any longer.

I wrote about our big turkey that we have hanging on our wall in my last post. I had the little’s help me cut out colorful feathers and each day we write things we are thankful on them. Then we glue them onto the turkey. Our goal is to give our turkey as many beautiful thankful feathers as we can.

I think we are doing a pretty good job so far…


We are thankful for things like…

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Mostly, we are really thankful for all the people that we love and that love us, so most of the feathers are filled with names.

In teaching the little’s to have a grateful attitude it not only  seems to add a layer of appreciation to the atmosphere of our home, it is a life lesson I want to drive home to them, not just during this month of Thanksgiving but every day of the year.

As you know parenting is an endless job and when the road gets long and weary I forget to be thankful for all of this. Some day’s, like today, parenting children is quite messy & noisy, and not pretty at all. There are day’s I don’t behave my best either so I suppose we’re pretty even.

I know there are some days it seems like they are just not getting these lessons I’m trying to teach them but I know some day they will. Some day’s when I am really tired, I ask myself, “Is it worth all this work you put in?” And then I look at my now grown kids and see the grateful, appreciative, responsible, hard working, honest,giving,  kind, caring and loving people that they are now and my heart screams “Yes!”

Yes it’s all worth it…the noise, the messes, the fighting, the giving and taking of chips(the chips system is going great!), the do over's, the patience, the kissing boo boo’s over and over again, the spills, the excitement over seeing a bug or the garbage truck, the stepping on crayons, the time spent in the better choice chair and trying to cook or bake with 3 extra pairs of hands “because I want to help too”…. so I will continue to be thankful for tough messy days like this, since it seems that some of the best lessons in life are learned in the messes we make. After all, I get to do all of this with a crown on my head.

Until next time, love & hugs, Lori

Saturday, November 13, 2010


I have been MIA here and at your blogs. Although I’ve read  tiny bits here and there, most of the time I’ve been unable to read, let alone comment. I’ve missed you and your words. I’ve missed writing and connecting with you.

Pain and exhaustion and brain fog are big factors in keeping me away. Mostly, I’ve been tending to the little’s and all the things that scream for my attention. Trying to balance all of my responsibilities…trying to keep my priorities in their right places…trying to figure out all the ways I can help keep our home the way it is.

A few weeks ago, while I was washing dishes, little man was telling me about something that had happened at school. When he went silent I asked him why he had stopped talking. He responded with, “I really like looking at your face when I’m talking to you.” I turned around, dried my hands and got down to his level. He said things like “you are always so busy and hurrying and when I talk to you I like to see your face because I like to know you are listening to me”. With tears I assured him that I am listening and that I would work on slowing down.

So that's what I’ve been trying to do.

The thing is ever since my injury I have slowed down a lot. Now it takes me so much longer to do everything and it frustrates the hell out of me. Trying to get things done around here and giving the little’s quality time is a balancing act.

Still, I take little man’s message to heart and as hard as it is, I am forcing myself to slow down and to stop and  look at him when he is talking to me.

We attempt to live simple lives. We are mindful about what we put into our bodies so we had a garden and cook & bake from scratch and eat foods that are healthy 90 % of the time. Which means that the little’s have enjoyed every bit of their Halloween candy and the pumpkin bars I made yesterday are almost gone. We make our own cleaning supplies and try not use things that are not good for us or the environment. We do this not only for our health or the environment but because it saves money.

I shared recently that my doctor cut my work hours. This is affecting our finances so now more than ever, we are doing what we do out of necessity. Keeping our home the way it is, means us figuring out ways to not only be frugal but to not let the stress of it all affect it’s serenity.

This means having fun with the little’s as they help me make laundry soap or knead the bread dough. It means not jumping in the car, driving to do something fun and going out to eat. Instead it’s staying home to play restaurant, with my husband and I being the wait staff or walking up town with the little’s and watching the free movie at the theater on Saturdays.

With the holidays approaching it puts a knot in the middle of my stomach. It makes me dread them more than ever. To combat those feelings we are really focusing on all that we are thankful for. We hung a big turkey on our wall and have been writing things we are thankful for on feathers the little’s helped me cut out. My grandson grabbed my heart when he said, “ I am thankful my Grandma takes good care of me when my Mommy is at work.”

Do not for one second feel badly or sorry for us. The thing is we have so much. While we may not be rich in money or material processions, we are not without our basic needs being met plus more. There are so many that would give anything to have a warm place to call home, food in their bellies, a soft place to lay their heads to sleep and to be surrounded by people that love them. We are not lacking for anything so I cannot help but have a heart full of gratefulness.  

We have had amazing weather here in Minnesota. In fact I hung clothes outside on the line to dry and the kids played outside without jackets on Tuesday. I don’t remember drying clothes outside in November ever nor do I recall having my kids outside playing without jackets. Nonetheless, weather that is more familiar for this time of year is moving in.

As it gets colder, and with talk of snow, I cannot help but think of those out in the cold. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking of those standing out in the cold with no place to go. Here I sit in my warm home, with love surrounding me, while I sit at my computer that is hooked up to the internet. Which seems completely unfair.

Sure we could argue bad choices and all those things that bring someone to be homeless or to be living in poverty but the bottom line is that it does not sit right with me.

We might not have a lot but as the holidays approach we as a family must figure out a way to help those that are less fortunate than ourselves. How could we not? This year we will have to be more creative. I’ve offered to unplug the internet as hard as that would be to be disconnected. I have a feeling my dear husband will work his ass off even harder to keep this one luxury for me…all because he cares for me to have this here.

I don’t share things with you in order for you to think of me as good. The other day, someone referred to me as a “do gooder” and it cut to my core. It felt like she had slapped me in the face. After talking, I found out that she hadn’t meant it in a negative way. The thing is I am the way I am because of where I’ve been.

I may have a bleeding heart but I am not some “ do gooder”. I do because I care from the depths of my heart. I do because I care and because I’ve walked in these shoes…shoes that didn’t seem to fit but were mine just the same. Just maybe if I told about some of the places I’ve been, you would want nothing to do with me and this blog.

It may or may not surprise you that on two separate occasions I almost brought an elderly homeless person home with me back to Minnesota. Once in North Carolina and once in Florida. Both of them were very elderly and to this day it haunts me that I didn’t. Maybe some day I will tell you about them.

Here I am, on a late Friday night, writing from the warmth & quiet of my home, waiting for the snow to fall…all the while praying for those in need of shelter, food or a person that gives a damn. I would not for one second want to be anywhere else but here. My heart is abundantly full with all that is mine yet aches in knowing there are those hurting and without tonight.

I hope & pray with all of my heart that wherever you and your loved ones are, your heart is full with all that is yours…that you have a soft place to lay your head tonight, shelter from the cold(or from the heat :), food in your bellies and are surrounded by people that love you…and that just maybe you would find someone to share your abundance with. 

Sending you much love & big hugs, Lori

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Thanksgiving Comes First

I have a secret. Well, not necessarily a secret because if you know me in real life or read this blog post, last December, then this will come as no surprise to you.

Christmas is my least favorite time of year. I am already starting to feel that dread I feel, when it’s this time of the year. 

It’s not that I don’t celebrate the birth of Christ. As a believer, it has personal meaning for me to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I just don’t believe in the commercial version of it.  It doesn’t mean that I am against having fun & celebrating Christmas cheer. It doesn’t mean that I am against gift giving and all things red, green and white.

The post I wrote last year sums up how I feel quite well…

“What it comes down to is this…I don’t like the commercialism that rules from October until January. Even before Halloween, Christmas decorations are out. The commercials on TV are pushing to buy, buy, buy!!!! I heard Christmas music playing in Wal-Mart before Halloween for goodness sakes. Are you flippin kidding me? We ran into the mall a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and already the mall Santa and Mrs. Clause had a long line of children waiting to see them. Thanksgiving barely gets recognized, and we are blasted into red, green and white.

I don’t like this big fat crazy whirlwind of commercialism. The pressure on the stores to sell. The push to buy. The bigger the better. The pressure to spend money we don’t really have or money we should be saving. Pressure we put on ourselves or let others put on us. The push for all of this to come earlier and earlier. It used to be that Santa didn’t come out until after Thanksgiving.”

I know some of you don’t have Thanksgiving in your country and those of you in Canada celebrated in October. But, for those of us in the United States, what happened to celebrating Thanksgiving first? Whatever happened to celebrating this holiday without having all things Christmas pushed upon us before we’ve even sat down to Thanksgiving dinner?

Regardless of where you live, do you not get tired of Christmas commercialism pushed on you earlier and earlier? Or is it not like this in the country you live? If it’s not, maybe I need to move my family there.

Christmas used to be magical. The focus was on families & friends  being together…decorating a tree and putting the star on top…baking and sharing our goods with one another….Christmas programs and parties at church and school…nativity displays…sitting on Santa’s lap and whispering in his ear… a gift or two and singing carols. It used to be about so much more than all of this commercialism. 

I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. The selfishness that is bred to want more and more…and bigger and better…to expect more and more and bigger and better.

Where does it stop?

And where does this come from?

I know I sound like a poop on the fun parade. I know it’s fun to give. Hell, I love to give presents, so it’s not about that. The thing is, most of us that are going to be getting gifts already have way too much stuff already.Most of us, will buy things for those that already have way too much stuff.

Christmas is suppose to be about “peace and goodwill towards men” and about joy and caring and spreading the holiday cheer.

For those of us that are believers, it’s suppose to be celebrating the birth of Christ.”

The day after Thanksgiving, all hell breaks loose. People lose all good sense and manners in search of the perfect deals. How ironic is all this pushing and shoving, as Christmas music plays in the background?

When I am out and about in the stores, I don’t see the spreading of peace and goodwill towards men. I don’t see all that much joy. And I certainly don’t see a whole lot of holiday cheer being spread.  I surely don’t see Christ in the pushing and shoving.

Instead, I see sadness. I see confusion. I see rudeness. I see meanness.  I see anger. I see lots and lots of selfishness. I see people pushing each other and hear of people getting hurt, fighting over a toy or some sale item. I see a lot of overwhelmed people that  don’t want to be there, spending money they don’t really have but don’t have a clue how to step off this crazy train.

I personally think, this must make Jesus sad.

While shopping for household things the other day, I over heard a woman scream humiliations at her husband. I listened to people talk loud and rudely on their cell phones. I witnessed parents trying to get out of control kids to behave. I watched an elderly couple get pushed out of line.  The worst was over hearing  a younger mom tell her friend that they wouldn’t be having Christmas because they have no money. Hearing the defeat and sadness in her voice broke my heart. I watch all these things while listening to Christmas music playing in the background.

And yes, I think this must make Jesus sad…sad that it has come down to getting so stressed that we act like complete idiots or think that there will be no Christmas if there are no gifts.

This here is at the heart of why it is hard for me to be happy for Christmas…a holiday that has become more about money and gifts then anything else. 

It is hard for me to get into the spirit of Christmas joy when I see so much sadness and brokenness around me.

I know those that barely make it without the added expense of buying presents. I know those going without and I know their desperate prayers for these holidays to pass quickly so that it will be all over. I know people struggling with illness and depression. I know people that have no money to go to the doctor let alone buy a present for their child.

It’s hard to be happy about a birthday party when everyone’s not invited.

Just imagine for one moment to be one of these people in which hard times have fallen. It’s hard enough on a regular day but can you just imagine what it is like to walk in their shoes as the holidays approach?

I challenge each one of us to do something during the upcoming holidays, that would make a difference in someone life…something that would make someone feel like they’ve been invited to the party.

It doesn’t have to be big or out of the ordinary. I guarantee you that every small act you do will make a difference.

Wouldn’t it be great to take the commercial out of Christmas? To make it what it used to be about?

Would you like to see the push of Christmas before Thanksgiving stopped? Would you like the retailers to stop pushing Christmas on you before you’ve sat down to Thanksgiving dinner?

Suldog came up with this genius idea of a Thanksgiving Comes First campaign. I first read this post  from Joanna, so I had to check him out.  I was wowed! :)

In Jim’s words… 

“I do this, around this same time every year, because I truly believe the cheapening of our holidays can be stopped. Do I believe it will happen right now, because of this post? No. It will take your help, and help from your friends, and then help from their friends.”


“Should you be as incensed as I am concerning Christmas schlock, [hitting stores way too early] please post a "Thanksgiving Comes First" entry on your blog. Write from the heart. Everybody who visits your blog will find out how you feel. My guess is they'll agree with you. Perhaps they'll also write about it, and so will their friends, and so forth. I hope that, if enough of us do this, we might make some small impact.”

I really do encourage you to check out his blog and read Jim’s whole post. If you feel the same way and would like to send the message to retailers that we the people are fed up, please write a post so the word can be spread.

Year after year, I avoid going to malls or stores at this time of year, in an effort to avoid having the Christmas joy sucked out of me. Yet, I cannot walk into the store for regular items, without being bombarded with the irony of it all.

I am advocating for not supporting the retailers that are pushing Christmas before it’s due time. 

We must stop allowing them to do this. We are the consumers and we need to send them a message.

“Thanksgiving Comes First!”



Until next time, hugs and love, Lori