"Anyone can have one kid. But going from one kid to two is like going from owning a dog to running a zoo." - P. J. O'Rourke

Saturday, May 31, 2014

School's Out!!!!!

Yay! It's been a long time in coming, let me tell you!  We pushed on through to the end and officially called off school on Friday. 

And how did we celebrate the end of the 2013/2014 school year, you ask?

Like this....


And then some of this...

And then there was this...



I'd say we've started off our summer quite nicely!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Public Service Post

Yesterday, I received a message from a woman named Heather.  She asked me if I would be willing to share some information on my blog.  I am more than happy to grant her request.  Actually, I will just let her words speak on her behalf -

Thanks for responding to my comment! I’m reaching out to you today in hopes that you will help me with a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. At age 36, just 3 ½ months after my first and only child, Lily, was born, I was diagnosed with mesothelioma and given 15 months to live. Miraculously, I beat the odds and I’m still here eight years later.
Mesothelioma is considered one of the most aggressive and deadly cancers; most people are given just one year to live upon diagnosis. There is no known cure for mesothelioma and the future continues to look grim as attention to the disease as well as research funding continues to decline. The only known cause of ‘meso’ is exposure to asbestos, which is still not banned in the US. Sadly, it doesn’t look like asbestos will be banned anytime soon, as there is too much money being made by using this deadly mineral.
Since May is National Cancer Research Month, I’ve made it my personal mission to try and spread awareness of this rare, preventable disease. The more people that know about this cancer, the more lives are potentially saved! Would you be willing to share the site that I blog for with your readers? The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance has tons of information about the disease, asbestos exposure, and is also where my husband and I blog about our journey with mesothelioma.
As many of you know, my dad is a lung cancer survivor.   Cancer is a horrible disease.  Preventable cancer is a really horrible thing by the very fact that it can be prevented.

Go ahead and take a few minutes and go out to the Mesothelioma website and educate yourself.

Friday, May 23, 2014

What's New?

Holy buckets!  I haven't blogged in over a week!  I don't think that's ever happened in the 6+ years I've been blogging!  Sorry I lost touch.

How have you been?

My big news here is that, at long last, we actually booked a vacation for just Chris and me.  Yes, we're going on a trip....and....it's over my birthday.  Birthday in Britain! Can't beat that!  AND to top it all off, some very dear friends of mine (Mumford friends - the very best kind) are going to meet up with us there! Do you believe it? They're actually going to meet us in Glasgow!

Hopefully, we will be exploring the Glasgow/Edinburgh area for a few days and then heading up to the Highlands.  I say hopefully because this will be my THIRD try at getting to the Highlands.  The first two attempts met with failure.

A long time ago BC (Before Children), Chris worked for Northwest Airlines.  This meant....flight benefits!  These lovely benefits allowed us to travel a bit...for FREE....first class.  On one trip we explored London, but our next trip to the UK was supposed to see us land in London and then meet up with a friend and drive to the Highlands.  Unfortunately, I was two months pregnant. I got violently airsick on the flight over (something that NEVER happens to me, and hasn't happened since).  When we arrived and started driving north, I began spotting and was very concerned about the pregnancy, so we opted to call off the trip and head back to the states to make sure the baby was okay (he was...and still is).

Second attempt to get to the Highlands was four years ago when I was in Scotland with Evan for the World Pipe Band Championships.  I was hoping to take a little drive north to the Highlands at that time, but the practices, etc. for the pipe band didn't allow me the time to get up there.  So, I guess Evan is to blame for both of my failed attempts to get there!  I'm not bringing Evan this time!!

This time should work.  I'm not pregnant (thank God for that!) and I'm not traveling with a pipe band.

I will try really hard not to be too obnoxious over the next three months.....


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

This May Hurt

How many times have I had to put my children through pain for their own good?  When Molly was younger she got a really large splinter in the bottom of her foot.  After a few days, it became apparent that she would need to have a doctor remove it.  It had become quite painful and infected.  The doctor would need to make a cut in the bottom of her foot, so they would need to numb the area first.  I watched as the doctor took a large needle and stuck it several times into the bottom of Molly's foot.  She cried.  My heart almost broke watching Molly go through that pain, yet I knew it had to be done.  The splinter had to be removed, and this was the best way to do it.

As a mother, my heart is inexorably bound to the hearts of my children.  I am more concerned for them than I am my own next breath.  As hard as it was to watch my children go through painful experiences as young children, it is infinitely more painful to watch or wonder about the painful experience they have yet to face.  This has been my struggle for the past year, or so.  I want to protect my kids; I want to orchestrate their future; I want to keep them from the difficulties of growing up, and I can't.  I can't see beyond the next turn, so I certainly lack the ability to know what is best for them.

I do believe that God loves my children with an intense and consuming love, and I do believe that he holds their future in his hand.  The struggle I have can best be summed up on this C. S. Lewis quote -

"What do people mean when they say 'I am not afraid of God because I know He is good?' Have they never been to a dentist?....We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be."
And so, I wonder how painful the best is going to be for my kids. Sometimes it keeps me up at night. I wish I could say that I am always "trusting God" for my children's future, but that would be a lie.  I can say that I am fighting a battle of faith to trust God for my children's future, but it is a battle!

So, I cling to verses like Jeremiah 29:11, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

And I listen to songs like this -




And I fight the battle to have more faith, knowing that their loving heavenly Father will only allow them pain that is for their good.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

On Being A Mom

I've worn a few different titles in my life: daughter, sister, friend, engineer, teacher.  The one title that makes my heart warm more than most others is mom.

On Mother's Day Eve, I am so thankful to have the privilege of being mom to eight beautiful children and one amazing daughter-in-law. I am equally honored to be called mom by many amazing young people scattered many different places.  

So, whether you call me Mom, Mama Barb, A Mumford Mom, or Mom J--, thank you for letting me mother you.  It makes my heart so happy!

Happy Mother's Day!

I really never appreciated my own mom properly until I became a mom myself.  Truth be told, I just took her for granted.  Mom was mom. She was there for me whenever I needed her, it was expected.

Now that I'm a mom, I realize that that "being there" meant not being somewhere else.  She loved me when I wasn't very lovable (read - from age 12 to 17).  She taught me about life, not in long lectures and sermons, but in letting me observe her doing life.  She taught me I could be/do anything I set my mind to. 

She taught me calculus and physics.

She taught me how to portage a canoe, and that I can continue to portage canoes on into my 70's.

She taught me how to laugh at life.

And she taught me how to love.
I love you, Mom!  I am so blessed to be your daughter!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Fudge Brownies

I made these brownies for movie night last Friday, and sweet Jordan asked for the recipe....so here it is.

Fudge Brownies
1 cup butter
 4 squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
Chocolate chips

Grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Melt chocolate and butter in a medium pan.  Remove from heat; stir in sugar.  Add eggs and vanilla; beat lightly just until combined (don't overbeat or brownies will rise too high and fall). Stir in flour and an appropriate amount of chocolate chips (about 1 cup).

Spread in pan.  Sprinkle additional chocolate chips over the top of batter. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.  DO NOT OVERBAKE.

Btw, the recipe is from the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book (which wasn't new even when I got it for a wedding gift 22 years ago!)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Am Blessed

I've been thinking a lot this week about things I can't see. 

I sometimes battle with discouragement and find it difficult not to lose hope.  Some days (like Monday, for instance), the things that I see (experience) are discouraging, to say the least.   I look at life; I look at situations; I look at circumstances, and I lose hope that anything good will come of it all.  Then I remember verses like 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

For this light and momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

Or 2 Corinthians 5:7, that reminds me that life here and now is "walking by faith, and not by sight." 

What I've come to discover is that my sight is much keener than my faith.  It's a theme that keeps popping up in my life in the past few months - my faith is not as strong as I need it to be.

Today, though!  Today, I feel SO blessed!  I had the inestimable privilege of spending two whole hours with my dear friend Sylvia.  Sometimes, it is people who are seen that point us to "things unseen."  Sylvia is like that.  She loves Jesus with her whole heart, and she loves me.  I spent two hours at Panera with a dear friend, and I left filled with visions of the eternal!  I am so, so blessed!  I am even more blessed in that here are several other people in my life that do the same thing.  That I should have a husband, children and friends that all point me to Jesus....yikes!  I think I might be the richest lady alive!

I hope you all, dear blog buddies and Facebook friends, have people in your life who point you to the eternal things. If you do, I encourage you to cherish them as something of more value than gold, and I encourage you to let them know how much you treasure them!