SAL-VA-TION: by grace

E-LEV-EN: children from 1984 to 2006

HOME-SCHOOL-ING: since 1990

DOWN-SYN-DROME: susie and gabe

GRAND-CHILD-REN: since 2010

FAITH-FUL-NESS: my steadfast rock, my biggest supporter, my leader, my friend, my love, my husband

Friday, May 30, 2008


WHERE IS IT???? Does anyone want to join me in petitioning Al Gore to try to get a little bit of that global warming sent our way? I'm freezing!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Wise choice

Last night at church our pastor informed us that we were beginning a new topic of study for our Sunday evening classtime. He delivered this information to us in the form of the following announcement,

"We're going to be making a change. We will no longer be "On the Path to Hell"."

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bad, Bad Mother-In-Law!!

I just can't stop saying this to myself. I don't know what I was thinking, but if I could do it over, hind site being what it is, I think I would do things differently. However, it is what it is, it was what it was, and I did what I did. It is now water under the bridge and fodder for many funny stories and memories years down the road.

So what was my major faux pas? To start with, on the evening that Keith Sr. informed me at 11 PM that we were departing for a six day trip in just a few days I went into mama-bear-panic-mode. What would I do with my offspring? Who would care for them and make sure they didn't perish? How would they eat, get clean clothes, remember....everything, or get where they needed to be? I expressed this to my perplexed husband who couldn't understand why my face was masked in distress rather than bathed in glee. I explained that I loved spending time alone with him and would enjoy being together, but my instincts were to protect those children, to keep them under my wing or within sight and I needed to know they would be well kept and guarded in our absense. He promptly picked up the phone, dialed, and secured the weekday services of his parents to oversee the home. Chet, he said, could run things over the weekend and Papa and Grandma would take care of things while Chet was at work (the two girls were not available as their schedules were booked solid with school and papers and finals).

I know, I should have been content. But I wasn't. I smiled weakly, for the sake of my so-pleased-with-his-solution husband, and went to bed with my head spinning. Chet has really escalated in the responsibility department, but he's not quite back to being a full time member of the household--and definitely not accustomed to watching the young ones with hawklike precision. As far as my in-laws, I have great confidence in their abilities. They raised six children of their own and did a wonderful job of it. And if anyone has eyes in the back of her head to keep up with the kids it's Grandma! However, they DID just celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and the math puts them a little beyond the "running after toddlers" stage. I was concerned that Gabe and Lisa might just put them over the edge.

Then it hit me, that wonderful terrible idea of mine--"Coley loves to keep Gabe, Keith loves Fatty Bones (his own pet name for Lisa) and neither of them are working right now. Maybe they would enjoy having them for the week!" When a little devil speaks into one ear a little angel is supposed to counter-whisper in the other. My angel must have been off duty.

There were other aspects to the plan that seemed picture perfect. I was already committed to driving a truckload of furniture up to their new apartment on Friday (yes, they were just moving into their new place on Friday). I could just leave the kids then and we'd take off early Saturday (5 AM). Our return the next Thursday (11:30 PM) timed perfectly with their plan to come home Friday for Ellen's Saturday graduation. It was as easy as making a reservation on the Titanic.

So, I asked and they said yes. Go ahead and say it, "What were you thinking!?" The truth is, I just wasn't. My sole purpose was to protect those little cubs and I knew just who was best cut out to do that--no matter that they'd only been married for thirteen days!!

The cubs came back in one piece, very well cared for, watched over, fed, watered, groomed, and oblivious to the havoc they certainly caused in the life of this newlywed couple. I could not be happier about the wonderful care and dedication that my babies received.

As for my role as mother-in-law and mother-of-adult-child, ohhhhhh am I in the doghouse. I will not live this one down.....ever! It will require of years of payback.

All that said, through it all Keith Jr. provided me with the quote of the century. While talking to me on the phone about Gabe's runny nose, Lisa's endless questions, baby fingerprints on the windows, Gabe's refusal to nap, the cramped apartment, Gabe escaping up the stairs, Lisa's boredom, bodily fluids on the new couch, Gabe's never ending explorer instinct, the unseasonably cold weather, Nicole coming down with the flu, Gabe getting into the curtains, Lisa's continuing chatter, and the twenty-four hour a day commitment he said,

"Having kids all day all the time is hard. It's a lot of work.
It's not as fun as not having them."

When you think of all the new parents who ask themselves, "What have we gotten ourselves into?" I do get a little satisfaction knowing that Keith and Nicole will not be so blind.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Me" Time

Just about a week after posting about trusting God to provide "me" time and being given a husband who makes sure we get some time to ourselves I am getting just that even as I write. It was only ten ten days ago that Keith informed me that I was joining him on a business trip to California (I had 4 days to prepare). Last Saturday we flew into San Francisco where we spent an afternoon with my brother Tom (it's been 5 years!), my sister Kathy (it's only been 7 months), and our nieces Sarah, Megan, and Rebecca and nephew Nathan (3 years since we've seen them). We then spent 4 days making our way down California's stunning coast to Keith's business stops in LA. We are spending our last night just a block from the ocean in Sunset Beach--where we watched the sunset tonight to the tune of crashing waves. God is good!

And so are the people who are working overtime at home to make this happen. When I get home I'll tell you about them and the unthinkable thing I actually had the gall to ask of some of them.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nose Wrinkling Memories

I was reminded of a particularly bad memory today as I read Carla's post, "Nastay".

When Chet was about 18 months old we were in our church basement for a fellowship dinner. As toddlers are prone to do and talkative mothers are prone not to notice, Chet wandered away from me. I went looking for him, and found him walking out of the men's restroom......

......sucking on.......

.....the urinal deodorizer!!

I still start to gag and want to go wash his mouth out just thinking about it!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

More Wedding Photos

We still haven't figured out how to download Dana's slideshow, but the photographer gave us the photo DVD so I've put a few up here. I had one more of Keith and Nicole but something froze on me so I'm going to post before I lose it all!

Gabe got caught up in the music and all of the attention and decided it was his cue to dance.

Plans foiled by dad! Rats.

These two did it right

Father and brother give the bride away.
(Keith better take care of her, looks like he has Matt to answer to.)

The ceremony with Papa officiating

After five years.....

The bridal party

Keith doing his Robert impression. It looks better on Robert!

The Bridal Party outside--notice the effects of the buds just coming out on the trees, and how great the lighting looks on a cloudy day!

The girls were getting pretty cold--it was only about 50 degrees
so they took the coats and did some role reversal.

Keith, Chet, and Matt really got into this pose

Here's what happens when you pick four athletes for bridesmaids

A show of support from the MTU Husky Football Team

Keith's "Georgia mom", Julie, and "Georgia cake decorating friend", Rebecca, came up for the wedding. Rebecca baked and decorated Thursday and Friday while Julie became my invaluable child assistant. We couldn't imagine this day without them!!

Bride and Groom's First Dance

A Daddy's last dance with his little girl

Groom and mother dance--before the tears

The updated Keith White, Sr. Family

Friday, May 9, 2008


Lisa is having a hard time remembering the name of her "boyfriend for a day", the ring bearer counterpart to her flower girl role in the wedding. It seems easy enough to me. His name is Robert, a rather common name for my generation, like Steve or Tom or Mike. But this is the generation of Bradens and Parkers and Aidans.

As we headed for the reception Saturday, Lisa asked, "Where's Gilbert?" No Lisa, it's "Robert". "Oh yeah, Robert." Then as we were leaving she said, "Hey, there's Rupert's mom!" No Lisa, it's "Robert". Then yesterday, "Mama, I know it's not Gilbert, what's his name?" "Robert", Lisa, it's "Robert".

I'm imagining the conversation at his house. "Mom, is her name Marissa?" No Robert, it's "Lisa".

Those old 60s names are new and unusual to the crayon crowd.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wedding Photos

Dana put together a musical slide show that I tried to upload here, but the computer just wasn't speaking the right language. She's going to do another one and wanted me to wait for her instead of putting up any pictures, but I know she can't even start it until this weekend. So, here are a few of the pictures from her digital camera.

Lela, Ellen, Whitney, Amanda, Lisa, and Nicole

Gabe, the miniature groom

Keith and Dana

Kip, Joey, Matt, and Chet

Nicole and Keith

Monday, May 5, 2008

Moms, Persevere

I started this blog to keep in touch with my sisters and brother, my cousins, my aunts and uncles and nieces and nephews, and my friends who don’t live close enough to be a part of our everyday lives. However, I know there are others who check in here and have become part of a new life compartment known as “my blogosphere”. A number of you are in the early years of child raising and I want to encourage you to persevere, to be faithful, and keep on going.

I vividly remember the days before I had children old enough to baby sit when I needed a break. Joey was just 12 years old when my eighth child was born and, although he was old enough to stay home alone for a short time, he certainly wasn’t ready to oversee seven younger siblings. So, it wasn’t until about four years later that I was really confident in leaving everyone at home for any length of time. That meant 16 years of carting a load of little ones to the grocery store, or the department store, the DMV, the doctor’s office, the dentist office, and anywhere else I had to be.

People would ask me, “When do you find time for yourself?” Really, I didn’t have time to think about that, there just wasn’t much extra time. But, after the 50th time of hearing that same question I got to thinking seriously about the need for some “me time”. Wanting to live my life according to God’s plan laid out in His Word, I went to the Scriptures for guidance on how I should seek to insert that “me time” into my life. As it turned out, I couldn’t find one reference to making time for me. I found “redeeming the time” which meant not to waste the time I have, but I couldn’t connect it with caring for "me" needs. God’s instructions were clear on loving others as myself, giving more than what is asked, and doing it humbly and without need for recognition. The only thing He told me about my needs was that He would see to them. He would be my sufficiency. I believed it, trusted it, and poured myself into being the wife and mom I needed to be.

I’m sorry to say that I did not always do it joyfully. I found ample opportunity to waste some of my time just sitting on my pity pot. But, Satan didn’t succeed in tempting me to believe the lie that “I need to find some time to take care of myself”. Besides eating well, getting enough rest, and staying active (which was just a part of caring for the home and family!) my only other ‘need’ was to make the time to worship God, read His word, and pray.

Over the past 24 years God has indeed blessed me by caring for my needs. He gave me a husband who has never ceased to adore me. And Keith saw to it that we got time away to ourselves. He gave me a church family and relatives who pitched in when they could see I needed a boost. But maybe the best thing of all is that He blessed me through the children I was pouring myself into. The love and time I have given to them is coming back to me ten fold. Some of those things show up in the lines of this blog, but recently several moments have piled up together that reminded me of how blessed I am.

First, Troy (15) was talking to me about some of his future (next year) plans that he was discussing with a cousin and he said, “I know you’ve changed some of the rules for us younger kids, and the older ones got to do some things that we can’t do, and people think I should be mad about it. But I’m not. I think it’s good. I figure if you’ve gone through it with the older guys and see some things that you think would be better for me then I’m glad you want things to be different.”

Then, on Saturday my second son was married to his high school sweetheart. There are two things that will pull your child away from you quicker than anything. One is a driver’s license and the other is a girlfriend. When Keith’s heart was knit to Nicole’s all of his dreams and hopes and thoughts and mundane news was communicated with her. I didn’t feel so needed or even so much in touch with him anymore. And while the late teen and early twenty years are a time of independence and separation from the family as a young adult sorts out their convictions and place in life anyway, that separation is even greater when there is a girlfriend in the picture.

Keith, Jr. had told me I would be surprised to hear the mother/son song that we would dance to. He said it wasn’t what he had invisioned picking but when he heard it he “just had to have it.” I knew it had words that were very special and meaningful to him. I didn’t know what the song was until we were on the dance floor. A familiar tune began to play. But, I couldn’t recall the message of the song. I heard words about “a man all alone”, “barely surviving”, “not really sure…” and, along with Billy Dean, my son was singing them to me. Then came the chorus,

“If there hadn't been you where would I be
If there hadn't been you here for me
I made it through times
I never would've made it through

If there hadn't been you on my side
You In my life
All my dreams would still be dreams
If there hadn't been you”

I cried, and he cried, and if I even think of that song I cry again.

My cup was running over. We were at home after the wedding when my oldest son, Joey, and his wife, Jamie gave me a Mother’s Day card. The card was about two feet tall and on the blank page next to the printed sentiments Joey had written his own sentiments. He filled up the entire page. He thanked me for all of the things that had been important to him, some very little things, and some things that I didn’t know he even recognized. But what really touched me was this: thank you “for letting me go when you knew it’s what I needed, and for taking me back when you knew that’s what I needed.”

I did not think I could feel any more loved. But, Sunday after our morning church service we had a church fellowship meal with the wedding leftovers. Normally, the adults congregate and the children all join their friends. I was sitting at a table, Gabe in a high chair next to me and Shane (13) sat across from me. Keith came up with his plate and asked Shane what he was doing. He just grinned and said, “I wanna sit with my Mom!”

I didn't spend all of the hours and years with my children so that I could be "paid back". That's just the way God works. We follow His commands out of a heart full of love for Him and for what He's done in forgiving our sins through the sacrifice of His son. Pleasing Him is our goal, but as always He goes above and beyond and pours blessings out for that required obedience. His mercies are beyond measure! Mothers, love your children.