Wednesday, December 30, 2009


In the last few years, this time of year has become one of difficulty. Everything that the holiday was and what it represented has changed. Don't get me wrong, the Christmas season is still a time that we celebrate our saviour and his presence in our lives..... but as wonderful as this season is... the absence of our daughter brings a heavy cloud to what used to be a joyous occasion... and this has changed the holiday very much for us. In the first few years it was almost an overwhelming struggle to make it through the month of December.
It is still a strange month with many days of ups and downs but it is emerging into something else... something more. It is in these recent years that I not only rejoice in Christ's birth but I also feel the pain and heartache of the journey he walked to bring new life to us. It is during this time that I am beginning to understand that I am not alone in my hurt, my pain, my grief, and my sorrows. The world is full of them.
I am learning to see this season for what it is. A season of remembrance. A time to remember the journey that Christ walked to bring us life, a time to remember whom we hold most dear-those closest to our hearts. It is a time to release, a time to let go of the things that weigh us down, and a time to pour out our tears and our hurts as an offering to God. It is a time to refresh and reflect on God and his glory and to rest with our families. It is a time to refocus, to renew our strength, renew our faith, and renew our hearts and minds. And lastly, it is a time of rebirth. It is a time to reflect on the last year and the amazing journey that Christ has taken us on and to use the things we have faced in the last year- the joys, the sorrows, the difficulties, and the blessings to shape and mold us into better people.
In the last few weeks I have said over and again how glad I am that 2010 is approaching- that I will be so glad when 2009 is over and that 2010 will be a great year! As quick as I was to let go of 2009 and hide it from my sight, I recognize that it was 2009 that brought me to the place that I will be in 2010. It was this journey in the last year and all its ups and downs that have molded the me of today and the me of tomorrow. Instead of turning my back on everything that happened in 2009, I am going to use it as a catapult to launch me into an even better person in 2010.

Stay tuned, new years resolutions thoughts and ideals to come.

2009, I thank you for all that you have taught me and all that you have brought me, both good and bad.
2010, here I come!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Well Timed Words

I have a few friends that have a God given knack of saying the right thing at the right time. I wrote about one of them a few months ago in regards to some encouragement and advise they gave me while I was struggling in one of my friendships.
My friend Tami is one of these friends with perfect timing.
When I got home from work yesterday, there was a package waiting for me that came from the lovely and frigid state of Washington. I didn't have to look at the return label to know it was from Tami. 1. Because she told me it was coming and 2. Because she has a wonderful habit of sending me packages, cards, or CD's at perfectly timed intervals throughout the year that I need them most, and let me tell you, this was one of those times that I needed a pick me up.
The package included my Christmas gift as well as a CD for me and another copy for Cliff of songs to encourage us during this difficult season. It was obvious once I placed the CD into my player that she had spent a great deal of time picking the songs and placing them in just the right order to encourage my heart. Not only had she taken the time to plan the play list, she also included the lyrics to every song and scripture verses of comfort that she felt matched each song.
I have been listening to the CD as often as I can in the last 24 hours and it has both uplifted my heart and helped to provoke the tears that I have needed to cry to heal.
The bible says this in proverbs 25:11 "A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver."
I am so thankful for Tami and her aptly timed words.

Girl Time

A few days off together is just what we ladies needed. Olivia and I spent last Wednesday and Thursday at home together, playing, resting, and just being.
We made dinner for the boys on Wednesday and got the boys to take us out to dinner on Thursday. We played around, spent the mornings in our PJ's snuggling, cleaned house a little bit, and danced and sang.
Olivia was inquisitive and as independent as ever and managed to climb onto the table and get into my purse, dig a half eaten pudding cup from the trash and get it all over her face and hands( and who knows how much she ate!) and get the stepping stool out from behind the trash can and dragged up to the counter on the other end of the kitchen. This all took place in the matter of one hour. I decided to purge and clean out a few cabinets to keep us busy. the distraction worked and Olivia spent the rest of the day digging cups or bottles out of the large storage totes and carrying them all over the house.Last week I finally packed up all my maternity clothes and put them away, this week, Olivia helped me clean out all the baby bottles and things from the cabinets. I have been holding onto them for the last few months, hoping to put them to use. I have decided that instead of seeing them everytime I opened the cubbard door as a reminder of what we have lost, I will pack them away and rejoice when I finally get to unpack them again.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Currently Reading

Today I picked up a copy of Firefly Lane By Kristin Hannah

It is a book about the friendship between two girls that spans 3 decades of time and starts in the heart of the 70's during a summer break filled with bikerides down a mostly abandoned road, Firefly Lane.
I am only in the first chapter, but already I am enchanted. The book promises twists and turns, ups and downs, and thus far an unpredictible ending. I look forward to finding out the story of Tully and Kate.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Test results came back today

We got the tests results done today from the miscarriage. The standard results labeled the miscarriage a missed abortion which means that the baby died in utero but my body continued to carry it or had not miscarried it. We had also requested chromosome testing since this was the second miscarriage in six months and we previously had a baby with Trisomy 13. We would also find out what the babies sex would have been which I think would have been nice to know because I wanted to pick a name for the baby that would be up in heaven with Faith that I could carry in my heart as a reminder of this child that I never met.
The pathology lab was unable to run these tests for us because the samples sent to them did not have enough villi present to run the correct tests. I was very dissapointed by this news.
Cliff says that maybe it is for the best that we can't know. He said maybe it would be harder to know if a chromosome issue had caused the baby to die or to know if it was a little boy or little girl. I suppose he could be right.After all, we knew Faith had trisomy 13 which ultimately caused the complications that led to her death but my heart still has a hundred questions why.and my heart still aches for her.
Either way, knowing or not knowing, I am still incredibly sad and I wonder what could have been with this little one.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Jolly Good Monday

Today was a GOOD day.

In fact it wasn't just a good day, it was a JOLLY good day.

This could be for many reasons.

It was in fact two people I dearly loves birthday- my dear friend Tami(check out her site by clicking on the picture to the right) and one of my red headed cousin's- Ian. Finally, at many miles overdue, I took Spiffirifica by the dealer and got the oil changed.Last nights cumulative hours of sleep? Wayyyyy more than four! I am finally a little bit rested after my 7 day straight work stretch that originated on Black Friday. Ethan, Olivia, AND my hubby all gave me some sugars before I left for work. Ethan even gave me sugars twice. Seriously folks, I even had time to get a bagel sandwich from the Old School bagel cafe- it was a JOLLY GOOD DAY! Call it another hormone surge or stabilization as my levels continue to return to normal from my miscarriage or call it a series of fortunate events...

Or just call it blessed.

I don't care what you call it- because any way you chalk up today- it was a darn Jolly Good Monday!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Does absence make the heart grow fonder?

You will have to forgive me for being so absent from my blog. I wonder, with how much time has passed, do I have any readers left?

If not, its okay, I plan to blog away today anyways.

Its been a bit of a rough go of things the last few weeks. I feel like there were so many things to update you on that has been going on in our lives..... fun moments with the kids, comings and goings, and just the spillover of all my thoughts. But, the truth is that no matter how good I thought I was doing with the Miscarriage and D&C, the last few weeks have started to unravel for me and I am left with a stinging heart and empty arms... and this makes me sad... and I have found it incredibly hard to write.
I did really well with things the first week or so after, and to tell you the truth, I think I am doing pretty darn good now........ but that doesnt mean its easy.
I have so many questions in my head. I wonder why this road of conceiving is filled with so much heartache. Would it be easier if I didnt get pregnant instead of miscarrying? I find peace in knowing that these two little ones are in Heaven now with their big sister Faith, so shouldnt that make the hurt less? Will we get to have another baby of our own in our arms? My life is so full, is it even right to long for that?
I know these are tough questions... and honestly these are not questions I expect to find an answer for.
I have decided that the best way that I can cope with this situation is to focus on the blessings that we do have in our life... and to thank God for them everyday and in everyway that I can. I am focusing on trying to be better at being me and being me with a loving and giving heart.
Its not easy- but each day I start again.

And this is how I start over again each day:Today was the day that we went to pick out the stuff for our lifepacks. Each year during the holidays, we pick out a lifepack from Lifechurch( a bag that will go to a needy child) and we fill it for a child that would be the same age as Faith and with things that we would buy for her. This year we included 2 more packs, one for each of the babies we miscarried this year.
It always feels so good to buy the things and to pack the bags full.... and it hurts so much too to think how few opportunities I will have in this life to buy things for my little girl.... and now our other 2 little angels as well. I hope the contents of these bags bless the recieving child in a big way. I hope that their lives are filled with love. I hope that they are safe and warm and cared for this holiday... and most of all I hope they have someone in their life that loves them enough to teach them all about the love of Christ. I pray all of these things in Jesus Name. I would greatly appreciate if you could take a moment to pray for these children with me- whoever they are- where ever they are. Please pray that they grow up in the knowledge that God loves them very much and understand just how important and beloved they are to him. After all, God knows every hair that is upon our heads.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the aching heart

My dear friend Tami sent me a message today. It said simply, " My heart aches for Angeliyah today." In the moment that I read her words, my heart ached with her. It took a moment for the dull and laborious thud to return to normal in my chest. And as Tami thought about her little girl today, I thought about her little girl too... and since I was thinking about her little girl... I thought about my own little girl.
That's the way it works. Because Tami's journey has been so similar to my own, because many moms has, when they express grief to me, I can understand that grief too. Their story reminds me of my own... their loss and their tears ignite my own loss and my own tears. It intertwines our lives- sharing the connection of losing a child.
I have told you often about Faith. Details here and there about her, our journey, my grief, my thoughts, my heart, our God who has held us through all of this.
Today, let me tell you a little bit about Angeliyah.

Angeliyah Grace, was born at 29 weeks gestation. Her name means Ascending Angel. Her entire life, from conception to death, was shrouded in love. She has an older brother Raife, who loves her very much, and a younger sister Remi that she helped to pick out for Mom and Dad. She also has three siblings that are in heaven with her that never made it to their mom and dads arms. She had six fingers on her right hand... dainty feminine fingers that looked like they were made for her parents to hold. She lived for 32 minutes on earth. She was beautiful and perfect in every way except for the broken heart that was trying to beat in her chest. Her 32 minutes on earth, and the 29 weeks that she was in gestation, created a legacy of love that will continue for many years to come.
To see the beautiful slideshow that helps to tell Angeliyah's story, visit here:

Friday, October 02, 2009

God's Purpose is Forgiveness

I had a conversation with a friend earlier this week in regards to Forgiveness. It is something I have been struggling with a little bit in one of my relationships. I never thought I was the kind of person to hold a grudge, so I have absolultely learned a lot about myself through this experience.
I have learned that I can harbor resentment, quite easily, and that of the five apology languages,( (from The Five Apology Languages: How to experience Healing in all your relationships, by Gary Chapman) I really need to have someone accept responsibility or repent to move on. Becuase of this, I really latched on to a bible verse I read last week and I shared this in my conversation with my friend. It was in Luke 17:3-4, 3 “Be alert. If you see your friend going wrong, correct him. If he responds, forgive him.4 Even if it’s personal against you and repeated seven times through the day, and seven times he says, ‘I’m sorry, I won’t do it again,’ forgive him.”
My conversation with my friend went something like this:
Me: I just need to call a truce. I should be a bigger person
Friend: Wait, What?
(explanation ensues, discussion about occurrence that is upsetting me, )
Me: " I am just still feeling angry. I don't want to be fickle or resentful. But if they would just acknowledge that they have upset me, I think I could move on. I think I am just a little too judgemental. I am going to pray for my heart to be yielding and not stern. The message version of Luke 17 talks about forgiving a friend that ASKS for forgiveness as many times as they ask it- but what about a friend that does not ask it.?"
Friend: Grace is good! I will pray too. I have thought through that. See, it says we will be forgiven when we forgive, I feel it is better to forgive without being asked. That way the heart is right."

This conversation gave me a lot more to think about. You see, in my heart, I really wanted to be able to hold a grudge until my friend came to me and asked forgiveness. I felt I had a right to be angry until this happened. As hard as it is for me to admit how calloused I was in this situation, I have to confess the truth. As I mentioned sometime last week, I am searching to know who God IS. I am trying to quit looking at myself and who I AM, and to find a better understanding and foundation of who GOD IS. I believe once I know who God is, then who I am will be found in that. I did a search on forgiveness and came across a wonderful study by Baylor University titled " God's Purpose is Forgiveness". The title of this study caught my eye and drew my attention. After all, I have heard that God's purposes are many things... but never simplified into this one statement. Jesus Christ was sent on a mission, which is summed up quite nicely in John 3:16. " For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting life." His mission was forgiveness for anyone that would believe in him.
In fact, Jesus was criticized by the pharisee for being forgiving of sins. In Luke 7:49 they said " Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!?!"
Isn't that a great statement of our society today? We are so unforgiving. It is hard to look past the ways we have been wronged. In marriages, friendships, families, experiences shopping, driving on the road. We feel fueled but what we think is a righteous anger- reacting strongly when we have been wronged. We sometimes criticize those that forgive too much, or allow others to hurt them. But maybe all this time I have gotten it wrong?
If God's purpose is forgiveness, shouldn't this be my purpose too?

If you pray for me this week, please pray this one thing: that my heart would be yielding and not stern, and that I could have a heart full of love and forgiveness for my friend without ever being asked for it.

Nehemiah: 9: 16-20 16 "But our ancestors were proud and stubborn, and they paid no attention to your commands.17 They refused to obey and did not remember the miracles you had done for them. Instead, they became stubborn and appointed a leader to take them back to their slavery in Egypt! But you are a God of forgiveness, gracious and merciful, slow to become angry, and rich in unfailing love. You did not abandon them,18 even when they made an idol shaped like a calf and said, `This is your god who brought you out of Egypt!' They committed terrible blasphemies. 19 "But in your great mercy you did not abandon them to die in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud still led them forward by day, and the pillar of fire showed them the way through the night.20 You sent your good Spirit to instruct them, and you did not stop giving them manna from heaven or water for their thirst.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

From 0 to 5

My baby became my little boy and now that little boy is turning into quite the big boy.
My firstborn, my only son, Ethan Brock Carlson, turned five just a few weeks ago.
I remember the day he came to us, a hot day in September in 2004.
I spent the previous day at the hospital, waiting for his cousin Paige to be born. I was worn out by the end of the day from a long wait in the waiting room and the annoying braxton hicks contractions that I was suffering from all afternoon. I collapsed into bed around seven pm.
I got up early that Thursday morning, September 16th, to go to my weekly check up at the doctor's office. I was not due until October 1st(or September 27th- we seemed to beebop between these two dates from appointment to appointment) and my doctor was on his annual visit to his home country, Iran. He had told me not to worry, just don't have the baby early, and he would be back to deliver our baby boy by my Due Date. This seemed like a logical and probable course becuase my cervix had not thinned at all at my last appointment with him and I was not dialated.
Things tend to be unpredictible for our family, and Ethan's arrival was no exception. When I arrived at the Doctors office, Treva, the nurse who had been assisting DR M. for years, took my vitals as usual. She took my blood pressure and frowned and had me lay on my left side a minute. When she took it a second time, she decided it was imperative to go to the labor and delivery unit at Memorial Hospital for monitoring. Cliff and I came to the Doctor's office in seperate vehicles becuase he had been on his way to work and we both took the 3 minute drive to the hospital and hurried inside. Once we were there, they checked me into labor and delivery and within about 1 hour had decided to go ahead and induce labor due to preeclampsia.
We called Cliff's parents and told them the news. After a long day and night of waiting to meet Paige Marie, Cliff's parents were exhausted and were caught a little off guard by the call. After we notified them we called several other friends and family members including Cliff's brother who thought it was a big joke. We assured him it was not, and prepared to meet our son. After a long day of waiting, our substitute physician, Dr B., decided to do a cesarean. I am fairly certain that my "Yes!!!" seemed a little too enthusastic when she asked if I wanted to pursue this option. Needless to say, I was extremely scared of the idea of childbirth, hadn't eaten or had a drink all day, and had a less than favorable ultrasound of Ethan in which he scored a 6 out of 10 on the scale. We waited through the evening for the surgery team to be free, and finally as my blood pressure began to rise even more, an emergency team was called in and they wheeled me down for surgery. Cliff claims that the time he waited for them to come out to get him while they prepped me was the longest wait of his life in which he spent every second ferverently praying.

Our son, Ethan Brock Carlson, was born at 9:50 PM, screaming on the way out. The Surgical Technican told us that Ethan was going to be a "Rock Star" with those lungs. He arrived with a mohawk of blond hair, weighing just 6 lbs( he is still a lightweight), with tired old man eyes( he still looks like an old man when he is sleeping), and with his future awaiting him.
Here is Ethan through the years:

In the Factory
Age: negative 3 months

Age: Zero years, a few hours

Age: 1 year

Age: 2 years

Age: 3 years

Age: 4 years

Age: 5 years

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Learning to know Him... the parable of the fig tree

This week in my daily bible reading something stood out to me.
Since it quirked by interest I have decided to pursue learning more about it with the hopes that it will reveal to me a little bit more about God.
After all, the bible says " You shall seek me and you will find me if you seek me with all your heart."Jeremiah 29:13

The parable is a short one... not followed by much explanation and it goes like this:
Then Jesus told this story: "A man planted a fig tree in his garden and came again and again to see if there was any fruit on it, but he was always disappointed.7 Finally, he said to his gardener, `I've waited three years, and there hasn't been a single fig! Cut it down. It's just taking up space in the garden.' 8 "The gardener answered, `Sir, give it one more chance. Leave it another year, and I'll give it special attention and plenty of fertilizer.9 If we get figs next year, fine. If not, then you can cut it down.'"( from Luke 13)

So what do you think? Who is the gardner in this scenerio? Who is the fig tree? Some say that the gardner is the Holy Spirit who intercedes on our behalf to God(the owner) Some have said that this parable is a story of redemption.... of Christ asking for time from God to redeem us....
The story seems to say to me that God has granted us another chance.... Not indefinite chances of course... but another day, another breath, another moment.
Am I embracing those moments to know him, "to grow" fully and completely?
I hope moving forward that I can.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


Today as we pulled out of the garage to head to church, I noticed immediately that the air was filled with fog. Not the typical early autumn fog that rolls across the ground, accompaning the frost and leaving a cold wet sheen upon the grass. This was heavy, a pea soup sort of Fog which went in every direction and made driving slow and tedious.
As we got very near to the church I joked to the family "What happened to the church!? It is gone!" Indeed, the fog was so thick that we could not see the building of which drive we had just turned upon. Ethan grew upset immediately and started to cry. Quickly, Cliff calmed him down and told him it was a joke and as we drew nearer to the parking lot you could densely see the outline of the large building. Ethan caught on quickly and to express his relief or perhaps to cover is gullibility, he began to joke aloud over and over that someone had hidden the church. This joking went on until we were all unloaded and in the building.
Through much of my life, I have felt like this fog. I have struggled to know WHO I am, how the world sees me, what I am about. More so than even this, I have struggled with seeing clearly who I am in Christ and how the picture of serving Him with My life has fit together. It suddenly became clear to me as I sat quietly listening to the message- that it does not matter WHO I am... all the matter is that I know who HE is. The key to growing closer to God, to finding direction in serving Him, is learning who he is. The rest he will make clear to me over time. Life is Fog, but Christ- he is our lighthouse, our becon of light, and it is through knowing him that we can truly see life and who we are, as his children.
Throughout the first experience while we served and into the second experience as Cliff and I sat in the main hall watching the message, I thought about God and my relationship with Him and how I relate to him. In the last month or two I have felt adrift. Not in my faith that He is real, but in my interactions with Him, in my commitment to spend time seeking Him. I have been drifting through my recent days with half hearted attempts at growing closer to him. And in the most recent days, I have felt that adriftness. I know the key to growing closer with him is seeking Him, searching him out, learning about him.
This is my quest in the coming days and weeks and I hope that you can each help me with this quest. I don't want to make another half hearted attempt. I want to be earnest, consistent, committed to growing closer to him. Dear Reader, could you please help to encourage me in this? Would you consider emailing me ( in the next few weeks to check in on this quest, sending me encouragement in seeking him, and sharing with me ways or tools that have helped you come to know him. Scriptures that speak to your heart, stories of times when he has spoken to you?
All my life I have sought to know WHO I am- now it is time to focus on WHO He is..... and my hope is that the former will fall into place in doing so.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Olivia, Me, and a Lazy Day

I am home from work today, and making the most of my time with Olivia. We have nothing planned to do today and it feels GREAT! We took a trip outdoors for a few minutes to play, even though it is still a little muddy and wet from the rain earlier in the week. Trying for a good mother/daughter portrait. She was more interested in playing.

Chasing Bayer. This is the first time I have seen her run without her "jet wings" to balance her

Just a moment please..........

Last weekend was a whirlwind weekend for me which started at the Sugarland Outdoor Zooamphitheater Concert Event in Oklahoma City. I was working the event at the US Cellular tent, taking free photos of fans which we printed out on the spot. It is quite a treat to see so many happy, excited people and to get to take a photo to help them commemorate the event.
I was happily snapping away and stepped away from a group of ladies to print out their portrait. As I waited for my picture to come out of the photo maker, I saw a wonderful picture come out just ahead of mine of a silly little girl with wild blond pigtails, Lisa Loeb type glasses, smiling empishly in a pink polkadoted dress and rain boots. She was definitely a ham! I smiled to myself and handed off the pictures I had printed to the eagerly waiting Sugarland fans and turned my attention to the little girl in polka dots.
It was just a moment, but it changed the atmosphere of the whole night. As I watched her with her family, my breath caught in my throat. She was there with her mom and dad, and a little sister who was in a matching polka dotted dressed and pearched gingerly on her daddy's shoulders. She had tiny little pigtail buns in her equally blond hair and it took only a moments glance to see that she was the more graceful, dainty sister. What a pair they made.
I had to remind myself to breath as I thought of my own two little girls, the 14 month old goofy girl I have here on earth, and her 26 month old sister, a graceful little angel in heaven. What would they look like in matching dresses? A fragile red head with curly hair and pale skin, and her brown haired, olive skinned, sturdy comedian sister in tow?My heart constricted and I excused myself to the bathroom(port-o-potty) before I began to cry.
I have been thinking of the two girls ever since... and trying to imagine my own ... together, in matching sister dresses.

First Day of School

Ethan headed off to school at the end of the summer. It has been a new and exciting experience for all of us. He is adjusting well and learning new things everyday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Labor Day Fun

On Labor day, Cliff and I were both off and enjoyed some much needed time together as a family, just hanging out. Ethan and I got out his linkadoos which he got for his birthday the day before and made a few fun animals. See if you can guess what they are. Our linkadoo pets
Horsing around in the living room

Olivia, Daddy, and Ethan( still in PJ's just like mom)

Birthday Party Bonanza!

Over Labor Day weekend we had a visit from Grandpa Owl and Grandma Angie from Louisiana. Since they were in town, we decided to have Ethan's birthday party since they rarely get to make events like that due to the distance.

Sema, holding up what is left of the Optimus Prime Penata. He didn't stand a chance!

The Dinosaur cake. Ethan just wanted to play with the figurines..............

Emily and Sema

Lauren and Joselyn
Kylye is determined to keep up with the big kids

Sam is soaked!

Susan and Jaxon, also soaked!

The battle is on!
About to open presents

Ethan opening Presents

Papa Dave and Olivia. The kids wore her out!

Ethan after the water fight

My Daddy, Alan Wayne, and my other mother, Mama Angie

Grandpa Owl and Olivia( I think she is trying to squirm down, hence that face she is making)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Weekend Visitors

Over the last weekend in August we had a very pleasant visit with Papa David's cousins from New Hampshire. Cousin Jimmy and his wife Karen came up on Sunday and we enjoyed a stroll @ Theta Pond followed by dinner at Hideaway Pizza and ice cream from Marble Slab Creamery.
The kids really enjoyed the visit and it was a beautiful day to be outside. They brought a small present for each of the kids, including a teddy bear windchime for Faith's garden. This touched my heart very much that they were so thoughtful as to not leave her out. On Sunday,even though she wasn't with us- I FELT like a mom of three kids- and that was a wonderful feeling.

Ethan, playing at Theta Pond. It seems that transformer did not leave his hands.

Cliff's parents, David and Maureen, and Cousin Jimmy and Karen
Karen, with one of the Orange Hibiscus flowers from the Campus Garden tucked behind her ear.
Mimi Maureen, Papa David, and Cliff

The Carlson Men: David, Cliff's older brother brother Dael, and Cliff

Uncle Dael and Ethan

Me and Olivia

Maureen and her look alike: Olivia

Blessings from our Hail storm

As many of you loyal readers know, in June we suffered quite a hail storm here. It was enough to break windshields and windows out of cars around town and it totaled our roof.

We experienced quite a stressful moment when we discovered that our home owners insurance did not have total roof replacement in the clause but offered us a " depreciated cash value". This meant that our share of the roof replacement was going to be several thousand dollars. Yikes.
I wasn't sure how we would manage to come up with this sum of money without using a credit card( which we have been working for 18 months to eradicate completely).
As always, God has a way of providing that we cant imagine or comprehend- and we found a way to pay cash for our share of the repairs without using a credit card or taking out a loan. What a wonderful feeling it was to have that heavy burden of finance lifted from our shoulders.
The blessing from our hail storm of course, is that we have a stronger, more beautiful roof above our heads.
Now we just need to repaint the outside and trim up our hedges!

Here is a before picture:

And here is after: