Journaling Through the Valley . . . and finding JOY in the morning!

Location: MICHIGAN, United States

Thank you for stopping by. It's my hope you find glimpses of my Savior interwoven thru my writings. I am the wife to one husband for over 25 years, a blessed mama to a dozen children, yes each born from me ~ two of which see Jesus face to face & ten at home, all of us yearning to see Jesus someday. We have been home educating for over 18 years with . . . well, another 15 years to go (the youngest is 3, the oldest 23!) I have walked through rejection, to continually learning I am CALLED, LOVED and forever KEPT by God - never, ever to be rejected by Jesus! (Jude 1:1) I've walked through deep sorrow to find that joy does come again, though the night may be long; I've witnessed God orchestrating miracles with my children still beyond my comprehension, & I am seeing new love forming as we begin a new road of older children finding life mates. My life has and is a journey, from the deepest, almost rock bottom pit, to stumbling through my faith and looking towards the ultimate climax of everlasting life in heaven. Will you be joining me here and there? ~ Loni

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Join Me, For a New Journey

I have made mention in a few posts now, that I would be moving my blog, and now that it is all "official" and most of my blog posts have been moved, I can make the announcement!

Several months ago, by the prompting of several fellow-bloggers, I turned in an application to to be a blogger on their site. This is not necessarily a "Christian" site, but I applied to be a blogger in the homeschool/religious section. After they received over 20,000 applications and pickinging 25 from these, I was accepted, and I "officially" began yesterday (Monday). I will no longer be blogging here, but will starting a new journey of blogging there.

Those that are reading this may have followed my past year of blogging through some very rough waters, since the death of our son. It's not all over, we are not "all" better, and there are still tears (please be thinking and praying for us this Sunday - it's his 18th birthday - his 2nd birthday in heaven). Since I was given this new opportunity, I really feel it is of God, and a new chapter in our lives of starting over and making an effort to finding joy in the morning. Thank you to the many, many of you, who I've met from all over the world, to those who are my dear close friends right here, that have helped our family through.

Since writing the above post, I have once again changed my blogging address, and am now blogging on WRITING CANVAS. Please join me!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt: FLOWERS

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Photo Theme: FLOWERS

My daughter, Heidi (14 1/2), loves taking nature & flower pictures. I had SO many to choose from that she just took in the last week! Maybe it will give a little picture of some God's handiworks in Michigan.

Apple Blossoms

Anyone know what the above is??

Lilly of the Valley

Crab Apple Blossoms

If you have done the Saturday Scavenger Hunt,
please leave a note below!

Thursday, May 18, 2006


What is the last thing you had to have repaired?

Just the other day a tire popped on our lawn tractor and our son took it to his automotive shop and repaired it.

If someone gave you $2,000 with the stipulation that you had to spend half of it on yourself and give the rest to charity, where would you spend the $1,000 and which charity would receive your remaining $1,000?
This is an easy answer! The $1,000 for me would be to hire someone to finish the remodeling since our son's death, since it's been very hard for my DH to finish. The charity would be Alpha Women's Center, which is a Christian, pro-life, crisis pregnancy center. Our church just helped begin & open the 7th center in Michigan. They also help mom with items after they have the baby, with everything from clothing to cribs.

What is one of your favorite songs from the 1980s?
I really had to think with this one, because I don't listen to the same music anymore. But I recall from my highschool really liking REO Speedwagon and their song, Keep on Loving You.

Main Course
You enter a pet store. Which section do you go to first
To see the little puppies (but we have a "home" licensed pet shop - so I do see them a lot - but I like some of the very expensive little puppies that stay little - like two or three pounds little!)

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how athletic are you?

3 - because of my "basketball abilities". That being - after changing diapers with no break for over 19 years, I am pretty good at making long shot dunks with a diaper into the garbage! Does that count?!?!?!

If you have participated, please leave a note below!
You can learn about the Friday Feast here.

This & That . . .

This is the first night all week I've stayed up late to blog. I've been going to bed hours earlier cuz the spring crud has hit me. I am pretty sure I've got bronchitis, and it's hit me pretty good. So, I've been getting more sleep, even taking naps, and not doing too much. Things don't seem to stop going here though with all the activities of just our daily lives. Norm's Small Engine Repair business has been very busy. There's been a couple of days I've hardly seen him (& it's a home business!). He's been doing lots more pick-ups & deliveries & the kids love taking turns with that to have "special time" with daddy. It's after midnight now as I write this, and he's out in the garage still working on things and I think two of the boys are too! The advantages of homeschooling - having "shop class" at midnight and being able to sleep in! We had a litter of puppies to place this week too, so between our two business, the phone rang a lot.

Along with the bronchitis, it's been a rainy week, and today especially cold (45 degrees), so that does not help one to feel better. I think I can see the grass growing. The kids are suppose to cut the lawn for some friends who are out of town and it's a very large yard, and it's hard for them to get it done in between the showers.

I received numerous e-mails asking how Mother's Day went. It was good - low key - but good. The girls made dinner after church - wonderful roast beef sandwiches with juice to dip them in. They put a vegetable cream cheese on the buns and toasted it all. MMmmmmmm - it was good! I got a sweet card. That was probably the hardest part - the missing name. But, I was ok. That night at church Jayson sang again, which I did not know of until that day! So, it was kind of neat to have him singing twice in a row. It's neat to see our kids abilities and gifts come out.

I love learning names of people and what they mean. When we named our children, their names meant something, either a family name, or a reason we named them, for the time period we were at. One of ours is Melody Grace - she was born after our stillborn daughter, and the funny thing is how she fits into her name. She LOVES to sing. She is like one of my other daughters and makes up songs all the time. Sometimes it can irritate the others, especially in the van or while they are doing schoolwork - but I like it! :) Anyway, I just read this today, that the "new" name that is gaining very quick popularity is Nevaeh (pronounced na-VAY-uh). Any ideas what it means? It's the backwards spelling of heaven! In 2005, this name made the top 100 with 4,457 newborns named this, with this name being the fastest climb among all names since the government started keeping track more than a century ago. I've not heard this name used yet, but imagine we will soon! I just thought it was kinda neat.

Well, we need the extra blankets on tonight. It's so chilly! I just hope we don't get up in the morning and see the rain has turned to snow. I am so ready for 70+ degrees and things drying up - including my laundry that has been hanging for three days on the line! It's just getting extra rinses I guess!


A few weeks ago I shared with you about the postcard exchange we are participating in. Our kids have been excited about this. They hope to get ones from each of the states and from various countries. It's a neat way for them to learn a little about each place too. Here are the postcards we have received in the last week:

Thank you Cristina & Linda!

Thank you Melanie!

Thank you Connie!

Thank you Sara!

Let me know if you'd like to participate. Just e-mail me privately. We hope to get LOTS more! :)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - Picking Dandelions?

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mother's Day 2006

I think of where we were last year at this time, still going through our fog, and very wounded hearts. The fog has cleared, there's more sunny days than dreary, and there's more joy each morning. On Saturday our church has a wonderful brunch for moms. The children and dads served, gave us corsages, blessed us with beautiful music, and arranged for a woman speaker to give great encouragement. Jayson (16) sang his first solo with his guitar, and as a proud mama, I have to say, it blessed me, encouraged me, and brought tears to my eyes.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Psalm 40:3
This blessed mom saw and heard the new song in Jayson's heart, and he blessed us with it. He did not play the guitar before Matthew died. He did not even own one. But he picked it up on his own, a way of worshipping God and working through a lot of his pain. God indeed put a new song in Jayson's heart . . . and mine too.

May God give you a special Mother's Day.

For hurting moms,
I hope this article can be of encouragement to you:
Remember Moms with Empty Arms

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt: CELEBRATION

Join the blogroll Photo Theme: CELEBRATION

I thought quite a bit about what picture to put up for today's photo hunt- celebration. Being it's Mother's Day weekend, I knew it had to do with celebrating this. Last week, for the "open" picture, I share a picture of our daughter after her open heart surgery. Now, she's not a favored child, but it just happens to be that she was born at home - a planned home birth. It was the best birth, and just so neat. I knew about 11 pm at night that we were going to have the baby soon. Some of the older children knew something was going on, and we'd probably have the baby, but they went to bed and slept through it all! My midwife and a friend and husband spent the night up with me, and we had her around 5 am in the morning. It was a very calm birth, both the midwife & my friend praying with/for me and singing. Shortly after she was born, Norm held her and prayed over her, giving her back to the Lord. Little did we know what weeks and year ahead would hold. Around 8 am the children started getting up, one by one, and it was like Christmas morning - but even better. To go to bed and wake up the next morning to a new baby sister!! It was such a sweet, sweet spirit that morning, and quite the CELEBRATION. I treasure it very dearly in my heart, as I do each of my children's birth and the CELEBRATION of life, that makes me a mom!
You cannot see her very well, but I am holding Jessica. The other 6 children are on our bed, at home, in CELEBRATION of this new little one. Also, since several asked last week, Jessica was born with a list of heart abnormalities, and had 2 open heart surgeries after she was 13 months old in a 12 week period of time. She is now 9 years old, and doing wonderfully. Yes, she will have to have more open heart surgeries, but she has gone many years beyond what her doctors expected. Her last visit the cardiologist said to keep doing what we are doing - PRAYING!

If you have done the Saturday Scavenger Hunt,
please leave a note below!

Mother's - A Quote from Theodore Roosevelt

I heard on Family Life Today (Christian radio program on 05-08-06) a quote from President Theodore Roosevelt, that I think is relevant for Mother's Day:

"When all is said and done, it is the mother, and the mother only, who is a better citizen than the soldier who fights for his country. … The mother who does her part in rearing and training aright the boys and girls who are to be the men and women of the next generation, is of greater use to the community, and occupies, if she only would realize it, a more honorable as well as more important position than any man in it. She is more important, by far, than the successful statesman, or businessman, or artist, or scientist."

Friday, May 12, 2006


What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?


What are 3 things you would like to put in a time capsule?

Bible, pictures, our family story

Name something you are 100% sure of.

My freedom & Salvation through Jesus - and forever in heaven with Him & my loved ones. Click here so you can know this too - or here - or here.

Main Course
What is something you do to calm yourself when you're stressed or upset?

Go in my room to be alone, pray, and then talk to someone else - usually DH.

If you could receive an invitation to any important event, what would you like it to be?

To see my dad on his birthday - he turns 81 on Sunday - and though we talk occassionally, there is an estrangement (he lives 6 hours away - long complicated story. I'd go at a moment's notice.

If you have participated, please leave a note below!
You can learn about the Friday Feast here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


"In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you."

I Thessalonians 5:18
Thankful Thursday

I am just so thankful & blessed beyond measure
to be a mom.

Summer 2004

If you have participated, please leave a note below!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


BOOK REVIEW: Presumed Guilty

If you are looking for a good legal thriller book to take to the beach or read outside on a warm summer day, this is the book to take with you! However, expect that you might miss a few meals because it will be hard to put down. I read this book in two days, taking it with me on errands, and reading it late into the night.

This book, Presumed Guilty, by James Scott Bell tells the story of a pastor, Ron Hamilton, whose church is rapidly growing to over 8,000 people. He has written a book on pornography, which unexpectedly becomes a best seller. His wife, Dallas, has a heart for battered women and finding shelter homes for them. She notices the distance with her husband, but attributes it to the busyness of their lives.

Their worlds turn upside down, when Pastor Ron Hamilton is arrested for murdering a porn star in a raunchy hotel. His wife does not believe it could possibly be true, until she begins to investigate and finds things on his computer - pornography. It shows how this sin, leads to other things, including lying, adultry, and the affect on children, family and church. Without giving more details of the story away, it is a book that will make you think.

Though a fiction story, Mr. Bell shows the truth of sin, and how it can quickly weave its way into our lives. It shows how Christians need accountability, how just one "quick peek" at pornography can pull someone into this deep dark hole, and how being alone with others of the opposite sex needs to be guarded. An innocent hug, can lead to adultery. Yes, even people we put up high on a pedestal, such as a pastor, can fall victim to this.

I really enjoyed this book. It kept me captivated to the very end. I think this is the first book of Mr. Bell's that I have read, and I plan on looking up some of his other books to read. This book is for adults, and I would not recommend it for children or even teens, unless mom or dad have read it first, and feel it is something their children would benefit from.

NOTE: If you have a blog and love to read books, you may be interested in becoming a reviewer for Active Christian Media. There is a one-time reviewer fee of $25, and then you are sent free books! If you do sign up, please tell them that I sent you.

As an Active Christian Media reviewer, I was not compensated for providing this review. I received this complimentary book in order to review it and am thankful for this opportunity.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Choking Game Article to Read

This editorial article was sent to me and want again to share this. It was written very well regarding a 12 year old boy who died from the choking game.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Twenty-Two Questions

I was sent this a few days ago, and it took some thinking to answer them all.
  1. I AM: a wife & homeschool mom to 9 children.
  2. I WANT: to make sure my children have a personal relationship with Jesus & know Him personally.
  3. I WISH: I don't wish - but pray.
  4. I HATE: the "choking game" being called a game.
  5. I MISS: Matthew
  6. I FEAR: burying another child (yes, my lack of faith).
  7. I HEAR: the children in the background & my husband repairing/running a lawnmower
  8. I WONDER: what heaven is really like.
  9. I REGRET: not being patient enough with my children.
  10. I AM NOT: as strong as I may sound.
  11. I DANCE: in silliness with my children, but look forward to dancing in heaven.
  12. I SING: with songs that praise God.
  13. I CRY: when I see my children hurting inside - especially missing their brother.
  14. I AM NOT ALWAYS: on time places - actually rarely on time!
  15. I MAKE WITH MY HANDS: bracelets.
  16. I WRITE: notes in my Bible & often date verses when they hit me for where I am at.
  17. I CONFUSE: my husband often!
  18. I NEED: to exercise.
  19. I SHOULD: go to bed.
  20. I START: a new blog soon - shhhh! It's a secret to be told soon!
  21. I FINISHED: reading a book that I will review soon.
  22. I TAG: YOU! Yes you, who is reading this and got to the end. PLEASE??? And then, leave me a note that you did this!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Saturday Photo Scavenger Hunt: OPEN

December 1997
This is our daughter, Jessica Joy, after her 2nd open heart surgery. The picture was taken by our son, Matthew, after he gave her the candy cane. She has come such a long way since this time, and a daily reminder that miracles still happen.

Grab the Scavenger Hunt code.
Photo Theme: OPEN
Join the blogroll.

If you have done the Saturday Scavenger Hunt,
please leave a note below!

Friday, May 05, 2006


From which country(s) are some (or all) of your ancestors?


How would you describe your sneeze?

LOUD! Haaaaa - Chooo! My kids always laugh.

What is the last thing you cleaned?

A "junk basket" full of lots of odds and ends that needed to be put in the proper place. It cleared up a big space on my counter!

Main Course
Who made the strongest first impression on you?

I've thought of many people through my life, especially when I was young, and I think it would have to be my grandpa. He was one who lived what he spoke. I remember him reading his Bible everyday. We had a very special bond. When he had his second stroke in a nursing home, the nurses found him with his Bible open on his lap, and a devotional booklet, Our Daily Bread, opened to the right date. He died shortly after this. My mom kept that devotional booklet for many years.

Name one thing you want to accomplish in your lifetime.

Seeing all our children coming to know God in a personal way and to follow Him (not just us), know what they believe and why and live for Him.

If you have participated, please leave a note below!

You can learn about the Friday Feast here.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


"In every thing give thanks:
for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you."

I Thessalonians 5:18
Thankful Thursday
  1. I am thankful for how well my DH's business is picking up and seeing him be encouraged by this.
  2. I am thankful for lawnmowers that don't work - it means my husband gets business!
  3. I am thankful for garage sales!
  4. I am thankful for our children discovering God's creations and the wonder of life in our own backyard(these are two separate nests we have been watching)

If you have participated, please leave a note below!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - Bethany's Birthday

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mrs. Noah Speaking

I came across this writing in our schoolwork today, and it really made me think about "attitudes." I wonder what Noah's wife's attitude was like when he said they had to go into this ark, and all this rain was coming. Did she really believe him? Did she tease him? Did she fear her life? Did she lose close friends? What was her attitude on the big boat like? What would MY attitude be like if my DH told me we were going to do something this strange? Would I give him all the reasons why not ... would I tease him, and make fun of him to the children, or respect him, and encourage him, and have our children do the same? Would my attitude have been like this writing below? It makes me think too of when my children get married. Right now I cannot see it as "ready" for them to leave and having peace and quiet. I imagine the quietness will seem too quiet. I actually look forward to the grandchildren, especially as I see moms my age starting to go through this new stage of life. But, we are NOT close to that for awhile! Prayfully, it will give me time to have a good, servant's heart attitude when we get to this new stage of our lives! I don't want to be this kind of "Mrs. Noah".

Mrs. Noah Speaking

I suppose under the circumstances there’s really no point in complaining but really! Noah and I had just got accustomed to living alone and having some peace and quiet and fixing up the house the way we wanted it at last.

I brought up three boys,
wiped their runny noses,
changed their messy diapers,
washed, sewed, cooked,
saw to it that they had the proper advantages.
We got them safely married
(though if I didn’t know it before I know it now;
their wives leave a great deal to be desired).
We liked having them come to visit us
on the proper holidays,
bringing the babies,
taking enough food home to feed them for a week,
and Noah and I could go to bed in peace.

And now look what has happened!

Sometimes I think it would have been simpler
to have drowned with everybody else-
at least their troubles are over.
And here we are jammed in this Ark –
why didn’t the Lord give Noah enough time to build a big enough ark if He wanted him to build one at all?
The animals take up almost all the room and
Noah and I are crowded together with
Shem, Ham and Japheth,
their slovenly wives and noisy children,
and nowhere to go for a moment’s peace . . .

Not that I blame him . . .
It’s my daughters-in-law who get me.
They insist on changing the beds
every time I turn around.
They won’t use a towel more than once,
and they’re always getting dressed up and throwing
their dirty linen at me to wash,
the washing is easy enough – we’ve plenty of water –
But how do they expect me to get anything dry
in all this rain?
I don’t mind doing the cooking,
but they’re always coming out to the kitchen
to fix little snacks with the excuse that it will help me:
“You’re so good to us, Mother Noah,
we’ll just do this for you,”
and they never put anything away where it belongs.

They’ve lost one of my measuring cups
and they never clean the stove
and they’ve broken half of the best china
that came down to us from Grandfather Seth.
When the babies squall in the night, who gets up with them?
Not my daughters-in-law.

“Oh, Mother Noah’ll do it. She loves the babies so.”

Ham’s wife is always stirring up quarrels,
playing people off against each other.
Shem’s wife who never does anything for anybody,
manages to make me feel lazy and
mean if I ask her to dry one dish.
Japheth’s wife is eyeing Shem and Ham;
she’ll cause trouble; mark my words.

Today that silly dove Noah is so fond of
came back with an olive twig
on his beak.
Maybe there’s hope that we’ll get out of
this Ark after all.

We’ve landed! At last!
Now we can get back to normal and
have some peace and quiet
and if I put something where it belongs
it will stay there
and I can clean up this mess and
some sleep at night and –

Noah! Noah! I miss the children!

By Madeleine L’Engle