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

Sunday, July 31, 2005

Update . . .

This past week we have had more talks about Matthew's death as a family than we have in awhile, mainly because of the media coverage on it. We talk individually to the kids often, and Norm & I talk about it almost every day, but this past week brought more things out in the open, and even going over the series of events the day of his death. There was one morning I asked Heidi (almost 14), to take a shower because her hair was looking oily. She did not respond, so I told her to. This time she snapped at me, "I don't like to take showers." When the chaoticness broke out that morning finding Matthew, she was taking a shower upstairs. All she could hear was the screams. She quickly got out of the shower & dressed, and tried to help open the locked door Matthew was in. So the other day, when she broke down, and told us how hard showers are, which actually we had discussed before and told her to take the radio or CD in the bathroom, or have her twin sister sit in there and talk to her. Then she broke down especially hard, and told us that just seeing the round door knobs all around the house are a continual reminder of that morning, and the locked door, and how she hates door knobs and HATES locked doors and makes her very panicy when she finds a door locked, worrying someone else might get hurt. She just sobbed and sobbed. Our hearts broke for her pain. We know Jayson & Benjamin went through so much visual in finding Matthew, but the others have things in their minds that trigger the pain and catch our breath. Since talking to her in detail, she seems a little more like herself, and relieved too, that we understand. We are going to change some of the door knobs on various doors, but she knows too door knobs are everywhere that she will have to face for the rest of her life. But she specifically said she likes the "wavy" kind of door knobs.
It's still hard with family celebrations and birthdays. It was one of my sister-in-laws 40th birthday on Friday and there was a surprise party for her. Norm & I went back and forth about going, but it's just hard when the whole family is together, yet, it's not. It's still a big hurdle to get over. We decided to stay home with the kids, which we generally do now on Friday nights instead of before when Norm & I had our date night. But, we had a bummer too, Friday afternoon, while Norm was getting a lawn tractor for a repair, and a stone hit the back window and shattered it. Norm was SO bummed. We just have the limited PLPD for auto insurance, so right now it's a thick plastic window, until we find one in a junk yard! Pray we can find one soon. And, we are suppose to rejoice in everything, and we are thankful none of the younger children went along to ride with Norm, as the back carseat and seat were covered with glass.
Today at church Stephen's graduation party was announced during the service, which is in a few weeks. It was so nice, that two ladies came up to us afterwards, wanting to help. One offered to make a cake, asked what Stephen liked, and when finding out he is into automotive repair and likes Nascar, she said she had the perfect idea and was excited about it! Her daughter who is close to Norm's and my age, said she'd wants to do the serving and taking care of the kitchen during the party, and will help with decorations too. It's just so nice, and I think too, because people want to be a part of the REJOICING with our family. Several in Norm's family too have offered to help with desserts, which will be so great. It's sure helps taking some of the stress off of me too. Now pray for a COOL day . . . low 80's if you want to be specific. :)
Norm has gotten quite a few repair jobs this past week, which we are very thankful for. He is working on an advertising flier that will go out in our local paper in a week or so, and are hopeful this helps bring in more business. Our puppy business is the slowest it's been, in the 10 years we have been doing this. We sold one pup yesterday, and don't have any now, but did get a call for 13 puppies that should be ready to go in a week that are lab/St. Bernard mix! One small litter before would help even more!
Thanks again for the many nice notes lately. It's been great "pick-me-ups." Your prayers are what are making us make it through.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

A wedding . . .

I know it's been awhile since I've really written about our family, and appreciate all that have written and have encouraged us - especially those on the QF list. Thank you. Norm & I have had some real close, sweet times these past two weeks, that I am thankful for. We've been able to have more time to work through things and talk without it ending in tensions. Marriage is definitely work - no matter if it's still your honeymoon or you're married 20+ years. Sadly in just the last few months we have learned of two Christian, dedicated couples, going through divorces, and it's sad to see a marriage crumble after all those years. We have so much to be accountable for, and our children need such a strong foundation.

Last Sunday, July 24th, we witnessed the beginning of a new marriage, that was so beautiful. It was an outdoor wedding on the "hotest day of the year." Some close friends of ours, married off their oldest daughter, of ten children. The mom, Gayle, has been a special friend of mine for close to 13 years - has been at 3 of my births, and our husbands are good friends too. We have been through much together as we have shared our lives very closely - from children's accidents, to rejoicing in new babies, to going through job losses together - many years of tears & joys together. Sunday was a joyous day!

Their oldest daughter, Emily was married to John. They had a short, sweet courtship - about 6 months. They both were committed to staying pure, and the radiance that beamed from both of them was just so incredibly sweet. Their first kiss was after John's dad, who married them, pronounced them husband and wife.

It was such a priviledge to see their wedding. Our children have been "watching" this courtship, and they have set a beautiful example to our children of purity and courtship, for the future for them.

I love this picture of the radiant John & Emily, as two of her siblings greet them.

Friday, July 29, 2005


This is from a blogger who encourages sharing, called Friday's Feast. Here's this weeks . . .

Name 3 people whom you admire for their intelligence
Dr. Curtis Cook, my high risk OB for our last four babies. His intelligence and the way he remembers so much (not just medically, but even about our family, from baby to baby and gave us many homeschool tips) is a God-given talent. He is also a Christian.

I really cannot think of other people I admire for their intelligence. That is not really something I "look for" in someone, but sincerity and realness.

What's the last food you tried that you really didn't care for
I made a lentil dish that really was not the greatest. One of our boys had a friend over, and he was about the only one that liked it. I will never know if it was just because he was a guest he made such a big deal! My kids gagged on it!

If you could rename the street that you live on, what would you want it to be called?
Nature's Run Drive - because we have so much wildlife that runs across the street all the time - from deer, to pheasants, to rabbits, raccoons and turtles. We have rescued numerous turtles!

Main Course
When was the last time you were genuinely surprised?
When some friends gave me a 40th birthday party - I had absolutely no idea.

Share a household tip
A friend just saw me do this, and never had thought of it - I did not think it that unusual, but I break the long thin spagehtti noodles in thirds or fourths BEFORE I put them in the boiling water. Makes it much easier for the young ones.

ABC 20/20 on Choking Game Tonight + Info

Tonight's 20/20 is about a 13 year old girl, who played the choking game and died in April. I am not sure if it's wise for children to see it - though it may scare them never to try this. It might be good to tape it, and have parents watch it first. But I hope many watch it. It's a "real" deadly game.

USA Today: 'Suffocation games' among kids turn fatal (regarding above girl and another Idaho boy) " "Parents need to know (that) very good kids do this," says Ashraf Attalla, a child psychiatrist at the Ridgeview Institute in Atlanta. "To my surprise, it's much more common than I thought. We're seeing this more and more." Attalla says he has patients who say they've played it every day."

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

SAND . . .

We've had some real busy days, and I've not had much time to write here. I finally feel caught up with things a little better. I want to mention again, one of my favorite blogs, Holy Experience, that I love to read, that is such great encouragement to me, and was again these past days. Ann wrote about her visit to Lake Huron, and now is home, catching up with the laundry, and how sand is in and on EVERYTHING - yet she wants to keep it. She can tell it much better than me summarizing, so here is some of Ann's post, Thoughts from the Sea, Pt. 1

There is sand in everything…shoes and towels, bathing suits and books. We sat in sand, we slept in sand, we dug in sand…and we’ve carried it home with us.

And instead of shaking it out of everything, I think I want to keep it—all of it.

For all that sand reminds me of Him. And how He feels about me.

“How precious also are your thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand”

~Ps 139: 17-18

I scooped up a handful of sand as I sat on the lapping shore and I began.

One grain. Two grains. Three grains. Counting this seemingly infinite number of granules (And that was just in the mere palm of my hand. Forget the whole beach. Or the sum of all the beaches on this grand spinning orb).

And I lost track. Completely. All those grains were far beyond my simple comprehension.

But there was a crack of a dawning in my understanding of how He feels about me. How He loves me. How He thinks of me and has dreams for me and knows me and understands me and wants me.

And I don’t want to shake that away, wash it away, or sweep it away. I want those sand granules to cling to me -- to everything. I want to feel them grainy against my skin, stuck between my toes, sifted into everything I touch.

So I remember how staggeringly countless are His thoughts towards the sum of one and only me. Why? Why would He think so of me? Of any of us?

I can’t begin to fathom. I can only marvel and adore and worship.

And hold unto a few grains of sand so I never forget.

Lord, why do You love me so, why do You think of me so? I have never been loved like this. I want to dig into Your love, rest in Your love, sleep in Your love and carry Your love with me wherever I go. And make MY thoughts towards YOU as infinite as the sand on the seashore.

It's just that gentle reminder we all need when things seem so shattered, or our lives are so busy that yet, He does still think of us. I feel that guilt when I say I will pray for someone, and forget - HE does not forget us. We can't even hardly begin to count a handful of sand grains, and yet His thoughts are of us each individually is more than ALL the sand grains. It's hard to fathom. Thank you Ann, for writing this so well, and sharing this. I am sure if I was touched by it, many others will be, and please read her other writings. You will be blessed.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Little Feet - New Home Page

Because we have had so many ask in person, where Matthew's webpage is, we now have a new homepage at, so it should be easy to remember.

I was given a poem after our baby was stillborn, and wanted to have one similiar for Matthew to go with his little newborn baby feet. I put this on his new homepage.

Friday, July 22, 2005


This is from a blogger who encourages sharing, called Friday's Feast. Here's this weeks . . .

What kind of car do you drive? If you could make an even trade for any other car, what would you want to drive?
A minivan - and would trade it for a 15 passenger van in a heartbeat!

Take your phone number and add each number together separately (example: 8+6+7+5+3+0+9=38) - what's the total? Also 38!

When were you last outside, and what were you doing? Tonight, watering garden & plants.

Main Course
What is your favorite restaurant, and what do you usually order there? Don Pablos Mexican Restaurant - Chicken Chimichanga

Name 3 things in which you occasionally indulge. Carmel Corn, Cafe Carmel from Coffee Beanery
, Milano Mint Cookies

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

An Opportunity To Share About Matthew

Since Matthew died, both Norm and I have shared about Matthew quite openly. We are especially careful with children, but want parents aware, and especially moreso in the last several months as we have learned more and more about how prevalent this "choking game" actually is. Yesterday was another "God moment" as He certainly put it all into place.

When we participated in the Life Walk several weeks ago, I was given a "free haircut coupon". Numerous local business gave to the group to sponsor the walkers. We have a wedding to go to this weekend, and so last night I thought I'd use it and dropped the kids at VBS and skipped out on it. It was a gal probably close to 30 that cut my hair. There was another girl standing almost behind her that was the greeter that was probably 16 or 17 years old. Usually I find that cosmetologists ask a lot of questions, but this one did not and I can't just blurt out "my son died". She was quiet and was "just doing her job." I prayed for an opportunity to share, if it was meant to be. I did not think it would happen.

There was a secular station on in the place and it had call-in requests for songs. A young woman called in who had had an accident - fell down a cliff, and broke her back and went through many months of recovery, and said how thankful she was that God not only saved her life, but that she can walk and still enjoy God's nature. She then requested the song by MercyMe, "I Can Only Imagine" which I have shared about before was Matthew's favorite song, and portions of it we have put on his gravestone. I have never heard the song on the air in a public place, and just quietly said, "this song was my son's favorite song - he died 7 months ago." She asked me if he died in a car accident, and I then shared carefully how he died. She was in shock, but the greeter girl behind her said she has heard of this, and knows of kids who have done this. My hair cutter could not really comprehend the "why" kids would do this, but she then told me too she has an older son.

It was such a "God moment" how it all came together. There is no way I could have planned this - from way back to our kids pushing to do the Life Walk again this year, to me winning the haircut coupon, and then the timing of me going, and THAT SONG coming on right there. It was like God nudged me to say something. But now at least two more are informed how these breathing games kill - the young greeter girl who has friends who have done this, and the cosmetologist who has an older son. God really showed Himself tonight. When I told Norm about it, we both agreed it was so planned of Him. It gave us chills.

A woman I got to know through e-mails who lost a 19 year old son the same way we did, was on her local news in Pennsylvania today. Here is a direct link to the TV station's website, and about her son. It's gives more details that I generally write here, but for parents, again it can show you the realism of this, including other names for it. I think one of the most important sentences in it is: "They [the boy's parents] want parents and children to know that a 6-second high can cost a life.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Book Review: Levi's Will

I started reading this book several weeks ago, and had a hard time getting into it. It was not because of the author's writing or because I found it uninteresting, but it was words that poked at my inner being that brought back some childhood memories and memories of legalisim I "escaped" from. If you are one that went through rejection as a child or adult, and/or dealt with religious legalisim, though it may be hard to keep going at first, you will find yourself relating, and find healing along with the characters of this book. Today I dug into this book and could not put it down.

Levi's Will by W. Dale Cramer, is about a young man, Will Mullet, that leaves the Amish community, knowing he'd be excommunicated. The book begins in January 1985, but has flashbacks and how this young man grows into adulthood. He leaves behind a pregnant girl, his large family, and an especially condemning father and Amish religion. The author wrote the book in the third person and at this point says of Will, "No soul could long thrive in the glare of such withering and justifiable wrath. Will chose exile because it seemed like a lesser kind of death." He joins the army under a false identity, finds his wife and builds the first years of their marriage of lies of the past.

As Will grows older, he confesses to his wife, raises a son, and much of the story is his going back "home" and yearning for reconciliation with his father. Because of his running away from home, he is shunned, and even has to sit at a separate table than the rest of the family. He thinks that he will never have this much needed forgiveness, and wants to give up, but his brother reminds him, "He [his father] still grinds his teeth when he thinks about you, every day. Every day, Will. He thinks about you every day! No man spends fourteen years being mad at somebody he don't care about."

The reconciliation yearned for is not only with his dad, but reconciliation with God, and how he has to first make things right with Him. Then it was very important to forgive his father, even if his father did not forgive him. He realizes the need to break the sins of the forefathers. I found this statement very hard hitting: "The sins of the fathers are indeed visited on subsequent generations, he thinks, as his mind slips back into the past. What he knows now to be a hereditary anger born of a hereditary disapproval has cause him to lose great chunks of his son's life in precisely the same way he had lost great chunks of his father's".

Another person to watch the life of in this book, is Will's wife, Helen. She is a very encouraging woman, who also seeked out God, and had a quiet testimony for her husband in being servanthearted. I also appreciated the way she stayed not only faithful, but loving and encouraging to her husband and family who went through many ups and downs. Too many marriages are destroyed when emotions take over, and she was not one to allow this to happen.

PERSONAL THOUGHTS - I highly recommend this book. The story is interwoven with many different personalities and life issues, that would be common to many, and can be a story that can help lead to healing and finding God. The book begins in January 1985 and flashes back, beginning in 1943. Sometimes, (at least for me) it was confusing. Because I was reviewing this book, I highlighted sections, and it helped me to put some of the puzzle pieces together by going back and reviewing some of what I had highlighted.

I noticed in reading the author's webpage, that "he was the second of four children born to a runaway Amishman turned soldier. . ." I wonder how much of his childhood and family history brought about this book.

When I have a chance, I would like to read it again, knowing the full story, and I am sure will find more of those puzzle pieces, enlightening and thought provoking. I also plan to seek out the author's other books, Sutter's Cross and Bad Ground.

NOTE: As a Mind & Media Reviewer, I was not compensated for providing this review. I received a complimentary copy of the book in order to review it and am thankful for this opportunity. Your purchasing it from the link below or one of my links above, does help me raise funds in my Amazon account, and if you do, THANK YOU!

Tagged! 5 things . . .

5 snacks I enjoy ... (aka weaknesses)
Chocolate Brownies with lots of walnuts
Klondike Bars
Take 5 Candy Bars
Low Carb Icecream - with Magic Hard Shell on
Lime Chips

5 songs I know all the words to
You Raise Me Up - Selah
I Can Only Imagine - MercyMe
Many Hymns, but these are my favorites
Because He Lives
How Great Thou Art
It Is Well With My Soul

5 things I would do with $100,000,000...
A good portion to a mission, church, etc.
Pay off our house - maybe build a new one
Buy a 15 passenger van
Buy several of our friends a 15 passenger van
Buy a large travel trailer so we can travel with our family all over the USA

5 locations I would love to run away to...
(It would be a "planned" runaway! If I "ran away" I'd HAVE to come back though!!)

5 things I like doing...
Being with our children
Alone time with my husband
Crafts - cardmaking, scrapbooking, sewing
Blogging and webpages

5 things I would never wear...
Very High heeled shoes
Tank or halter tops
Short skirts
Earings in various places other than my ears!

5 recently seen movies I like...
Pride and Prejudice
Into the West (on TNT recently)
(we don't watch movies often, esp. during the summer)

5 famous people I'd like to meet...
Chuck Swindoll from Insight for Living
Elisabeth Elliot
Barbara Walters
(how about a couple "famous people in heaven?? Of course, Jesus first)

5 biggest joys of the moment...
My husband
My children
Hearing laughter
My oldest son's phone calls every day during lunch (which he was not asked to do) and he often asks us to meet him for lunch. Brings such joy that an 18 year old WANTS to be with his parents.

5 favorite toys...
My embossing stencils for cardmaking
Sewing machine
Knitting Needles
Bosch Kitchen Mixer

I am not forwarding this to 5 people as this came with as directions. I hate pressuring! But, it sure would be nice if 5 readers would take the questions and answer on their blog and let me know! :)

Monday, July 18, 2005

Family VBS Week & updates

This week our church is having family VBS, meaning we go as families, can invite others to join us, and it's not age segregated, which we really like. Both children and adults alike are involved in it. Some of the teen kids lead the younger children in singing songs up front, a father did the message, and lots of invovlement as a whole. There's even dinner before it for families who want to do that, to make it a little less hectic! The spaghetti dinner was wonderful tonight and I did not have to cook in our 92 degree heat was even better! :)

We are doing a VBS Curriculum from Answers in Genesis, which is a very family oriented mission, encouraging fathers to be the leaders of their home, and also the main emphasis, is that the Word of God is true from the very first verse. The particular "program" that is beging taught this week is the "7 C's of History", which are, creation, corruption, catastrophe, confussion, Christ, cross, and connsumation. The younger children especially will learn some new words this week.
Here's some pictures of our younger girls . . .

Thank you for the many nice, encouraging and sympathetic e-mails and comments left regarding our "door" situation. We decided to first try painting it. We got a light warm, sage color, (called "Chatham Drive" from Dutch Boy paints) which we are going to use on the three doors that are in that hallway and then, a little darker sage color for accent trim. The first coats are on, and it definitely makes a difference, but might need to be a little darker. The "neat" thing, which many times we will say is a "God thing" is we were not planning on buying paint, and when we went to the store today, the paint we wanted was $4 off! It was just neat - a way God provided for a "want". Benjamin seemed to be feeling less stressed about the door, and I think it relieved some tensions there. The "hallway" area has to be totally different, and I think it will be. It just the strange how certain things jolt us. I just wonder how those that saw Jesus crucified thought the same thing for many years to come, when they saw another cross or crucifiction. Did that "jolt" them? Does it "jolt" us?

Friday, July 15, 2005

One answer to "why"

Another quick note, but I was reading the comments, on my blog, and a mom thanked me for writing about what Matthew did, and told me to go to her blog to read more. I got chills reading it. I don't want to take her words, but please see how another Christian family thought their children wouldn't know or even try this, and found out their children did know, and one had tried "breath play".

It helps to know, that good can come out of Matthew's death. God knew I needed to read it tonight too. And, thank you Lauren.

Please read Lauren's post - it might encourage other parents to talk to their children.

The Door

It's been some relatively quiet, uneventful days, in the very hot, humid low 90 degree weather here. I have been working on Stephen's graduation open house cards, and making him thank you cards too, which he can use to send out (of course, blank inside for HIM to write). The thank you cards had to be simple - nothing fancy or he'd not use them, so I did just his monogramed initials.

But we had some "Matthew Moments" tonight that hit pretty hard. Norm was working downstairs some, finishing off the bathroom, and got the bathroom door up. He asked me to come down to see it, and of course, a trail of children followed. For some reason it was like "the door" hit me in the face, and I noticed the silence with several of the children. Even though the bathroom is totally remodeled - larger - brighter - different colors, the door was a major memory. A locked door we could not get into the day Matthew died. A white door. I came upstairs, and Benjamin immediately broke down, and asked if we "really" needed to have a bathroom door. He was the one who found Matthew. He told me, just sobbing, relating all over again, how he tried to bang the door down - how he wished he tried sooner. He said the "door part" is the same - it's just moved down a bit. He said, maybe he should just not go downstairs at all, but it would be hard when mama and daddy's bedroom is down there cuz he'd want to see us. He's thinking, hurting, trying to be brave, and it's just too much for my little guy to have gone through. This is when I not only hurt with them, hurt as a mom, but get angry to at it all. Jessica remembered knocking before we had gone looking for him, and found no answer - she has regrets. It just brought it all rushing back - the deep hurt and pain of that day. So, Benjamin & Jessica especially tonight needed to "review" that day, and talk about it. They also have friends asking questions, which we have to be able to help them answer in a very general way. We are going to paint the door tomorrow, and see if that helps. We'll let the kids be part of it (if they want to), and see if that helps. Otherwise, not sure what we will do. One of those doorways with the hanging beads??

To get the kids minds off what they were thinking of tonight, we showed them this on the internet that was sent to me last night. Now, let me warn you, this is no pretty picture. It's the "ugliest dog in the world" picture - and this dog has won 3 years in a row. It's awful - yet we got some good laughs. One of my friends though told me it was not the best image for her before bed - so be warned, IF you want to look at it!


This is from a blogger who encourages sharing, called Friday's Feast. Here's this weeks . . .

What is your middle name? Would you change any of your names if you could? If so, what would you like to be called? Middle name is Louise. I am not especially fond of my first name and have met more men with my first name than women! It gets confused with "LORI" all the time, and just has "no meaning" to me. Each of our children's names we thought of with meaning. I like Bible names. Maybe I'd pick Miriam. Miriam Louise would sound ok!

If you were a fashion designer, which fabrics, colors, and styles would you probably use the most? I go for comfort, and love cotton material. I will never be a "designer" but go for good bargains and colors that look good.

What is your least favorite chore, and why? Just one?!?! Probably matching socks. It's such a chore in our home, and I am "sure" the washer eats one of each pair sometimes.

Main Course
What is something that really frightens you, and can you trace it back to an event in your life? I hate it if anyone jumps out to scare me, and my children know NOT to do it because they never know what my quick reaction will be!

Where are you sitting right now? Name 3 things you can see at this moment. Our internet computer is out in the open in our kitchen, so I can see our counter, phone and appliances.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

"If Tomorrow never Comes" - Poem

If I knew it would be the last time
that I'd see you fall asleep,
I would tuck you in more tightly and pray
The Lord, your soul to keep.

If I knew it would be the last time
that I see you walk out the door,
I would give you a hug and kiss
and call you back for one more.

If I knew it would be the last time
I'd hear your voice lifted up in praise,
I would video tape each action and word,
so I could play them back day after day.

If I knew it would be the last time
I could spare an extra minute or two to stop and say
"I love you," instead of assuming you KNOW I do.

If I knew it would be the last time I would be there to share your day,
I'd be sure it was your best, before it slipped away.

For surely there's always
tomorrow to make up for an oversight, and we
always get a second
chance to make everything right.

There will always be another day to say "I love you"
And certainly there's another chance to ask
"Anything I can do?"

But just in case I might be wrong, and
today is all I get,
I'd like to say how much I love you
and I hope we never forget

Tomorrow is not promised to
anyone, young or old alike,
And today may be the last chance you get to
hold your loved one tight.

So if you're waiting for tomorrow,
why not do it today?
For if tomorrow never comes,
you'll surely regret the day

that you didn't take that extra time
for a smile, a hug, or a kiss.
and you were too busy to grant someone,
what turned out to be their one last wish

So hold your loved ones close today,
whisper in their ear,
Tell them how much you love them
and that you'll always hold them dear.

Take time to say "I'm sorry," "please forgive me,"
"thank you" or "it's okay."
And if tomorrow never comes, you'll have no
regrets about today.

By - Norma Burnett

Another thank you to Mike for posting on his blog, Dove-Love

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Another Child Dies (UPDATED w/ obituary)

I was sent a link to this newspaper article. A young boy in Idaho died in a similar way. There are so many different names to this . . ."During the course of the investigation it was learned that there is a game that is common knowledge to many of our youth. A game known as the 'pass-out game,' the 'fainting game,' the 'tingling game,' or the 'something dreaming game' — to name a few," the statement added.

Idaho Boy Dies in Apparent Choking Game
and the same article was also on
UPDATE: 07/14/05
I just received the obituary - here are parts of it - just more similarities with Matthew. Please pray for this family. They are hurting so much. I am sending them a note tomorrow. It just angers me again, as we go through this grieving process, how satan got into another young man's life. We need to continue to pray, pray, pray for our children and pray for that hedge around that to keep satan's grip out. It just takes one foolish mistake. May God give these parents and siblings people like we have had in our lives to help carry them through these very dark days ahead.

Dalton Marshall Eby, 10, was a member of the Ashton Christian Fellowship Church and had a real love of the Lord. He enjoyed cliff jumping, riding his go-cart and snowmobiling. He enjoyed helping people. Dalton loved life and lived it to the fullest. Survivors include his parents, Dave and Dede; siblings, Zackary, Preston and Savannah.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Two Steps Forward - 10 steps back

Yesterday, and the few days before seemed good. Today was a low one - and I can't even put my finger on it all. I see the spark especially out of Norm's eyes today. It's lonely sometimes with this grieving process cuz so few understand what we are going through. It's almost like we are now "on our own" and we have to continue through this fog that comes and goes. I know God is with us, but my faith sure shrinks at times, when we continue this road, and the why's, etc. Sometimes the sun shines through more, but the next day the cloud hangs over our home. There's so much that needs to be accomplished, just with "everyday" stuff, and it's very hard at times for Norm & I to be motivated. The remodeling has a ways to go, and I know Norm is just so tired of it. I probably should not write much more as my emotions have been so up & down today.

One thing that I know is of concern to Norm right now, is this information he had read, and I would suggest that the husbands/men read it first, as it can really cause emotional turmoil for us moms. It is regarding the "expected" terrorist attacks.

FROM JOSEPH FARAH'S G2 BULLETIN - Al-Qaida nukes already in U.S

Monday, July 11, 2005

7 Months - Matthew Moments

It's hard to believe today is 7 months since Matthew's death. I think we are "breathing easier" and are having more tearless days that tearful days. Oh, there's probably not a few hours that pass, that something does not trigger a memory. Norm has been doing some thorough cleaning in our garage and getting his things more organized with tools and his small engine repair stuff. It's slowed down some with this, so he is catching up with the clean-up. He came across several things he knows that the last person that touched it, would've been Matthew. Matthew like to do wood carving and came across some of his tools for this, and then some of his hunting items. So, the lump comes back.

Last night we had some friends over that we get together with almost on a weekly basis. Their one son is now working where Matthew did, and is tall like him. After they left, Heather (twin, 13) broke down, saying she just missed seeing Matthew & Landon playing around together, doing arm wrestles and playing chess. She said Landon reminds her of Matthew. She sobbed. It was one of our "Matthew Moments" as we call them. Good memories. Missing memories.

I am planning a belated graduation party for Stephen for next month. We needed a little more time before "partying". I'd given most of the invitations out to relatives on the 4th and then found out yesterdayat church, that there's a father/son canoe retreat being planned for the same weekend. Sighhhh . . . so we are having to change the date to the following weekend. Thankfully, it was just the relatives I had given to, and had not sent any out to other friends, but having to redo stuff, when I was actually not procrastinating for a change!

Stephen is enjoying is job. It keeps him busy. It was kind of neat last night. He went early to the evening church service all on his own to find out information on helping out in Vacation Bible School (which will be evenings at our church). It's such a change for him, but I see the growth and interest in him for Spiritual things. He's not a public person at all, and so it's neat to see him want to get involved this way without any pushing from us. He's "18" now, but still is very good about calling during his lunch every day, calling when he will be late, asking permission to go places, and for the most part stays home weekends to be with the family. Even after him going to a public school technical automotive class, his heart is still with his family and Christian friends, and just neat to see how he has stayed strong. He's still very committed to courtship and has been very open in talking to us about a future relationship, but not "looking" for it at this time.

My one arm/hand is almost alseep with a sleeping baby laying on my arm. Thanks for the prayers. We're making it, one day at at time - not of our own strength but God's grace and mercy and the prayers of many.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Letter - risks of huffing, including helium (balloons)

We have learned a lot about different "breath games" that are played from young children in grade school making each other pass out, to groups of young adults playing breath games at a party. Along with that is various types of "huffing" and included in this is even sucking in the helium from balloons. I've done it as a young parent, until I heard the dangers of it. I received this e-mail and was given permission to share it.

From: "Aimee"

I have permanent damage from huffing..!!!

Hello everyone. (Sorry if this is kinda long I have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) from using inhalants (sniffing fumes) and wanted to warn others about the dangers of inhalants -- also known as huffing, sniffing, bagging, or ballooning. I unfortunately know first-hand about the dangerous, life-ruining effects of inhaling chemicals from when I was 12. I am reminded each day, every day of the damage that I did to myself. (And I'm Not looking for pity, I'm just stating the facts as they are :) Those that mainly use inhalants tend to be anywhere from grade school to college-age. Chemicals used as inhalants are typically very flammable and can be extremely explosive.

Inhalants refer to any household or industrial product that one inhales to produce a cheap, quick high. Most think of inhalants as "just" another drug, however, they are actually very toxic poisons. These poisons, when inhaled, latch onto the fatty tissues in our organs in the brain (literally dissolving brain cells), kidneys, heart, and liver, continuing to do major damage! These poisons can put one at greater risk for developing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Multiple Sclerosis (MS is when the myelin sheath that covers and protects the nerve cells wears away).

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas and whipped cream cans also called whippets) or helium (gas for balloons) may sometimes be present at college parties to be used as an inhalant(s). The students mistakenly believe that it's not the harmful poison that it actually is. (*When administered by a licensed dentist in a medical setting, nitrous oxide is relatively safe.) Examples of other inhalants include glues, paint, gasoline, air fresheners, perfume, any aerosol spray-can, inhaling air (gas) from a balloon to get that high-pitched sound with one's voice, and even burning incense. A father went on the Oprah Winfrey Show awhile ago and tragically told of how his younger daughter suffocated and died right on the spot, from inhaling air from a balloon to try to get that high-pitched sound. Her parents were unfortunately not aware of the risks and now she's gone!

A person can die or become permanently disabled the 1st time or 10th time! Just a couple months ago, a teen from South Jersey died while huffing at an outdoor hangout with a friend. And that's with all of that ventilation! How sad and frightening. Someone recently posted to me on a message board of how her best friend's brother died from huffing when his lungs literally froze-up!!

Why did I do something so stupid and reckless? I feel that I mainly huffed to self-medicate. I'd had depression and anxiety most of my life (and still do), and I was trying to find a way to feel better mentally. Inhalants can actually be physically and psychologically addictive.

As a result of my inhalant use/TBI, to this day, I deal with the long-term, irreversable effects which include: Severe memory loss,Severe dizziness (feels as bad or worse than the flu), Chronic fatigue, Nystagmus (involuntary, quick eye movements) indicating Damage to the Cerebellum in my Brain (cerebellum's responsible for balance and coordination, which I also have trouble with), and the nystagmus can make it very difficult to read words and focus on objects, Dysarthria (problems saying words), Word-finding problems (finding the right words when wanting to speak -- even simple words), Severe reading comprehension problems, Written and Auditory (hearing) perceptual problems, Poor attention span and ability to concentrate on various tasks. I have Severe panic attacks and depression.

I have a lot of Nerve damage/numbness to my face, hands, and other areas and have Trouble Smiling due to the Nerve damage. I also have Severe Grating at the back of my neck when nodding my head up and down, most likely due to Damaged Bone Marrow (the fatty inner tissue that lines the bones). So yeah, I'm pretty messed-up!!

What kinds of things am I Unable to do now and/or do Not enjoy anymore because of my inhalant injury/TBI? I am no longer able to enjoy and have difficulty riding a bicycle, swimming (I was an avid swimmer), going on amusement rides, swinging on a swing, dancing, exercising, skating, even just sitting in a chair can be tough because I can Actually physically feel the damage to my brain and bone marrow. Walking can even be difficult along with the other activities because of the severe dizziness that I have and poor balance and coordination. So the quality of my life has obviously gone waaay down due to my wanting to self-medicate by huffing.

Please, if you find yourself even thinking of doing this as a way to perhaps self-medicate and/or self-destruct (or conform to others), Don't! Talk to someone that you trust: a teacher, friend, clergy, counselor, parent, or guardian. Perhaps you can go to a free support group such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA). (Please feel free to print this out to show to others or such.) And please keep in mind that no one is immune from trying huffing whether from a nurturing household or not, a straight-A student or not. Here's a website if interested in learning more about the dangers of inhalants:

Please try to find healthier more positive ways to deal with life on a daily basis.

Please take good care, Aimee

Additional websites:
Go Figure - Did Donald Duck Inhale Helium?
Helium Danagers
Sucking the Life From Your Child - The Dangers of Inhalants

Friday, July 08, 2005


Today I heard on the news how 1500 sheep leaped off a cliff in Turkey, one following after the other. 450 died. I did an internet search and found out more about it. The shepherds had left them grazing so the shepherds could eat their breakfast & were stunned as there was nothing they could do. The ones that jumped last were the ones that could be saved.

Had the shepherds stayed by them, they could have guided them away from the cliff. It's neat to know that our Shepherd will not leave us. We certainly are like sheep and go astray.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. John 10:7

We use to have sheep. Our first experience was not good at all, and we certainly learned a lesson the hard way. We got two lambs that were about 3 months old, and had hardly no human interaction at all. They had gone from the mama to us. They were totally confussed, and at the first moment they could, they got out of our fence and ran . . . and ran . . . and ran. We chased them for a couple of hours, and finally gave up. The next morning we got a call, someone asking us if we were missing some sheep that were grazing out in a field. We chased them again . . . even got some "volunteers" to help us. They ran and ran. Finally one of our friends that was helping us just flung himself on one of the sheep and down it went. When we got one, it was easy to get the other, as they do stay together.

The following spring we got some more lambs. But, this time we started out with babies that were just a few days old, and bottle fed them with milk from our goats. They followed our children around, and they "knew our voice", and yet, could easily be led astray by one of the other sheep if we were not guiding them.

I just love the correlation between us as sheep, and God as the shepherd.

Here is a good story about the hymn, Savior Like a Shepherd Lead Us.

London, England

Our thoughts and prayers are with those in
London, England during this very tragic time.

I have "met" numerous people from the UK, including London,
via e-mails and ordering
Mother's Bracelets from me.
For those who have lost family and friends, we ache with you.

The Rainbow is coming (poem)

Don't have much to say
Don't feel like doing much
Don't feel like being around anyone
Don't feel like doing anything
I guess you could say I am numb

Numb from life
Numb from death
Numb from a heart that is cracked in two

Oh, there is only one hope
One hope that shines behind the dark clouds
One hope that shines when the rain is falling to the ground
One hope that lifts me up, when I am feeling down

And that's Jesus

He's the only one that can keep me moving
He's the only one that can keep me walking in stride
He's the only one that can keep me standing tall
He is the only one that can firm my footing so I don't fall

In time He will take away the dark clouds
And the rain will cease to fall
When the sun shines again
The rainbow He will send
Full of beautiful colors that will heal and mend

Till then I'll go through the valleys
Knowing that God's rainbow is waiting in the end
Where there is black and white
there will be color once again.

By John
Reprinted with permission

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Busy days . . .

The kids are rebounding pretty well after our dog died. Yesterday we went to the vet to bring her home and bury her. Being we have lost other animals, it was not too dramatic, thankfully. Initially when she was sick and the realization she was going to die was probably worse.

Several have e-mailed and asked about my blood pressure. It is better with taking the water pill. It's been averaging more now around 130/80. It still needs to be lower.

We've also been asked a lot on our remodeling. It's going slow, with all the outside activities, and trying to make ends meet. But, we did get the wallpaper border up in the bathroom yesterday. The bathroom is about 90% done and is useable. Next the hallway and our bedroom. I think it's still hard on Norm many times to work on it, but as we see the progress, it gets easier.

Norm starting cutting some trees down today. We have some solar pannels he's trying to get more sun directed to, and we heat our home in the winter with wood, and have really not started working on it. The kids were quite helpful in piling it.
We have been getting a lot of gardening done. We have quite a large garden - some 30 plus tomato plants, and some 40 plus broccoli and lots of other things too, but those are the main ones. The kids have been busy weeding too. We will be planting some more seeds soon for some fall crops too. Norm is thinking of making a coldframe to extend as long into the winter as we can.

This is shorter tonight. I am exhausted and will actually get to bed before 11 pm!

Thanks for the many nice notes. A dog certainly does not compare to a child or any person.

Give Me Someone (Poem)

Mike from Dove-Love blog posted this today. I hope it encourages you as it did me.

When I am famished, give me someone who needs food;
When I am thirsty, send me someone who needs water;
When I am cold, send me someone to warm;
When I am hurting, send me someone to console;
When my cross becomes heavy, give me another’s cross to share;
When I am poor, lead someone needy to me;
When I have no time, give me someone to help for a moment;
When I am humiliated, give me someone to praise;
When I am discouraged, send me someone to encourage;
When I need another’s understanding, give me someone who needs mine;
When I need somebody to take care of me, send me someone to care for;
When I think of myself, turn my thoughts toward another.

Author unknown

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Mascott died

Our vet called at 7:59.
Mascott died.
So far Benjamin & Melody are up and are pretty sad.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Our Very Sick Dog

It's one of those days, when I feel like saying "God we haven't denied you . . . but haven't we gone through enough right now . . . can't the kids' hearts heal a little . . . can't ours? "

Our 8 year old Sheltie Collie/Shepherd mix was acting very strange today. We knew the fireworks had spooked her and she kept going into hiding (as did our other dogs). But this morning she was walking real slow, and then had an accident in the house which she NEVER does. The boys asked tonight about doing somemore "poppers" outside, and I said "no" that it had really scared Mascott enough, so let's give the dogs a break . . .and even suggested finding her. All of a sudden, like with Matthew, Benjamin came running up the stairs, "something is wrong with Mascott . . . she is breathing but won't move . . .I think she's gonna die". We all ran downstairs, and she was in the workshop breathing hard, foamy at the mouth, moving her eyes, but nothing else. The younger kids kept saying "DO SOMETHING". Norm & one of the older boys put her on a blanket and got her outside. She wouldn't take any water. I in the meantime called our vet, and he asked if she had had seizures, but we hadn't seen any. He said to bring her in. It was after 9 pm, so Norm & I went - Benjmain wanted to go too, and sit by her. We told the older ones to get the younger ones in bed, and off we went.

Now generally with our animals we try to do all we can to stabalize them, and let nature take it's course. But the kids were just so upset. On our way to the vet, Mascott started thrashing all over the place, having a seizure. It really upset Benjamin. The poor boy has been through so much . . . now yet another dramatic thing. It's not a new thing with having animals die since we have raised goats, sheep, chickens, cats, kittens, puppies, etc., but this dog has been the kid's shadows for many years. While Stephen (oldest) worked at the horse stables, she'd follow him, or follow the kids to the golf course next door, or fishing.

We got to the vet's office before he did, but he pulled up shortly after us, and by then Mascott was not thrashing anymore. We got her into the office, and he gave her two shots - one to try to end seizures and to help with any toxins in her - if she got into something. He also gave her a calcium shot to help her muscles. We put her into a large cage, and when we did she did pick up her head. But her eyes were not responding well. So, it's a wait and see thing. The vet said he'd stay with her awhile tonight, and goes into the office at 8 a.m. The kids are pretty concerned. Norm & I are more for them.

We love our animals and take good care of them, but certainly don't equal them with our children. But, we are all attached to them. It's just that it's just seemed like so much for the kids - Matthew died, then the girl's bird died , their cat died (while giving birth), and now Mascott is so sick. We also really cannot afford a big vet bill. We cannot prolong something at the vet - not trying to be insensitive - but our children are our first responsibility, and it's tight enough right now to add this in.

As I am typing this, our chocolate lab keeps wandering around looking for Mascott. She senses something is wrong too. Actually she is the one that led Benjamin to Mascott. She was whinning, and circling Benjamin, when he was calling out Mascott's name and then led her down the stairs to Mascott, still whinning. I brag about my kids - but my dogs are smart too! :)

So, I am praying that the Great Physician who even knows when the little sparrow falls, will put His hand on Mascott and heal her. If He decides not, that once again, our kids can get through another healing here, and it's not too much of a step backwards. The youngest 5 would never remember even being without her.
Here's a picture of our 3 dogs.

Left Back - Mascott (Sheltie Collie/Shepherd Mix)
Left Front - Holly (poodle/cocker spaniel mix)
Right - Eowyn - Chocolate Lab (was Matthew's)

Monday, July 04, 2005

Making New Memories - Remembering the Old

Today was one of those bittersweet days. It was a day we anticipated it would be hard - and it was. It was a day of making new family memories, getting through another first, and going on. I can't say it wasn't without tears - but there was laughter too.

Fourth of July is always a family day, and getting together with extended family. Norm's mom comes from a family of 12 children, and many of these 12 have large families...and then like us those are having large families. Needless to say, it's a large gathering, at one of Norm's aunt's at a lake. The kids love going. We rarely don't go, so we have many years of remembering going, and having a lot of fun. The older children are now tubing and riding in a boat while the younger ones love playing on the beach in the sand, or jumping on the trampoline. It's what they all did today . . . except, without Matthew.

Here is a treasured picture from last year . . . Benjamin & Matthew tubing . . . both full of excitment . . .

As I saw the kids taking turns tubing today, I just wished I could see them having fun with Matthew again. I wish I would have treasured it more last year - yet thankful for taking the pictures we did. I am thankful the kids had joy today - have the freedom of playing as they do.

So, here's to the new memories made today - the healing we see with the children - their love for life.

And so, we got through another first. There were more tears today. I know Norm was not looking forward to it, and even said several time he just wished rain would cancel it out. It did rain, but not much. But, Norm seemed to be strong today, and I had more tears. It just did not seem like my family was complete, and it ached so. Family was wonderful, and several of Norm's aunts were very tender, knowing it would be a hard day. One of Norm's cousins who also lost a brother not too long ago was very kind to Norm in sharing with him, and both agreed the foolish mistakes that are made - that resulted in death.

My heart is a little sore tonight, and know it will again heal some more, and we will continue on this road of growing and stumbling, and thankful we are not alone. And again, so much to be thankful for - our freedoms that we do have, and the great freedom Matthew has in heaven, because of Jesus love and dying for all of us. That freedom awaits us all in heaven, if we only accept. Have you?

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I won a free homeschool magazine subscription!

Ok . . . you are probably wondering about this! Yes, it is REALLY free, and I am excited about it. Yes, there is a "hitch" for me, but well worth it! There were a certain amount of people who review books for Mind & Media who were chosen to receive this magazine subscription. The agreement for me to receive this is if I review the magazine 4 times a year on my blog, and I have to post a graphic to the magazine website for one year. So, that is why I have a new graphic for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! I am excited I was one to be picked. I use to get several homeschool magazine subscriptions but as we have changed our lifestyle to have Norm home this was one "want" that we let go.

Here is a little info on the magazine, which is a great promotion if you'd be interested in this. PLEASE visit their website. It's packed with lots of wonderful information and very interesting!

The Old Schoolhouse Magazine is approx 200 pages, full color, gloss, and packed with support and fun! Contests and a multitude of product reviews abound, as do excellent columns like Creation Answers with AiG's Ken Ham, Resource Room for special needs homeschooling with Christine Field, Diana Waring's HisStory column, our Finishing the Race (High School) department, and Show and Tell – where readers share their own detailed methods and curriculum choices. And don't forget our lengthy Teachers' Lounge where homeschool parents hang out and talk homeschooling! Jenefer Igarashi chats each issue as well, and Dr. Ruth Beechick drops in from time to time. Keep up with mainstream news with Zan Tyler and Amelia Harper. It truly is " a homeschool convention wrapped up in a journal!"

The next 1,500 new subscribers will receive 19 free gifts from popular homeschool companies with a paid two-year subscription to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine! And yes, it's true – even the shipping is paid for, making these gifts a $300 value. For a full listing of gifts visit:

Friday, July 01, 2005


This is from a blogger who encourages sharing, called Friday's Feast. Here's this weeks . . .

Where do you plan to go on vacation this year, or where would you want to go?

We have talked about taking the family to Macinac Island, between Michigan's upper and lower pennisulas. Not sure if we will do it because of afforability, but it's a neat place to visit.

What color is your bedroom? If you could redecorate it, what would you change?

Dark green and mauves. We are redecorating, and it is pretty much the same colors.

Do you have a bumper sticker on your vehicle? What does it say?

We have an e-Bay sticker, one supporting our local troops in Iran, and a Pro-Life sticker which says "I love babies - born & unborn"

Main Course
What's the worst pain you've ever been in?

Emotional or physical? Emotionally, our son dying 6 months ago. Never knew our hearts could hurt so much. Physically - my last c-section tore about a week after the section. That was painful.

Who is your favorite celebrity? What do they do that inspires you?

I know this person would not consider himself a celebrity, but Chuck Swindoll from Insight for Living has always been an encouragement to me through his books and radio program.