It's my life and I love it...most of the time.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Capture the Glint

Ironically, my last blog was titled "Oh for the days when life was simple" - nearly 4 months ago! Needless to say, life has definitely not been simple these last months. Nothing I couldn't handle, because obviously I have, but nevertheless the words busy, complicated, crisis could all be applied. I'm sure I could come up with some more adjectives if I took a few more minutes.

Nevertheless, as the New Year 2011 awaits just around the corner, I sit here reflecting on what 2010 held for my family. I remember, of all things, a trip to Walmart this past fall. I pulled into the turn lane and glanced to my right. Next to me was an older gentleman. He sat somberly at the light, eyes forward. A moment later, a restored hot rod pulled along the other side of his vehicle. As it came to a stop, I watched a glint form in the man's eyes as a smile spread wide across his face. He seized that moment to enjoy something as simple as a beautiful car.

After the light turned, I peeled off to the West and made my way into the parking lot. This small, seemingly insignificant scene left me feeling so full of joy that I paused for a moment to record what I had seen. I knew I wanted to tell all of you about it on this blog. Now if only I knew where that notebook is, I could have just typed my recollections directly from it! But it impacted me so much, here I am several months later and I can still see the joy on that man's face and don't need those words.

Undoubtedly, many of you are wondering what in the world did she see in that traffic lot stop? The picture that was painted in my head that day is how important it is to take time in life to notice the small things. Find the joy that surrounds us every day. Even if it is something as simple as a beautiful car.

As this year closes out, I have found myself surrounded with memories that are not all fun. But I can also think of many memories that bring joy. I remember watching Cameron make his first catch in a high school football game. I remember the look on Ashley's face as her grandpa tickled her just as he did when she was five years old. I remember Roger's smile when he came home from racing after a good night. I recall the twinkle return to Kenny's eye when he finally got a job! And I remember the excitement that Jessica exubed when she came home a red head. While seemingly insignificant, these are the moments that come quickly to my mind and quickly overshadow some of the more somber memories of the year. These are the memories that will bring joy to my heart in the years to come and remind me to look for the joy that fills life.

My hope for you all this year is that it is a year full of joys! Happy New Year!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh for the days when life was simple...

Unfortunately, we are not created wise. Wisdom comes with experience, trials, and tribulations. Those are the times that grow us into who we become. The good, the bad, and the ugly. As a parent of 4 teenagers and one 21 year old, I can attest that it is good to remember those times. I know you will find this hard to believe, but I was not born perfect. I made A LOT of mistakes growing up. While I would like to make things easier for my kids, and just jump them through to the wiser stages in life, it would only be detrimental to their character, to their wisdom. It is good for me to be there when asked, not bail them out at the drop of a hat, but allow them to go through their own experiences. And it is good for me to remember making mistakes, and understanding what they are going through.

It wasn't that many years ago when I thought I was so old, had to get married, and wanted to set up house. (Ok, maybe it has been a few more than "not that many years ago".) My husband was 22 and I was 25 when we got married, we had dated for 3 1/2 years, and I thought I was surely going to be an old maid before he decided to take the plunge. Looking back you would have thought we were in our 40's! (In case you don't know, we are now in our 40's!) Of course I recognize now how young we really were. Roger was (wait for it) a teenager when we started dating. A mere 19, the same age as son #2. Hindsight tells me I would have done things differently had I been wiser. Don't get me wrong, I don't regret that time, I would have just handled a few things differently. But if I could change things I wouldn't; those decisions grew us into the people we have become and developed our relationship into what it is.

I don't have any regrets, but I do miss many things about those early years. I miss being alone. At the same time I miss having the house full of my husband's friends on the weekends, tuning race cars, and feeding them all. I miss driving around on a cool, fall night with the sun roof open and the radio cranked. How excited we were to get a built in CD player! I miss having a house full on Friday nights for bible study, then dinner out and maybe a dollar movie at The Palace. I miss only having to worry about myself and my husband. Life was simple.

Twenty years later, I can see things shifting again. Many more evenings are spent in a quiet house, as the kids are running around with friends. The rumble of a race car once again permeates the house, as an engine is tuned to perfection. And sometimes we find our way out into a cool, fall night; the windows are rolled down, music is playing, and stops at red lights are filled with stolen kisses.

Maybe 20 years from now I will still be blogging. There is a chance that I will be telling you about plans for retirement and travel. I may speak about quiet evenings spent reading the latest novel at the top of the best seller list. In reality, I will probably reflect about when days were so full I couldn't find a moment to myself...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The times, they are a changin'...

I have a confession, (I seem to be doing that a lot!), I am a Facebook junkie. It's true, I need to check my Facebook to see what is going on in the world around me. Who would have thought 20 years ago that their would be something called a social network? Who thought 5 years ago that an online site called Facebook would bring so many people together?

I currently have just over 300 friends on Facebook. I have known some my whole life, some since I was 5, friends from college, and new friends that I have known a short time. I find it amazing that I am able to share my life with my grandma, keep up with friends from Kindergarten, and hear about what is going on in the lives of my children's friends. I am also able to connect with distant relatives on a level I would never have been able to otherwise. This is perhaps my favorite type of friend.

Recently I noticed a difference in the age groups that I Facebook with. I find that several of my older friends still use a greeting and/or a complimentary closing (love, sincerely) in their status updates. My young friends on the other hand use texteese (my word for texting language, c wht I mne). I often wonder what my grandma thinks of things my kids post, and if she can read their language. What a blessing that they are able to have this type of connection.

A few weeks ago I spent some time sorting through some old letters I had kept. The majority were from high school, but there were some from college and when I was much younger. What possessed me to save some of them I do not know. There were stories of boys, boys, and did I mention boys? But there were also letters from my great-grandmother, grandmother, and mother. I find tears in my eyes as I hold the paper that was held by my grandmother, and goosebumps at the site of her hand writing. They are all treasured.

I worry about what my children will have in this age of technology and the keyboarded word. They definitely will not have as many handwritten letters as I do. Fortunately there have been some teachers in their lives that still understand the importance of the written word, specifically letters. As assignments, they have been asked to write to a relative. I have made sure to save them for their scrapbooks. One special letter was from my grandmother to my youngest son. I also have the letter he wrote to her first, that my grandmother had saved. It is wonderful reading both sides of the story. She tells him about when her brother died at a very young age, his senior year in high school. More recently my youngest son came home from church camp. He pulled some paper from his pocket. It was a letter from my mom he had received that week. It had survived camp, and made its way home. It was something treasured. It is tucked away safe until I can put it in his scrapbook.

Letter writing is a dying art. I don't think it can be totally saved in the form it once had. But I definitely think it is worth a shot. Write a letter to someone you love this week. Really write it, go buy a stamp, and send it in the mail.  Slip a note onto the pillow of your spouse, or into the lunch box of your child. Create those memories that can be treasured.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

August = CRAZY!

I'm back to work at the school and it has been a CRAZY week, but I survived with flying colors! I am in the middle of my third year in this position. I can see the rewards of all the work I have done re-organizing my office to suit my style. We just finished the third year with a new demographic software, and we have pretty much all of the kinks worked out. Those we don't, we are aware of and know how to fix when they pop up. All of this, along with some really great co-workers, makes for a good work environment. I am so thankful to be able to go to work and feel good about so many things.

That said, let me take you back to my first day in this position. It was the first day after Christmas Break. Although I had helped the person who had the position prior to me; she left because it was too stressful, there was an incredible amount of duties I had never touched. I mentioned earlier that this week was CRAZY-that first day was a nightmare! At the time, I do not believe I had EVER felt that overwhelmed before in my life. I cannot express to you enough how tight my chest was, how bad I wanted to throw up, and how many times the thought "what did I get myself into" popped into my head. Let's just say I did not just want to cry a good portion of the day, I wanted to BAWL!

As a young person I tended to self-sabotage myself. This happens to a person that is reacting to a stressful situation. There are many forms of self-sabotage. For me I would often ignore the situation, or even do things to take myself out of the situation. Often this was a huge mistake that showed my immaturity.

My sophomore year in college comes to mind immediately as I think about this. The prior two years had been full of changes. My parents got divorced. My mom struggled. I graduated from high school. I had a summer romance. I went off to college, away from home. My life was full of friends, classes, and all of the typical teenage drama you might remember. My sophomore year I was appointed Yearbook Editor and I was so excited. And scared. Than my mom called to tell me my dad was coming back home. Of course I didn't recognize it at the time, but I was in a stressful situation. I will spare you all of the boring details, besides some of you reading this already know them, but I was kicked out of college for drinking. Now there is more involved to this story, but those are just details. You get the idea, stress led me to subconsciously make purposeful choices that I believe I knew would remove me from some of the situations.

Being only 19, my frontal lobe had not fully developed yet. My mind was not thinking about the long term consequences of those actions. I could not psychologically deal with the situation or even the actions that resulted. Thankfully I had family support during this time, especially from my Aunt, whom I love dearly. I had closed myself off from my parents, and she stepped in. That time in my life comes to mind often as  my days are filled with the minds of teenagers in my own home, and all of the struggles that they face. I can see my mom bite her tongue to keep from reminding me of my own struggles as I deal with my children. She doesn't have to remind me, I just don't like to admit I remember.

I do remember though. Sometimes I have to remind myself to remember! Teenage years are a struggle under normal circumstances. When we remember our years, we can invoke compassion. Not something that is easy to do when facing a hormonal teen, but something that is essential. Something that I need to practice more of.

As a young person, I found myself in stressful situations that I did not handle well. Over the years I have learned to push through those moments, and make the choices that make sense. Some of this has come with the development of my frontal lobe, some has come with very conscientious practice. I have learned over the years that I have tendencies to self-sabotage. I can watch for this, and push through and make the right choice.

That first day of my position, I wanted to quit. That was the old self-sabotage person peeking out. But the older, wiser me pushed through. What do I need to do to get through this? How can I make this work out for my benefit? My first instinct was I can't. I have to let God. And that is what I did. I prayed to him that night before I left. I gave it up to him. "God, I can't do this. I need your help." I immediately felt the comfort of knowing that there were only so many hours in a day, and I could only do some much in a day. I needed to just take things one crisis, project, and phone call at a time. Let me say, this is totally against my nature! Because I allow God into my life, I am able to do this. Some days are easier than others, but this is exactly how I have gotten through the last 2 1/2 years. And now, I love my job! I love the challenge. I love the people. I love the new opportunities that I am presented with each year.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Talents of a Parent: Things I Have Learned Part III

I want to take a little different turn with today's blog. Still along the line of parent talents, but in a different venue than we have been covering. There are several things I enjoy doing, but perhaps none more than photography. I have taken pictures for a long time, since I was in elementary school. To say the least, my ability has evolved over the years. I have always taken pictures of people and activities going on around me. I have scrapbooked them since I was in high school. It is very important to me to capture the memories that are happening around me, not only for myself, but for my children. I cherish that I am creating a written and pictoral history for the generations to come after me. My grandchildren will be able to see so many of the things their parents experienced growing up.

More recently, I have also taken a bigger interest in capturing God's beauty that surrounds me. I find his beauty on vacations to some of the most incredible places on earth, and I find it in my own front yard. His beauty surrounds us everywhere.

We all have things we enjoy doing. It is important as a parent that we not let those interests die when we become parents. Don't get me wrong. It is important for us to help foster our children as they discover their own interests, but not at the expense of our own. It is very healthy for us to teach our children that following our interests is important. It is important to the health and happiness of the family unit. It is good to take a break sometimes, and there should be no guilt felt if we need it. It is not only healthy for us as a parent, but it is healthy for our children as well. It is equally as healty for our children to learn to do things without us sometimes.

I don't always get to do some of the things I like to do when I would like to do them. But I do take advantage when I get the chance. My family has even been know to humor me and participate in some of the things I enjoy doing. I would like to share some of my favorite photographs with you. Let me know what you think. I would love to hear about what you are passionate about! What are some of those little things that you crave to get away and do?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Talents of a Parent: Things I Have Learned Part II

I would dare say every new parent faces fear. It does not matter if the new child comes home the first day as an infant or 3, 4, 5, or 6 as our children came to us. I wish I could say the fear goes away, but as our children grow up we just encounter new fears. As a mother of 4 teenagers (at one point I had five at one time), I can say the fears just change. Gone are the days when I worried about them riding their bike to the swimming pool on a hot summer day. Now I find myself worrying as they head out in one of the many cars that now line our drive. I would dare say from many conversations with parents who have children older than mine, that the fears never go away-they just change.

There comes a day when we have to know that we have done our best to teach our children what good choices are and how to make them. Then we have to let them go; go out that door to the swimming pool by themselves, go out that door and into a car full of friends. And then we should prepare for the days they will not make good choices. It is good to have a plan for these moments. There may be nothing more volatile than facing a teenager that has made a mistake in anger. I do not mean you can be so prepared that you won't feel anger, but you can be prepared with how to address them when it happens. This is not to say that I was always prepared --how else do you think I know it would be a good plan to prepare!

Not everything can be prepared for, however. Along this vain, perhaps the most important thing I have learned as a parent is to follow my instincts. Listening to my instincts has been honed over many years now. I can gratefully say it didn't take too many times of not listening before I caught on. It is not an exact science. I have learned to listen to myself, question what I am hearing, and respond accordingly. Sometimes it is as simple as being at the grocery store and having an ingredient pop into my head that isn't on my list. There have been times I have ignored my instincts, knowing I have it in the fridge, only to get home and not have it. I have also faced moments when I have felt something wasn't quite right in situations with my children. I never question these times, and I have never regretted a choice I have made by following my instincts.

I just started reading Louder Than Words by Jenny McCarthy last night and had to come back and add this paragraph to this weeks blog. She talks continually about her instincts and her gift to follow them. As she encountered a life changing illness with her son, she kept coming up against doctors who were giving her answers she did not feel were right. She followed those instincts, questioned, and kept searching until she found someone who knew what was really wrong with her child. (He was diagnosed with autism for those of you who don't know.) While I don't advocate the language she uses in her book (i.e. throwing the "F" bomb around), it is a good read. She is 100% upfront with exactly what she was filling during this time in her life. It really brings home the importance of following our instincts.

I believe this is a gift from God and am very glad that God has provided this gift to women. It has been my experience that men do not have this same ability. I am very grateful that my husband has also come to recognize that some times I just know things. There may not be facts to back up what I am feeling, but I am confident in what my instincts are telling me.

Do you listen to your instincts? If you are a new mother, and are just beginning to see what I am talking about, I encourage you to really take the time to listen to yourself and trust your instincts.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Talents of a Parent: Things I Have Learned Part I

There are many talents that God provides us with as parents. Are we perfect - umm no! But if you are like me, you try your best. While I come by some things naturally, I have never been afraid to try new things along the way. At times this has been interesting, to say the least, especially when cooking!

One gift I have is being able to organize. This should not be confused with having a perfect, orderly house (just ask my mom, better yet; don't!). Being organized can help life run smoother. The biggest thing I have always tried to do is plan meals. When it was just my husband and I, I would prepare a months worth of menus at once and do the majority of the grocery shopping in one trip. Of course I had to go back for milk and fresh produce. By the time we had five children, I had switched to weekly menus and stopping for milk during the week again. When I have a menu posted on the refrigerator, it makes it easy to pull out the meat I need and prepare the evening meal. I do not have to spend precious time determining what to fix tonight.

As my family has grown, I am now trying to pass this skill on to my children. The hardest part of this task is being respectful that there is more then one way to do things, and this is no exception. Especially when it comes to cooking the actual meal. That is not to say that some things can be compromised, such as the need for a vegetable with every meal.

This past spring I began transitioning my children that still live at home to the responsibility of planning the meals, doing the grocery shopping, and preparing the meal. They are 15, 17, 18, and 19. They all participate equally. While activities do interfere occasionally, we are flexible and Monday nights meal may have to be moved to Thursday. And I take care of one meal a week. My husband has even began chipping in some.

We have had some growing pains, but there has been definite progression. The first week, I planned the menu and the grocery list. They did the shopping. Side note: This is beneficial in more then one way. We have saved money. They don't stray from the list. I definitely do.

I built up to them planning the menu as well. Not realizing I needed to give some more guidance on this we had an interesting week. Nachos one night - not even ground beef, just chips and cheese. That was it. You get the idea. I turned this into a teachable moment, and we had a lesson on what should be included in a meal, such as vegetables.

By the end of school, they were doing quite well. With summer, I have taken over more of the planning and cooking. But I will soon be returning to work, and we will jump right back in. This is especially helpful on Monday nights when I have class.

The best part of this process has been watching the kids discover how good they are at this. Kenny makes a fantastic homemade pizza. Ashley makes incredible potatoes. Jessica whips up some mean eggs. And Cameron makes the best, melt-in-your mouth chocolate chip cookies I have ever had. What talented children I have!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Sorry I haven't posted for awhile. We went to visit my parents out of state and lets just say their dial up is not conducive to surfing the web, especially when you are used to speeds much faster! We had a nice visit, which included my aunt coming along for the ride.

Annual trips that include my aunt have become a tradition for my family. It began about four years ago when I decided to take my youngest daughter to visit her biological grandparents on the East coast. My husband didn't show a lot of interest, so I asked my aunt if she would come along-I needed the support. We had a wonderful time, extending our trip to include our nations capital, the Lancaster area of Pennsylvania as well as the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. She has now accompanied us to Minnesota on three adventures to see my parents. This year we let my husband tag along, too! I don't think I can properly express how important this tradition has become to us. One of my cousins has asked to join us on one of our trips. We have so much fun, I can't wait to include her!! These memories will be with us forever, in our hearts and in the scrapbooks I have put together of these adventures.

We have many traditions in our family, most of them are common I would say to many households. The majority of them revolve around holidays. We do not limit ourselves to the ones that have been around since we were children, but we grow new ones. As an extended family, we did not enjoy each others company on Memorial Day or the 4th of July. About four years ago we invited ourselves to my brother-in-laws house for the fourth. Soon we had invited my sister-in-law and her family as well as my parents-in-law. It was very spur of the moment. Thankfully, I have an easy going sister-in-law who went along with it all. It has become a tradition, and every year we know where we will be - with friends and family enjoying time together!

As an adoptive parent, I can tell you how important these times are for my children. Our oldest son, especially, needs these moments. They are something he can hold on to as he struggles to find his way as a young adult. He is currently living with his biological dad, uncle, and grandma. He has spent the last year and a half getting to know them, as well as his mother's family. It has been a learning experience, to say the least. He struggles with balancing it all. He wants to have a relationship with them, but needs the traditions of our family to hold everything together.

It is not always the easiest, for me especially. I have to confess, my husband is much better at this new juncture in our lives. I guess this evens out with his abilities vs mine when the children were young. I have come to the conclusion this is another reason whey God made men and women so different. He knew our children would need us in different aspects as they grew. I am so thankful that I have a husband to help me along this path. I can't imagine doing it alone as some of my friends have.

Traditions are so important to our lives, whether it be a holiday or the same picture taken during every visit to Grandma's. As our children grow up, I hope to add more traditions. A friend of ours has Thursday night dinner once a week - I hope to do something similar. We also plan to continue a tradition my parents started; they always had Christmas Eve at their house. This enabled everyone to spend Christmas Day any way they needed. What are some of your family traditions?

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Friday, July 2, 2010


I have had a hard time this week deciding what to blog. I had a specific topic in mind, but just could not quite get it put together. Then the idea of transitions in life came to mind. Specifically, all of the transitions that happen as we become parents.

For a typical parent, there is a lot of time to transition and prepare for a new baby. It continues on until the day we die. We transition from the baby to stage, to toddler, pre-school, school age, pre-teen, etc. For an adoptive parent, the stages are the same except we do not have the privilege of preparing for a new baby in the same way. We do not carry the child for 9 months, creating an immediate bond with the child. We may not be there for the birth, and those precious few moments after they arrive. We may not even have the joy of watching them grow during those all important infant and toddler years, as we did not.

There are many reasons why I miss, even grieve, some of those moments. I did not get to relish in the first movement felt, or be able to feel my husband's hand on my tummy as he feels his child move. I was not there for those critical developmental years, and was unable to protect them from terrible situations. I worry it is because of these missed years, that I may not have as close of a relationship with my children as those who are birth families. I do not want to short change these precious children.

I have no way of knowing if we had been able to have biological children, what they would have been like. There is really no reason to even speculate. But I often wonder. It would not have made any difference if we had had biological children. We did not decide to have our own children until after we had started the process to adopt our first 3 children. Our family dynamic would have been the only thing different. And we would have had a reference between what is a "normal" issue and what is an "adoptive" issue. Now that may have come in handy!

Our parenting transitions moved quickly. We went from fostering 2 boys, starting the adoption process for those 2 children as well as their sister; bringing another foster daughter into our home, bringing another son home with the hope of adopting him, and then deciding to adopt our second foster daughter as well, all in a matter of 3 years. It was almost like having quintuplets, only they weren't the same age and we didn't get a multi-million dollar tv deal out of it!

I am so glad that I was able to be a stay-at-home mom and enjoy the PTA moments, swimming at the pool every day in the summer, and volunteering in their class rooms. But as they grew older it was time to transition again. All of a sudden they were all in middle and high school, and before I knew it they were all teenagers at the same time! Five teenagers in one household ensures a house full of rough housing, laughter, and hormones! Throw into that mix teenagers dealing with adoption issues such as abandonment and biological families - whew; there have been moments I did not know if I would survive!

I must confess, in some ways I am not as good of a parent to teenagers as with younger children. I think that is why God made the plan to include two parents. Parents are to work together and compliment each other. My husband was not as good with the children when they were young, as he is now that they are teenagers and 21. We balance each other. I have a completely new respect for single parents now that I have been doing it with a partner!

And now our transition has brought us to being the parent of a young adult - 21. He was the oldest child, coming into our home at the age of 6. He has struggled the most so far with his transitions. That is not to say none of the others have struggled. I feel compasion for him as he tries to sort out getting to know biological family. It has been hard, and will continue to be hard until he is able to understand he will never get the answers he wants to hear. We wish we could take this painful time away from him, but we can't. We can be assured that God is there with him, as we pray for him constantly.

Friedrich Nietzsche, a 19th century philosopher, coined the phrase "what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger." How true this is. I made many choices growing up, many of them bad, but those choices have made me into the person I am today. I remind myself of this as I see my children transition to teenagers and young adults. I am anxious to see the adults they become.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Inspirations of Life

I have spent the last several days with my mother, who has been here visiting from Minnesota. She arrived shortly after I made my first post and it was fresh on my mind. As we spent time visiting, I thought of all the women who have been part of my life, and a part of who I have become.

I need to recognize my mom first, she was the first to meet me after all! She has shown me strength, perseverance, and (I'll admit it) wisdom. Our life together did not start off easily. She was a single parent, working hard to make a living. Many things would happen over the years that required every ounce of strength and perseverance she had. I often think of those times when I face stressful situations. While there are many other characteristics she possesses, I will stop with wisdom for today's blog. She has learned a lot along the way, yet she is careful how she offers advice. It does not come aggressively, or with a condescending voice. I have to admit, as my children have begun graduating from high school, I am not as good at this as she is. But I have a good example to strive towards. She has shown me how to be strong.

Every women should have an aunt who becomes a friend later in life. I am very fortunate to have one in mine! While we have been friends for years, never more close than the last several years. We laugh, and confide, and best of all travel! One year we went from one coast to the other. Most recently, we started a tradition of treking North. We head to Minnesota each July to spend time with my mom, her sister. We have had some great times exploring Minnesota and South Dakota. This summer she will make the trip with my husband along as well. We will undoubtedly have a great time laughing, confiding, and traveling! She has shown me how to live life to the fullest.

My grandmother has also made a huge impact in my life. She is 85 years old now, and she continues to amaze me. She is my oldest Facebook friend, and loves to keep track of her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren through stories and photos we all share on the site. She has lived through the depression, the loss of two brothers while they were still young, World War II and lived the life of a hard working farm wife. She raised three children on the fruits of her labor and touched each of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren in unique ways. She taught us all crafts, including the art of wheat weaving. She has shown me to not be afraid of anything, and to embrace new things.

These are only three of the women I have been lucky to have in my life. There are many more dating back to my high school years and some special teachers and life long friends that I made. And there are those from my present, including many amazing women at church and friends from work as well. Perhaps I will share some of them with you in a future blog.

How about you, what women have made an impact in your life? 

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Welcome to my new blog! I am very excited to share with you all of life's adventures. I really hope you will comment and share yours, too!

A little background on why I have chosen "The Autumn of Life" for my blogs name. I recently spent some time in a ladies class at church studying the different times of our lives and what all of those times entail. I was quite surprised to discover that I was entering the autumn of my life. This was described as the time that our children are completing high school and venturing out on their own. It is also a time where we as women really become comfortable in our skin. The time of raising children is waining, and we face re-discovering ourselves. While there are several shades of gray during this time, depending on each of our own situations, we all face this time. We have finished the spring (childhood), are completing summer (child rearing age), and have yet to see the winter. Since I am entering the autumn of life, I should hopefully have years to blog about before winter sets in.

I find this definition to be very accurate to my life, currently. Others around me didn't think I could be in the autumn of my life, and thought I was jumping the gun. I will say they were the ones that are coming on the latter years of autumn in their lives. As I stated earlier, where we fall at what age depends on our own situations. My husband and I like to say we cheated. We chose to adopt older children early in our marriage. We have been married for 17 years, and have been parents for 15 years. D, K, A, J, and C are now 21, 19, 17, 17, and 15. I was a stay-at-home mom for the majority of those years, returning to work when our youngest entered middle school. The plentiful volunteer jobs dry up when they begin higher level schools and I found myself with more time on my hands. And thus began the changing of the colors in my leaves. Areas of my life that I was quite content with became mundane. Many of my thoughts on life and how I thought I would spend the next 20 years began to change.

All this brings me to my new blog. I hope to share this time with all of you. From experience, I know I cannot be the only one going through similiar changes. No doubt, we will face different facets of life. But, I also know we will share many as well. By the nature of tackeling life, there will be many things covered as I write to you. I would like to share with you my experiences in child rearing, raising children that have been adopted through the foster care system, and helping them transition to adulthood. As some of them hopefully go off to college, I am finishing my first degree and will undoubtedly speak of that, too. I love to read, scrapbook, and take photographs and hope to share some of my passions with you.

I hope that you will join me as we face this new phase of life together!