the gift of heavy labor, sweat and more...

Sitting in::
on the front porch as the the sun comes up. It's been a week since I have seen my sweet little four year old friends. They will arrive in an hour or two and then it will be Barbies and baby dolls for the win.

Listening to the sounds of::
Quiet. The neighborhood is just waking up so for now it's quiet. Just me and the birds. 

The sun is::
Shining. Rain will be the story for most of the week, but for this Monday it's a beautiful sunrise and there is even a breeze for now.

From two years ago (2013)...I said smile. Courtney said "no". Jonathan D. Lenaburg said "please be done with photos for today." LOL! My children at their finest!
Courtney memory::
Today I was thinking about her smile and her sense of peace. She was always so happy, until she wasn't (see above). She was usually very content no matter what was happening. I want that sense of contentment. I truly do. Today my goal is to try and find it in the small things. My Courtney will help me. I have no doubt of that. 

only in Ohio...or PA...will you find these. 
Something beautiful::
Watching teenagers give of themselves for a greater purpose. This past week was awesome as I had the privilege to witness a group of 40 teenagers step outside their comfort zone and do some serious hard labor for those less fortunate than themselves. 

They did work for two different groups of nuns at their Mother Houses. They worked for the Monks at the priory. They also worked for the homeless, the less fortunate including a family whose mother is dying of cancer. They used shovels and hammers, pickaxes and sledgehammers, brooms and hedge clippers and scrubbed and cleaned until they were too tired to lift their arms. 

It was beautiful and exhausting all at the same time. They were so happy to do so. They grumbled for the first five minutes and then once they got the the worksite, they were all in. They worked together as a team and got the work done. It was amazing and I am so very glad I got to be their to witness it. 

Day One of WorkCamp2015
Something Stylish:
Most of the week I was in work clothes and each day brought another level of hard labor and filth. I have never been so tired in my life. It was a good tired though. A healthy tired. This morning I am in a shift dress. I love them. They are comfy, stylish and cute. Perfect for a hot summer day. 

What's on my mind::
I watched this video this weekend and it has given me much to ponder on. I have been slowly moving out of the fog of grief and deep sadness over Courtney's death, into the next phase of grief I suppose. There is a sadness that is with me 24/7. It doesn't overwhelm me every moment of everyday anymore, it just comes and goes with it's waves of deep emotions. I sit with it and when the tide passes, I move on. 

I think it's going to be this way for some time and I am OK with that. The greater issue is figuring out a purpose for everyday, my new mission. When I was watching this video, I realized that what I am struggling with is sloth. I feel kind of "meh" spiritually. When Courtney was alive, I had a zeal for life, a purpose for my day and a trust in God to provide. Somehow I seem to have lost that. 

I need to find it again. This week I had it for a few days. It was so wonderful to feel alive again, even if it was for a short time. These kids, they helped me see the joy in serving. It's what I am supposed to do. I know it. It's the "how" I am unclear with. We only have one life to live and I don't want to waste it. I know this is just a season and I need to be still for now as I work my way through it in my heart. It's there. I know it. I just need to wait upon the Lord to reveal it to me. 

This weeks print from the #summerofpsalms project from Kristin at Vine of Plenty just  spoke to me. Be still. He will tell me when it's time. 

Kendra at Catholic All Year has a fabulous post about the recent SCOTUS decision and how we move forward. Love her. Love her advice. Also check out Father Barron's piece on this same issue. Happy Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. 

What I am praying for:
for my sweet friend who is undergoing some serious persecution and alienation due to her beiliefs. I pray God stands with her and she feels His strength. 

+ for my sister who is going on a mission trip overseas. That she is safe in her travels and that the kids she will be working with will be open to hearing God's word. 

+ for friends who are trying to have another baby. If it be the Lord's will, that He bless them abundantly. 

+ for everyone who has a lost a child. That God comforts them and brings a smile to their face at some point this week. 

+ In gratitude for the teens who worked so very hard last week to serve those who are less fortunate that them. 

for my son and my husband who are both in the midst of transitions and change. They are not big fans of either. Really NOT big fans. 

+ for all the Mama's of special ones I know and love so much. For strength, wisdom, perseverance and understanding in the vocations of motherhood. You are never alone. 

+ for our finances. The budget is very tight as we begin to pay down the last four years of Courtney's medical/daily care debt that has been sitting on credit cards for some time. Right now, the focus is on one loan whose balance is $1,720.00. One payment at a time. 

+ for the church. It is filled with brokenness and broken people. For God's mercy and guidance.

+ for our pastor and his decision in regards to our new Youth Minister. That it's a good fit for our kids. God's will be done. 

+ for those battling eating disorders of any kind. That they may realize that food is not the enemy. The enemy is trying to twist something that nourishes into something that is evil.

+ for our country. That God may once again reign supreme in our lives. 

Adventuring in the kitchen::
Today, we have a potluck at church to say goodbye to our Youth Minister who is moving on to his next assignment. There will be mocha brownies, mac and cheese and cocktail meatballs coming out of my kitchen for the festivities. Yummo!!

Sewing with my Bernina::
working on a few baby quilts, some toddler dresses and a few other odds and ends. It's slow moving but we are getting there. I promise photos when I am done with something. 

This week will bring::
Tonight we say goodbye to Courtney and Brian as they head off to Austria with Franciscan University. Brian has been with us for 8 years. It will be a hard goodbye for sure. 

Then tomorrow I have a dentist appointment, yippee. Wednesday brings dinner with a friend in from out of town and then who knows. The calendar always has a way of filling out. 

:: giving thanks for
#2297 ~ #2319
* teenagers willing to step outside their comfort zone and serve.
* adult leaders who give of themselves freely to work beside, listen and counsel those teenagers. 
* for the men and women who have given themselves in religious life. May you be protected and loved by the Father of all LIfe. Thank you for giving so freely and loving so fully.
* for power tools. they make everything easier
* the gift of hard labor so I amy appreciate how easy my daily life really is. 
* for generous families who give over their home to house teenagers, with all their hot, dirty, sweaty stuff. 
* for Mama K and her crew who fed us all week long.
* for Brian and Courtney who answered the call to go serve abroad. You will be missed. Thank you for listening to God's plan for your families well being. 
* for our Youth Ministry. My kids rock.
* for Jerry and Jonathan. They make me laugh every day. I am so very grateful. 
* for extended family who loves no matter the circumstances. 
* the gift of a home and friends and family to fill it
* a hot meal every night
* the ability to work hard and not lose hope
* motherhood and all that encompasses
* four year olds and their imagination
* clean bathrooms
* folded laundry and an organized closet
* potluck dinner at church
* warm brownies from the oven
* topped with ice cream
* homemade mac and cheese, bubbly with cheesy goodness
* You my friends. SO grateful for you!

help pay off debt from caring for our beautiful Courtney  

Our current goal is $1,720.00 which will eliminate a small loan we took to pay for some of Courtney's therapy equipment that insurance did not cover. We have spent three years paying down. If we can raise this amount, we can pay it off and be that much closer to our larger goal. One thing at a time. Thank you so much for your help. 

My email has exploded with readers requesting I put the PayPal button back up for those who wish to help with our debt. The entire debt is extensive, approx. $71,000. It's a lot and will take years to whittle down. Anything helps. Anything. So, I will keep it at the bottom of my posts for awhile. You all have already given so much to our family. Our prayers are with you and we are so very grateful. We can never repay that kindness. So thank you...just thank you. If you would like our mailing address, please just email me at and I will send it.

Labels: ,