Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Highlights

And the winner is: JILL!!! She won the "wet pants contest" for this family gathering. Obviously she did not start out in these pants yesterday, she had to quickly change in the middle of a wild game of Loaded Questions. I, on the other hand, remained dry the whole day. Such fun.
Here is the grandchild lineup for Christmas 2008. Precious gifts from God.
Whoops! We're backing up to the day before. I spent most of the afternoon in the kitchen making goodies - which is why Don took this shot..... he doesn't see this very often! Just look at how jolly I look. No, really I was having fun. (Note: empty bottles on the counter are not wine bottles, but Mona Vie health drink. We are trying to feel better, but I think a cheap wine would make me feel much better. oh, well.)

And so it snowed again!!! Her hair is getting higher!!! The higher the hair, the closer to God. And look at that luxurious stole she is wearing. These porch knobs are giving me such a kick.

One of the highlights of Christmas this year was surprising my mom and dad by us 5 kids showing up all together and presenting them with a new flatscreen TV. I fixed dinner and we had a great family time! Thank you, Lord God, for this precious time. I will cherish it forever.
Left to right: Mary, me, Cindy, Mike, Gary. and of course dad and mom (Don and Donna)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Glimpses of my tree

Yes, I still have my skinny scrawny tree. It looks worse every year and then I start dumping ornaments on it like crazy and a miracle happens. Isn't it beautiful?!? This ornament reminds us what we're doing all this for, what we live for. (In the upper left corner you can see part of baby Jesus.)
Celebrate! with fa-la-la's and gloria's and jolliness. by golly!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Getting out in the cold

Baby, it's cold outside!!!
My feet walking in a winter wonderland.
This is my hand muff from my girlhood, so yes, it is practically an antique!!! I was so excited to get it from my mom and dad's house recently and took it to show Lily. The little poop wouldn't even have anything to do with it - did I just call her a poop? - really, that name goes to her mother and her aunt. They made sounds like "uh" "oooh" "ugh" "yigh" and that was a cue for Lily to remain cautious and stand back. Totally ruined my good time, but anyway, this remains near the top of my list of good childhood memories, keeping my hands warm in style! And Lily is not a little poop, she is my sweet precious girl. Look, Lily, isn't this cute? Look at that little tuft of hair and so soft!!!

Here is my holiday sweater: cute, huh? Most holiday sweaters are, let's face it, dorky!!! But not this one, right? right!

I did a random act of kindness today at the McDonalds drive-thru by paying for the person behind me. (finally got my nerve up to do it ) It was 1:30 or so and I thought, what could they be getting this time of day? One lady. coffee? I paid for my fries and coke, $2.12. Then the person behind me, $12.06. whoa!!! The mini-van she was driving should have been the give away, but I just dug deeper in my wallet and felt like a santa claus. It was hilarious watching her in the rear view mirror after that. I told the guy at the window to tell her that Jesus loves her. That was a real kick. I wish I had more to give away. It feels so good.
I don't mean for that to sound selfish.


Doug's memorial service was nice. It was a celebration of his life, nothing like the celebration he is having, but good enough for us earthbound creatures for now!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thinking About Doug

I have no idea why we have this picture of this picture. It might be something Don took when he was visiting his aunt a couple weeks ago. Just thought I would use it with today's post. I can't believe we have worked our way through another week already. Has it been 22 days since Doug last spoke? He is breathing on his own now. I need to get up to see him again. It's so hard to know how to pray. This morning I heard Joyce Meyer say we need to stop telling God what to do. And then something about using our pain to further His kingdom. It made sense, even though it's a difficult thing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Back to Doug

I have been wondering alot lately where Doug is. What is he experiencing? Mostly - has he caught a glimpse of Jesus? If he has, are we just trying to keep him here when he wants to go with his Lord? I don't know how else to pray except for God to move in His mighty way and for the rest of us to give Him glory. No matter what. And of course praying strength and faith for his family - no matter what. God, You are in control. Show me Your Glory.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


We all know James has had a lot of women in his lifetime of romance and adventure, but his all time favorite co-star remains none other than the beautiful voluptuous Floral Snickers! I believe she was up for an academy award for her performance in "Man with a Golden Gun", as depicted below. So tell us, Floral, does he really like his shaken, not stirred?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Miracle Time

We are praying for a miracle. Our brother in law has been in a coma since Thanksgiving day when he had cardiac arrest. Today the drs. say they are 98% sure he won't wake up. That means we are clinging to that 2% miracle. for now. But God knows best. He has a plan. He is in control. Praise be to God, for He gave us Doug.


Lookie here who walked in my door on Thanksgiving day. I guess the two older girls knew about it, since they picked her up at the airport! But it was a total surprise to me. Actually my grandkids and sons in laws also walked in with the girls - with Emily last. I screamed, then cried, then laughed. It was something!!! Doesn't she look good??? Oh my goodness. It was sweet having her here.

Friday, November 21, 2008

This Makes me Sad

Coming to terms with reality: Emily won't be home for Christmas. :(

This one's for Jen!

This post is for Jen. This is a notepad I have on my fridge and I wanted to share it with a kindred spirit. Sorry the photo is so bad, I really can't do technology. I don't know what I was thinking trying to pull this off. I somtimes wonder if I should have gone off to a convent instead.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Tender Thursday Evening

We visited my parents tonight. Lately I begin to miss them a great deal. It's strange, but I keep feeling pulled toward them. Our visits have been so good. When we hug and kiss goodbye, they won't let go easily. Our hands hold each other for an extended time and sweet words are exchanged. It's like we are circling around to another separation anxiety in our old ages! I love it and hate it at the same time. It is a challenging time in their lives and that is waking me up to trying to be aware of their needs and be there for what they need. Mostly to love on them. They are craving that most. Gripping for the hands and hearts of those they love.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Greenhouse Corner

The plants have moved in for the winter and guess where they ended up! I will sacrifice my tub just to keep them corraled and keep the mess contained. Last year I spent the winter getting dry needle-ly type leafy things all over my clothes and floor and all over the countertop, etc. You can imagine the sputtering I did about that. So we'll see if this works better. Jill, check out the Christmas Cactus on the left. Remember that scrawny stem you let us take home with us from your house last year? Would you like it back now???!!! I think it just needed some water and sun! ha!

Once a Marine, Always a Marine

Last night we attended the Marine Corps Birthday Ball at Longbranch in CR. It was interesting to hear stories of what these men went through for us. And the food was good. We didn't get to dance though because I couldn't pull Mr. Yakkity Yak away from his brothers long enough, but it was his evening, after all. He's not as lean and not as mean, but still a Marine!

Where the Wild Things Are

Last Sunday we visited High Drive to see Don's folks before they left for Arizona, so thought I would post a couple pictures of the wildlife we saw out there that day.
Here is a handsome species of man that we saw that day. And so loveable!!!
I think this dog's name is Cocoa, not sure. It's kind of a creepy dog, the type that thinks you like her when you really don't. Annoying little thing. Don's folks got her passed off to them and I guess they got kind of attached, even though his mom said no more dogs.

Example of some wildlife out at his folk's place. Usually we see deer or turkey or snakes or cows but not this time. This praying mantis was a biggie! Don't worry, Don moved him off the car before we took off.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A Strange Friday

My Friday was a strange one. As soon as I got off work, I felt this heaviness come over me that I can't describe. I drove over to Jill's and sat down at her kitchen table. She wanted me to spill my guts, but I didn't know what to say. She offered me a peanut butter sandwich, 2 or 3 times and I declined each time, but later I wish I had accepted. Sam and Max kind of cheered me up temporarily and when I got back in my car, I called Emily and talked to her a few minutes, but she was actually working thru her lunch time, so that was brief. Then I had to stop at Wal Mart for a couple things and there I ran into Laura and Lily. So within a half hour's time I made contact with all my daughters. God is so good. After leaving Wal Mart, I turned on the car radio and heard the song about " take more of me so I can have more of You" and it was the icing on the cake. It's what I needed to hear. But when I got home, I was so much looking forward to having a hot dog and guess what - no bread - not even a heel. So I just had a wiener dipped in catsup and mustard. Did I let that ruin my day? No, I just kind of wished I had taken Jill up on that peanut butter sandwich though!!!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

High on Life!

Boy, nothing makes me happier than putting that finishing top coat on a piece of artwork. Simply brings a smile to my face. I crack myself up sometimes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The nut doesn't fall far from the tree...........

Today was Caed's birthday. He is Sam's best buddy. So he had special things to do today, but he did not want to be an oak tree, so he chose Sam to take his place. Here Sam is covered with acorns - well - 5 acorns, but good sized ones! In the song the kids sang, the wind would come along and blow off another acorn until all 5 were on the ground. I tried to wait for Sam to look up before taking this picture, but he never did. He was too busy tending to his acorns. It's serious business being a tree. Good job, Sam!

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Here are some little known facts about me if you are bored and don't know what else to do with yourself but to read on:

I am deathly afraid of the water, but I love slides. So I have been known to take on some adventurous water slides, risking the unknown waters for the thrill of sliding.
I would like to be able to wear fuschia colored hair and multi-colored striped socks.
I like to sort my potato chips by pairing them up with like-sized chips, eating the smaller ones in twos first and working my way up to the largest.
I like to play music loud. (usually singing along, of course!)
I hate to cook and clean and love to paint and sew.
I love comedy, but once in a while desire a sci-fi.
I have 3 daughters who are my heroines, their husbands my heros, and their children, well, they are my reason to go on.

That's probably enough to digest at one time. There's a lot more, as I am pretty complex, and multi-dimensional, and deep, very very deep.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sam's Special Day!

It was Sam's share day/birthday day at preschool. He brought his Halloween costume to show the other kids that he is going to dress up as a fire fighter. Fire and fighter both start with the letter F, which is the letter of the week!!! So he was double cool!! Here he is explaining to his teacher, Mrs. Fink what the shield on his helmet is for and also what he might need an axe for. He also had a birthday crown that he wore part of the morning and got to be line leader.
Proud momma and little brother look on. Max now realizes there is fun stuff going on in this place and he wants some of the action real bad. See the double grip she has on him?!?
Ellie is raising her hand hoping to get called on by Sam. She must have a pressing question to ask him. Let me guess: "Where did you get it?" (gets asked 3 or 4 times during sharing time every time!) Ethan is watching me coming around with the camera. To the far right is Caed. He is Sam's best buddy. Their birthdays are a couple days apart and they can't seem to get along without each other!Here is Ariel, Scarlet, Quinn, and part of Luke. Scarlet and Quinn are my 2 favorite girls in the MWF group. They simply crack me up. When they come to the art table, they try to come together and we yak yak yak and giggle lots. They are so much fun. I love them.
Sam made it clear to us that today is his last day to be 4. Tomorrow it's on to number 5! Happy Birthday, Samuel Asher Brown.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Emily needs prayer

I am simply blogging to pass the time while waiting for my baby girl to call again. She is in the ER in Austin with a horrible headache gone out of control. They are getting ready to do a catscan on her now. It's 10:00 p.m. and it could be hours yet before I hear anything. Part of me wants to be packing my duds and hitting the road. My heart is aching, my eyes are swollen and burning, my stomach is tumbling, my lungs are heaving trying to keep breathing. I am talking to God and I don't even know if I am making any sense. Holy Spirit, intervene for me. I should be there for her, but I am not. I have asked Jesus to cover her with His sweeet love and comfort. They know one another so well and I take great comfort in that. She is not alone and scared. Time is dragging on and so I will try to rest, but. . . . with the phone next to me.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Em, this one's for you!

This blog is for you, Emily!!! I really do love this shirt. It is real comfy and it brightens my day. And let's face it, I'm weird. If I were in Austin, I'd surely fit in somewhere. But Iowa City gets me, I guess. Oh, and also it helps remind me of how to spell the word "weird" - I always have trouble with that word, because of the i before e except after c rule. But rules are made to be least some of them are. The best reason I like this shirt so much is it reminds me of you, Emily, as if I need something tie-dyed & XL to help me - you are in my heart. I love you!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jack and Lily

Here is my firstborn grandchild 12 years later. He is awesome. I love him.
Lily is a Hawkeye cheerleader ballerina.
No, wait, she is a Hawkeye cheerleader princess. Decisions decisions!!!!!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

THE BECKER'S - the girls in their Kutless shirts! Quintin was saving his to wear to school Mon. Of course, Trey was on Security duty Sat. night once again. He had to stop Don on his way in to look inside his sack of popcorn. yup, just doing his job.
THE MILKS'S - less Tim. Not sure where he went to at this point. (He too, was on security the night before.) Aren't they cute?
And last, but not least, the old folks!

A Rockin' Outdoor Weekend!

We took another road trip this weekend, this time to Charles City where my brother and his family reside. Again this year Gary was one of the main organizers of this event, a free concert in the streets of the city. Here was the opener - Brad Stine. I shot this just before I gave him a big hug and told him we love him! He is so dang funny.
This is Kutless. Or the lead singer anyway. It was hard to get a picture as it was dark and so much action. These guys are crazy maniacs. I had no idea they rock like they do. Check out the arms on that guy - that's muscle you see. They did a very rare thing for them - stopped the concert in the middle and had an "altar call" - talk about the presence of the Holy Spirit!!! Lots of people were saved last night! It was awesome.
And here is the rockstar Gretchen - doing her thing on Sunday morning in the park. What a blessing to hear her sing again and for another opportunity to worship with my brother & fam.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In Cincinnati

Don with his sons and grandson. That's 3 Donald Henry Berends's and 1 Daniel Henry Berends!
Here we are after eating dinner Sunday night - just before saying goodbyes.
Don with Brooklynne.
Donald the 4th, Ashley, and Samantha.

Birthday Boy

Maxwell Thomas was born one year ago. Isn't he a big boy now? I can't hardly remember wanting a girl, because he is so special to us. God is using him in awesome ways.
Here he is enjoying his cupcake - once he realized it was something to eat! mmmmmmmmWe love you, Max!!!!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hair & other silly stuff

Yesterday was cutesy hair - Today the windswept look! (and you two girls thought I couldn't do it!) You know, I kind of like the way this photo enhances my nose! And pay no attention to that washcloth hanging on my shower door - I forgot to throw it in the laundry last night!!! ok, control yourselves, girls. I am cracking myself up again. Better stop before it's too late.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Haircut Day

I just got my hair cut and once again I attempted to photo myself. Well, maybe you can get the idea in spite of my lack of skills. Below you can kind of see the sides and back. You know how cheap I am - I'm thinking a Cost Cutters quick cheap thing. Well, I go to Cost Cutters, baby, right next to Hobby Lobby. (If you go, ask for Morgan, and tell her the preschool art teacher sent you) She rocks. We had a blast, she is so funny, and the next thing you know, I was paying her twenty-something $'s. When I got in my car, I thought, wow, what just happened????

Monday, August 11, 2008


In the spirit of the Olympics, I have placed our flag in my workspace/tv viewing space. Doesn't it make you proud to be an American? (Be thankful we aren't from France, who said they came to the olympics only to smash the Americans! That doesn't sound very sportsmanlike! Guess we showed them though.) Crossed feet indicate I am waiting for something to dry before moving on to the next step so really I'm working.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Catepillar or is it Callepitter?

Depends on who's saying it, but anyway it's the reason my husband lets milkweed grow in our flower bed. It's so we can have guys like this come along and make themselves at home. This guy is awesome. We should name him. The Brown boys were here looking him over, so maybe I'll send them a call out for suggestions. (if they're anything like their parents, we'll get some doozies!!!) He is hanging head downward for some reason. I hope he decides to stick around for a while so we can see what happens to him!!!


My Aunt Mutz is 90. She amazes me. She looks like my dad, talks like my dad, has the same expressions and gestures. Although they hadn't seen each other in a number of years. It always intrigues me how much alike they are. Out of 6 siblings, Mutz and Dad are the only ones left. We asked her lots of questions like where did the name Mutz come from - and Dortz. No one seems to know. (they are Margaret and Dorothy). I guess my dad had lots of nicknames also - something to ask him about next time you visit him. I am thankful to have had this time with her. She is still a riot. And still very social and relationship oriented like she always was.


Here are just SOME of the wacky Quint cousins who were at the reunion last weekend. What a blast!
Here we are again playing the finger on the nose game - so darn funny - EVERY TIME!!! (sorry about my photographer's skills)