Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Birthdays, Booty and Boobage...

Warning: the content of this post may not be appropriate for young children and is definitely not comprehendable by grown men.

So, Friday is my birthday. Am I excited? No, not particularly. Am I depressed? Nope, not entirely. I feel But I am taking the time to notice some particulars that occur in a woman's late thirties that a mother really should have prepared a girl for. These particulars mostly have to do with the growing amount of "stuff" and "products" required for a girl to look good. I remember in my early twenties, I didn't even own a makeup case. Why? Because on a very special occasion I might put on a little mascara. You hardly need a case for that. Clear, creamy, non-wrinkled skin required very little maintenance and the occasional "glow" of pregnancy (which I experienced all too often) was enough to make an attentive husband comment on how young and beautiful he thought I was. Ahhh, those were the days. Now, it seems, really all of the sudden, my makeup case has become obese. Full of foundations and eye creams, any product that claims to reduce wrinkles, cover age spots and brighten those dark eye circles, believe me I own it. Makeup has become my standby, there is never a day without it. In fact, on the rare occasion that I am running late for work, and dare step into the operating room wearing only my own complection, I am immediately met with, "Are you okay? You don't look like you feel good."

How about hair? Remember those early twenties again with me girls...dark, natural locks, curled and styled with ease, certainly no need for color, foil, dryers and touch ups. Now, I have them scheduled on my calender like clock work, without them...lots of gray, and a mom who says, "can we talk about your hair?"
Next, lets talk about the "boobage" girls know exactly what I'm talking about. Gone are the days when nothing more was needed than a simple brasierre. Now, many years later, and five breastfed children, the girls are in need of a huge amount of help. Recently, I ventured out to my local "we can lift them and make them look good again" bra shop. I walked in and said to the sales clerk (she was about 18), "could you measure me? I seem to be having some, you know (wink) girl trouble." She was glad to help and hopefully the experience did not traumatize her so much that she will decide childbirth is not for her...but anyway, I digress...So, she measures me and then recommends I try the latest, very greatest, miraculous push-up bra. She brings it to me and the site of it was truly amazing. I think it actually has breasts in it before you even put yours in it! So, I try it on and am instantly sold. Like singing from the mountain top with my hands extended, spinning, sold. So of course I buy 2, drop a small car payment at the register and head home.

The next day, I get up and head of to work, with my girls at full attention. I must admit, it was somewhat anti-climactic, no turning heads, no wind machine blowing my hair as I walked down the hall with people staring and saying, "wow, who's that girl?" Nope, just pretty much the same old, same old, with the exception that by noon I had a whopping headache from having my girls jacked up so high. At lunchtime I had to take 2 excedrin and put on my sports bra...
We took a trip for Thanksgiving, and I got to spend the day shopping with one of my closest friends. When she got in the car, we laughed and visited, drank coffee and headed to the mall. "I want to get some jeans for my birthday", I told her. She was glad to go along. I went into my favorite store and started trying on some jeans. Each time I would emerge from the dressing room I would ask her for her honest opinion. "Those are too tight", she said. "Really?" I argued. "Definitely" she said, "they give you fold over booty". Ewwww....nobody wants fold over booty. But really, this thirty something booty is already folded over. It's not the jeans. A few more pairs and she chimes, "Those are it, they make your booty look gooood." "Really?" I asked, "are you sure?" "Yea" she said, "and where the heck did you get those boobs?" I then informed her about my new bra. "You need to buy a lot more of those", she added.
See? I told you it was miraculous...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Goodbye Uncle Dave...

Today we said goodbye to my Uncle was a lot harder than I thought it would be. My Uncle David is my dad's oldest brother. The firstborn of seven, he is also the first of the seven to leave us. He was 65 years old.
Norman David Sinclair was born to Helen and Harry Sinclair, December 4, 1944. A couple years later, Richard was born, then my dad, Glenn. Helen and Harry had very little money and soon they had lots of kids. Like many families during that time, they lived in a very small house and the older kids played a big part in raising the younger ones. When David was 14, he took a job as a delivery boy and used the money he made to help with the families expenses. When he joined the Navy at 17, he boarded a ship and sailed all over the world, serving his country and sending money home to his family. He married my Aunt Binky, and they had two sons. Brian and Larry were the joy of David's life. They lived in a small home but it was always bursting with people.
When I was a little girl, we often got together with my dad's siblings. At any given gathering we would have 10-15 of us grandkids running around together, lots of times these gatherings were at Uncle David's house. His laughter made you feel welcomed and comfortable. He always took time to talk to me, hug me and let me know he knew I would do great things. He really knew how to make you feel special. He just loved people. He also loved Jesus.
About six years ago, Uncle David started forgetting things. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and he progressed rapidly into an unbearable state of illness in which he didn't seem to remember anyone, even his wife. The sadness of losing the one you love to this disease is like no other, and watching the strength of David's wife and sons is more than just inspiring. I have watched those boys gently and consistently care for their mom, and I watched Aunt Binky care for her failing husband with dignity and unconditional love.
Today, as we layed him to rest, I was once again amazed by the love of our God. I watched through tearful eyes as six remaining siblings gathered to say goodbye to a brother. Laying aside differences to join in celebrating David's life. They remembered his generosity, his love of family and his love for his Savior. As the back of the car carrying David's body was opened at the graveside, I was moved to tears. David's brothers joined on either side of his sons to carry his body to it's resting place. As a bagpiper played, I thanked God for David's life and that through his death, these siblings were reunited and some very old wounds can begin to heal. David would have loved that...

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween preperations...

Well, as many of you moms can relate, preparing for Halloween when you have children can be more overwhelming than Christmas! Stores seem to get there pumpkins and bats out earlier and earlier, and this year I swear it was August when Rhett spied some Halloween decorations in a local store. "Oh, mom" he said, "we neeeeed to get ready for Halloween!" I reminded him that we were no where near neeeeeeding to get ready for Halloween. After all, I am a last minute type gal, who was raised by another last minute type gal, who didn't even let this gal TALK about Halloween until October 15th. This rule stood in my childhood home as law until I left home. If you tried to talk to mom about Halloween, she would say, "I'm sorry, is it October 15th?" Sad to say, I find myself expressing the same Halloween exhasperation with my own children. Usually it starts with me saying "Is it already October 15th?"

Anyway, last week I decided to take the boys out and get them some costumes. They are going to participate in a Halloween parade this weekend, and they get to march in their costumes through the main street in town and be judged for their originality. When I realized this was competitive, I became slightly more interested. With Brey and Keller being too old (according to them) to dress up for Halloween, that only left me with three to outfit. Immediately I started coming up with themed ideas that could win them the big prize. "How about the three stooges?" I suggested, rather impressed with myself. They just looked at me blankly. "It would be great", I said, and I continued explaining about Larry, Curly and Moe. I'm pretty sure one of them rolled their eyes at me, as the rest shook their head no. "Okay", I said, "Your cousin Evy is dressing as Dorothy, how about if you guys dress as the tin man, scarecrow and lion???" Again...blank staring. At this point, Keller put his arm around me, "Sorry mom, those are really good ideas though".

Finally, I gave up and we headed to the costume store. Standing in the aisle, staring at roughly fifty costumes, the chaos began. Rhett informed me first that he wanted to be "Mustard". "Really? You want to be a tube of mustard?" I asked. He nodded his head. We asked for the costume and thank goodness, they didn't have it in his size. Hmmmm....Rhett was back to the drawing board. Gabe was after anything that had to do with star wars, or clones, or transformers or some other "cloney" looking thing. After several attempts, we found something "clonish" (I honestly don't know what he is) in his size. He held it tight and began telling me all about all the other accesories he would be needing to complete his costume. This began sounding like the teacher in Charlie Brown in my left ear, because really all I could hear in my right ear was Aubrey. "Can I get this one?" he asked, pointing at the disgusting Jason guy with blood coming out his eyes. "No" I answered. "How about this one?" he continued, pointing at the Freddy Krueger costume. "Nope", I replied. (Big sigh from Aubrey) "Oh, how about thiiiisss one?" he asked pointing to some gross zhombie guy with his guts hanging out and his eyeball in his hand. "Nooo", I answered. He lowered his head and shook it from side to side. Rhett says, "can I be a sumo wrestler?" "Sure" I said and he picked up his costume and smiled. Aubrey looked at me with his mouth wide open. "How come he can be what he wants?" he asked. "Because, he isn't asking for something horrible and disgusting," I answered. "Now do you want to try again?" Ever the diplomat, Keller decided to intervene and help me understand what it was that Aubrey was trying to achieve. "He wants to be something scary, mom", he said, with Aubrey nodding behind him.

So, at this point I tried to remember that I am a girl and maybe this is something I just don't get. So I tried to find my masculine side...."How about this werewolf costume?", I asked, "it's pretty scary." He rolled his eyes, and again we were off and running. "how about this one?" he asked, pointing at the grim reaper. I just shook my head. "Aubrey, if you want to be something scary, you can be the werewolf", I said. He stood there looking at the werewolf costume for a few minutes, which was fine since Gabe was still going on about accessories, and Rhett was searching for facial hair to go with his sumo costume. "Mom, if I get the werewolf costume, can I put blood all over my hands?" he asked. "No" I answered. "Can the werewolf carry a bloody knife?" he continued. "No" I replied. "Can the werewolf be carrying a pistol?" he asked. "No, Aubrey, werewolfs don't carry weapons", I said, "that's why he has such big teeth". He just stood there looking at me. "Mom its just not scary enough", he said. So, we left the store with the clone thingy and the sumo wrestler, but nothing for Aubrey. I'm afraid he is a boy of little compromise. I'm sure that can be used for good when he becomes a man, but for now it doesn't seem to be helping him much. The parade is tomorrow and he is still on the hunt for a costume. Who knows he may just be going as a tween boy with a very unreasonable mother, hmmm...I bet there are lots of those :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Glamorous Life...

Well, I thought it was about time I took some time to blog about my career. For those of you wondering what my career is, if you look at this photo it is very easy to tell that I am in clown school!!! Just kidding, the photo is actually not a joke. This was taken today while I was at work in the operating room. I did not dress up special to try to be funny, this is actually the appropriate attire for the case I was doing today. Being an operating room nurse is not for everyone. If you are into looking your best, dressing cute and providing lasting memories for patients, the OR is not the place for you. As you can see from the photo, job requirement number one is self esteem!!

Being an OR nurse means you dress in dull all blue scrubs that fit pretty much like pajamas. It means you cover your hair every day with some freaky patterned cloth cap. It means you spend the majority of your shift with a mask on, so you get very good at talking with your eyes. But above all else, it means you spend the better part of your day behind locked doors with...surgeons. AAAAGGGHHHH!!! Like I said it is not for everyone, especially not the weak!!

Being an OR nurse also means that you get to do all the stuff nobody wants to think about, let alone talk about. It also means that the majority of your patients won't remember your name let alone your face. Some in my profession call OR nursing "thankless". We are the forgotten group, a group that holds an expectation for our patients. We're expected to make sure that everything goes "OK", they trust us to protect them while they are asleep, to ensure that their best interests are upheld, to respect their dignity and overall keep them safe.

OR nursing is far from glorious, but for me it holds great purpose. It isn't just my job, its my purpose, or part of my purpose anyway. The Lord has placed me in this role for moments I don't always understand. Many days I am tired, discouraged, depressed, stressed, anxious and just trying to make it through my day, but then when I least expect it, a divine moment is orchestrated by God in which I have a purpose. Many times, I am able to hold a hand, comfort a fearful soul or pray over a sleeping patient, and I am in awe of how much my Saviour loves me that He would allow me to serve Him, and have a purpose in His kingdom.

One particular day, I was readying my room for a procedure and the dr's brought my patient in. I hadn't even met her yet as this was a particularly busy morning and in our teaching hospital we are always bursting at the seams with students and residents of all sorts. I looked over at her and smiled (with my eyes of course) and then went back to preparing all of the equipment and supplies that were needed. As the doctors and residents prepared her, they discussed the different things they were going to do amongst each other. They began placing IV's and other monitoring equipment and somehow in my busyness I heard her. She wasn't loud, she wasn't even really saying anything, she just kind of sighed and rolled on her side as the staff continued to fuss with monitors and such. I walked over to her and noticed a tear rolling down her cheek. I knelt down so my face was level with hers and placed my hand on her shoulder. "Are you OK?" I asked her. She nodded her head, and the dr's asked her to hold still. They were placing a catheter in her back to help her with pain after her surgery. "I'll help you hold still" I told her. As I knelt on the floor in that operating room, she and I visited. So much craziness around us yet it seemed like it was only us. I found out she had raised five sons. She told me their names, their professions and the different personalities they had. I told her about my sons and we giggled at the coincidence :) Before we knew it her catheter was placed and I helped her over to the operating room table. As she drifted off to sleep, I held her hand and promised her I would take good care of her. I don't know if she remembers me, but it doesn't matter.

Being a nurse is a great privelage. To have access to people's lives at times of great vulnerability holds great responsibility. To be able to provide comfort, peace, care and love is crucial to a patients ultimate outcome. How true also is it that to be the hands and feet of Christ is even more crucial to a patients ultimate outcome. I am a nurse, but more importantly, I am a vessel of the Most High God. It really doesn't matter what our career is, it only matters that whatever it is, we are willing to submit it to Him, that all we do might show the love of Christ for His glory.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lifting My Face...

In my darkest hour, I felt Him lift my face. "I love you" He said. But how could that be true? How could a Savior, so perfect, love me? A wretched, sinful, disgusting, self centered, prideful, vain woman. I have always known His love, yet I took it for granted. Turned my back on Him, knowing that I truly knew better. I was so angry with could HE allow me to suffer? I have known Him since I was seven, and though not perfect, I loved Him. Yet He would allow me to suffer...why? So I took control. I decided I would make my own way. I would figure out my path, I certainly did not need Him anymore...and while I made my own way, and sinned my own sins, He waited, and He loved me. When my choices led me to the brink of death, He waited and...He loved me. And when I felt Him lift my face in His hands, I knew. I knew I had finally come to the end of myself, the place I needed to be in order to truly understand His love for me and my love for Him. A Savior who loved me so much that He would give His very life for me, and even after I became His, He knew I would stray, yet He loved me so much, He waited...and when I was on my knees, He took my face in His hands and whispered, "I love you and I forgive you."

Living in forgiveness is not as easy as it sounds, I sit with tears streaming down my face, two years later, still trying to figure out how to do it. The guilt overwhelmes me, takes my very breath away, and many times the enemy whispers to me that I will never be anything more than my sins. Sometimes I believe it. Yet, I know its a lie. I know that my Jesus paid it all, that His sacrifice is more than enough. That His blood was shed for me...what a precious blessing, for there is nothing I could do to earn His favor, only by His grace... But, oh, it is hard to heal...the thorn I am left with is all too real. Some days I am thankful for it, but most days I curse it. It will never leave me, and its purpose I do not yet understand.

The only thing I do know tonight, is that my Jesus loves me and somehow He will do mighty things through this woman. And so I submit, I seek and I wait, knowing that He is forever faithful...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Fall Fun!

Just a few fun photos from a trip to a local Jersey farm the boys and I visited last week. Johnson's farm has been a old standby in this part of NJ for many years. It is full of apples, pumpkins and corn this time of year, and in years past when we would visit my family in NJ, we would take a trip to this farm. We have many memories of hay rides, pumpkin picking, corn mazes and the petting zoo. When we visited last week we ran in to one of my aunts that I haven't seen in 17 years. It was so fun to visit with her and my cousins and catch up on all that has happened over the years. She was amazed at our sons and their height!! Anyway it was a really great day!
I'll try to post some football pics next!!!
God bless!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


This is my beautiful niece Evelyn. Last night my sis told me the most adorable story about her that I had to write it down. Evelyn is 7, and the youngest in my sister's family. She is like most "babies" of the family, she is quite sure she was born to help her parents raise her sister and brother:) I am sure some of you with a few children can relate. Anyway, she is very quick witted and very smart, and of course she has a beautiful name. Evelyn. We have come up with many nicknames for her, some are as follows: Ev, Evelou, Eveloony, loony, loon, Evelovely and so on. She takes it well, and often comes back with a suitable nickname for whoever is teasing her.
I have always admired my hubby's relationship with his nieces. He is always fun, always happy to see them, and always takes an interest in what is interesting to them. He is never cross, annoyed or too busy for them. He just loves them, and they love him. So that brings me to my story... Last night, my sis and her family were getting dressed for a photography session at their church for the church directory. My sis was running around the house with her hubby trying to get my nephew and nieces dressed nicely and still get out the door on time. (A difficult task for any mom) So the kids were busy dressing (which means putting clothes on and then changing them, and then changing them again, and again...) So my sis was periodically checking on them and when she checked on Ev, she was busy fussing with a necklace. Specifically, a Kitty locket. My sis told her she needed to be more concerned with her clothing then the necklace, but Ev kept insisting over and over that the locket was very important and so the clothes needed to match it and she had to make sure everything she had on coordinated with the locket. It was her centerpiece. My sis was getting frustrated, trying to hurry her along and really not having much time for the "locket fuss". Finally, my sis bent down to help her with the locket as she could no longer deny its importance in Ev's evening. When she opened the locket, my hubby's face was staring at her! Sis was surprised and marveled at how nice it was that Ev had a picture of Uncle T in her locket. Ev was a little embarassed, but told her mom that she had cut Uncle's head out of a picture of our family and placed it in her locket some time ago. Sis told her how sweet it was to have a special picture in her locket, and they were able to match the clothes and head out to the photography session.
On the way to the church, in the car, sis could hear Ev telling her sister Sophie, that her Uncle T is so, so handsome! I'd say little Ev has great taste!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Anyone still reading?

This post is an apology to my 2-3 loyal readers :) I am still here...I just wanted to let you know that football is in full swing, 5 boys on 4 different teams is running this mama ragged! I will have some football photos to share this weekend though so keep checking on me! I promise to get back to blogging really soon.

I wanted to give you a glimpse of my football schedule:
5:15 begin readying the boys for practice (this really consists of yelling, looking for pads, yelling, looking for helmets, yelling, looking for mouthpieces...
5:30 still searching for football paraphanalia...some kids falling out of the house on the way to the car carrying cleats and barefoot, gatorade in hand.
5:45 drive A, R, and G to the field for practice, drop them off and head up to the high school to pick up B from practice.
6:00 head back home drop off B and pick up K for practice.
6:15 head up to the field to drop of K for practice.
6:30 head back home to fix dinner for B, and say hello to hubby.
8:00 head up to the field to pick up A, R, and G from practice.
8:15 drop off kids at home.
8:30 head up to the field to pick up K from practice.
9:00 feed remaining children and hubby.
9:30 finish homework (which by the way in Nj is a ridiculous amount!)
10:00-11:00 put kids to bed.

If you're exhausted from reading it, I can relate. We do this four nights a week, and I have to tell you being a nurse in the operating room is the easy part of my day!! Oh well, its all surely worth it (?) Someday when they play in the NFL, they can cart me around!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Crazy Love...

I haven't posted in quite some time. It's not that I haven't thought of it, I really have many times. It's just that, honestly, I have been journeying through a season of change that has been overwhelming. It has been hard to gain perspective, hard to see through the fog, hard to settle my feet amidst the busy schedules. I haven't wanted to write about discouragement and disappointment. The Lord calls me to be filled with joy...but honestly, lately, I have been far from joyful. Seems I have been spending more time filled with anxiety and fear, searching for answers, and really just trying to steady myself. It wasn't working very well. Really, it wasn't working at all.
What worried me the most however, is that during this season, I felt a distance from the Lord. I was conscious of it, but felt it was out of my control. I was definitely worried about it, because deep in my soul I know I am nothing without Him. That I need Him for my very next breath, yet I found myself seeking Him less and less, and relying on myself more and more. I don't know if you've been there before, or maybe you're there now, but I know exactly where relying on myself leads to...a huge pit.
The beautiful thing about our Savior is that He is faithful to love us. He loves me even when I am spinning out of control, even when I am full of myself, even when I am depressed over the "distance" between us. So depressed that I wallow in self pity and wonder "where are you in this Lord?" I am reminded of the passage in Scripture where Moses is too tired to hold up his staff any longer. To summarize the story, Moses has to rely on his friend to hold up his arms in order to support the staff. This picture reminds us of the importance of lifting one another up, not physically, but spiritually. And I am sure some sisters have been lifting me up lately...
A few days ago, I was visiting with my mom. I shared with her the distance I was feeling from the Lord and she handed me a book. It's little and red and its titled "Crazy Love...Overwhelmed by a Relentless God" by Francis Chan. I have to tell you, it was a gift to me from the Lord. The entire book (and its just perfectly short!) is about being in love with Jesus. In fact it's almost a guide to being obsessed with Jesus. He has stirred my soul, renewed my strength, and guided my path. He has deepened my desire to live like the disciples, to be in love with my Savior, and to love others as He does. He has given me a purpose like no live my life a sacrifice to my King.
I want to leave you tonight with one of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Obsessed people are more concerned with obeying God than doing what is expected or fulfilling the status quo. A person who is obsessed with Jesus will do things that don't always make sense in terms of success or wealth on this earth. As Martin Luther put it, 'There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day'"
Thank you Jesus for your crazy love for me!
Thanks for the book, mom:)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Tubing on the Delaware...

Last weekend, we drove up to Frenchtown, NJ, and went tubing on the Delaware River. Not too far from where George Washington crossed the Delaware during Revolutionary War, the Syversons embarked on a white water adventure. I am sure George didn't have as much fun as we did!! We tubed down the river on a 3 hour float that included a stop at the hot dog stand in the river!! The boys thought that was soo cool!! We ate lunch and headed back out, it was great fun for all of us, lots of sun and cool water, not too mention many boys flipping out of their tubes and wrestling each other off of tubes...I didn't say it was civilized fun, did I?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Making Time for Memories...

Yesterday, I was driving home from work, thinking about how the Summer is flying by. So many times when I go to work, maternal guilt overcomes me like a tidal wave. It's amazing that things I never thought of before, I can now feel guilt over because I am working. Anyway, on this particular drive, I was reminded of the hundreds of times this Summer that Gabe has asked to go fishing. For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know we had a pretty huge move this Summer and as you can imagine, have been very busy setting up home in our South Jersey suburb. The really neat thing is, our little suburb has a cute little lake right at the end of our street. Most days the lake is complete with loads of geese, a few small rowboats and little boys fishing. Gabe, of course, has noticed the little boys fishing. He has asked almost daily and so far his parents had failed to deliver. So many other things to do, do I need to list them? I mean, work, groceries, housework, bills, errands, back to school stuff...just listing them is exhausting! So fishing has pretty much been, very close, if not at the bottom, of my list.
When I was a little girl, about 11 or so, we lived in a house right down the street from the park. For some reason, one Summer, I decided I was going to fish. I really am not sure why, maybe I should ask my mother, but no one in our house was anything close to a true "outdoors man". We didn't hunt, fish or camp growing up, I mean we did lots of other fun stuff, but just not rough, outside stuff, with bugs...or dirt. Anyway, I decided I was going to go fishing at the pond in the park at the end of our street. My mom thought it was a fine idea, so one morning I headed out with my spool of fishing line (no pole), a hook, and a few pieces of bread. I sat on this little foot bridge made of wood, and I lowered my line through the slats of wood on the bridge. I caught several "Sunnies" and "Blue gills" and was extremely proud of my success. I had so much fun, I made this a regular part of my Summer days that year and on one particularly successful day, I decided to put all of my fish in a bucket with some water (probably 10 or so "Sunnies"). I carried my bucket all the way home and struggled up the stairs to my front door with my reel, leftover bread, and my bucket of fish. I was met at the door by my mother, who heard me coming. "What do you have there?" she said. "I caught some beautiful fish, mom", I answered, "and I need to get an aquarium to put them in...quick!" I will never forget the gentle smile she gave and the instructions that followed, that ultimately led, of course, to me returning the fish to their home.
This morning, when I got up, I decided to take Gabe fishing. After breakfast, I told the boys we would be taking a fishing trip to the lake down the street. Gabe's eyes lit up immediately. "Really?" he asked, eyes beaming. "Yes", I said, "let's get some bread and see if any of your brothers want to come with." And so we did. Four, of the boys and I headed out and later T joined us. The boys had a great time casting and catching fish in the lake. Rhett even caught a small turtle. I took such joy in helping them and also just enjoying them. It brought me such joy to watch them help each other bait hooks and remove fish. Sometimes their dad would tease them when they acted squeamish about taking the fish off the hook. "Are you really gonna stand there while your mother takes the fish off your hook?" he asked. I don't need to tell you, I didn't get to touch any more fish after that. One fish got particularly fiesty when Aubrey and I were trying to take it off the hook. He jumped back from the fish as it flopped around. This followed with a lot of teasing about the rare "NJ spike fish", a deadly South Jersey breed, we told them. I don't think any of them believed us though.
We headed home as the morning turned to afternoon, and Gabe asked me to promise we would come back after dinner to fish some more. Sure enough, after dinner, he was in the kitchen as I was cleaning up. Fishing pole in hand he said, "Ready Mom?" Just he and I headed out this time, and when we got to the lake, the sun was setting and the ducks and geese were skimming along on the top of the water. My uncle was fishing there too (very seriously), he saw us and asked us why we were carrying bread, "are you hungry?" he chuckled, as he baited his hook with some fancy, big, fake, wormy looking thing. We smiled, and Gabe said "Nope, we're here to catch fish." I baited Gabe's hook and he casted. Long story short...he caught three fish in ten minutes! Suddenly, only Gabe was chuckling. Hmmm....:)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Business...

This picture cracks me up! The story behind it goes something like this...We have moved to the great, over-regulated state of NJ. This means that anything one needs to accomplish that seems simple, will be extremely, ridiculously complicated. For instance, registering 5 kids for school in the public school system. Before we moved here, I readied myself, collecting and organizing documents that I knew would be needed for registering the boys. Birth certificates, immunization records, proof of residency documents, our family tree, our dogs family tree, a stone from Mt. Olympus and a drop of my very own blood. (JK about the blood!) Anyway, all this to say, I thought I was prepared...I was wrong. So, just one of the many hoops I have been jumping through has led me to the pediatrician's office...many times. Each one of these visits have been a funny story all by themselves, but I thought I'd surmise them for you.

The first visit was for Brey. Height and weight first, to which the nurse responded, "Are you sure he's fourteen?" (6'2" and 200lbs.) "Yep, I'm sure, I was there." I responded. Then we go back to a room where he is told to dress down to his boxers and the dr. would be in shortly. He looks at me and rolls his eyes. "Are you serious?" he says to me. I just smiled and told him he should "man up" and dress down. The dr. came in, examined him and told him he needed three shots. He got those, in the midst of multiple adolescent eye rolling episodes, and we were out the door with our file full of needed paperwork for the high school.

Brey had lots of horror stories for his younger brothers. I didn't pay much attention to his tales of horror, and two days later it was Keller's turn. Again, height and weight, and then the "dressing down" This tween also looked to me longingly to save him. When the dr. arrived, he and Keller chatted about bicycle safety and nutrition while I smiled pleasantly. I am sure Keller thought that the conversation might distract the dr. from the actual examination part of the visit, but he was only left disappointed when the dr. asked Keller if he would like me to leave the room. Keller nodded his head, looking at me with puppy dog eyes as if to say, "take me with you!" I left the room and when I returned Keller was preparing for his three shots. After getting his vaccinations, we left the office, paperwork in hand for the middle school.

Keller shared much of the same horror stories with his younger brothers but provided much more detail and exageration for them. Two days later, it was the time for the three youngest to have their physicals. We got in the car and drove to the pediatricians office and when we got out, I noticed much foot dragging on our way through the parking lot. Heads were low, faces were pouted, and the self pity in the air was thick. "What's wrong guys?" I asked. "Why do we have to go to the dr.?" they whined. "Because staying healthy is important" I answered, "and the school says you have too!" I couldn't help but throw in! Aubrey and Rhett walked into the office and sat down, but Gabe, our youngest, grabbed my hand with much urgency, right before we entered, "Mom", he whispered, almost panicked, "Keller says that the dr. is going to check out my Business! I DO NOT want anybody checking out my Business!!" Of course, I became hysterical. This marks the first time I have ever heard the reference "my Business". When we got in the office, I whispered to the three of them, "is that what all this pouting is about? your business???" They reluctantly nodded their heads. "do you know how much 'business' these dr's have checked? this is no big deal!" I said. This was followed by some more "man up" language that I am beginning to get good at:)

Finally in the dr's office, the three boys got this wonderful pediatrician who chatted with them about what it's like to have 5 boys in a family, and what career plans they have. The conversation was both amusing and heartwarming. To hear them talk about their futures was just so neat. Two of the boys said they wanted to be missionaries, Gabe said he wants to be a "crabber". "Oh, have you been crabbing?" the dr. asked. "Yea, once" Gabe responded. "Did you catch any crabs?" the dr. continued. "only one little one that escaped through the net", he answered, "But when I grow up, I'm going to be really good at it!" Pretty funny stuff. The other amusing aspect of the visit was the dr's questions about how we had 5 children. hmmm....
anyway, this was followed by questions about grocery bills, peanut butter, milk, bread, sleeping arrangements, the square footage of our home, and on and on... If you're thinking "what does this have to do with physicals?" you are not alone. Finally, the dr. admitted that he was fascinated with large families since he had been an only child. Oookkayy... Well the answers bills? high. Peanut butter? about a jar a day. Milk? a gallon a day. Bread? a loaf a day. Sleeping arrangements? lots of boys together. Square footage? 1400. All these answers and more may appear on my new reality show...ha ha, JK!!!

In the end, every one was vaccinated, weighed, measured, examined and Business checked. All is well with the Syverson boys and they may even be able to go to school!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Old Friends...

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to witness some pretty spectacular things. First of all, our oldest son went to wrestling camp. What's spectacular about that you ask? Well, we just moved from one coast to another, and signed him up for wrestling camp at a large university in PA. He is going all by himself. Not knowing anyone there, this 14 year old kid, walked in, set his stuff down and said goodbye to his parents. His determination still surprises me. He has more guts than I have, I can tell you that. So, leaving him there, I got a small taste of what the upcoming years hold for me...more letting go, a little at a time. Not easy stuff, but I have a mighty Savior, who holds my hand every step of the way. The greatest part of leaving him there, was that after he unloaded his stuff in his room, he and I found a private spot, and prayed together. With a heart of gratitude, I tell you there is no more precious moment than praying with your child. As I write this, he is still at camp, wrestling his little heart out.
The other spectacular moment came when T and I got to reunite with some old friends. After dropping off our son, we met up with some buddies of T's from USMA. One he hadn't seen in many years. Dan, Anthony and Thane (all pictured above) met each other when they were just 18. All had left home, and traveled many miles from friends and family to become plebes at West Point. They were assigned to the same company, and the same room, and quickly they formed a bond that is much stronger than much else I have ever witnessed. Since I have not attended the Academy myself, I only have stories of what goes on there, on which to form an opinion. But something really extraordinary happens there. When you arrive, you are literally stripped of everything familiar to you. Whatever you were before you got there, means nothing after you get there. You stand in your black knee socks, trimmed gym shorts and white tshirt, and you look exactly like everyone else. Daily you receive screaming and spitting in your face. You're demoralized, insulted and given tasks that are designed for you to fail. Determined to succeed you rely on the only things you have left...yourself and the ones who endure beside you.
Many times I have listened to stories told by my husband and his buddies that are hard to listen too. Why? Because building great leaders is not an easy or attractive process. It requires things many of us are not willing to witness, let alone endure. Military leadership is something we just expect, we don't really understand what it takes to achieve. But these guys know exactly what it takes, and they have it. But what is really amazing is that after all of the years since they met, its as if they have never been apart. The loyalty and friendship that the experience created is like nothing I have ever seen.
When these three men had the opportunity to see each other, they made it happen. Each of them set everything else aside, traveling many miles so they could reunite. We sat together in a restaurant and it was as if no time had passed. They laughed, interrupted each other, finished each other's stories, smoked cigars and I just got such joy out of watching them. They have a bond that none of us (their wives) can understand, but we love them for it. These guys were trained to always look out for each other. Even though only one of them is still in the Army, it is not a lesson that applies only to the Army. To them, it's life long. Kids, careers, miles and life may physically seperate them, but they remain comitted to one another in brotherly love and loyalty.
Anthony (in the middle) just got back from Korea. He's been reunited with his family and they are embarking on a new phase for his career. Dan (on the right) lives close by, so he and Thane will get to see more of each other. He introduced Thane and I 16+ years ago. I remind him every time I see him, of how grateful I am. Old friends are so unique, they know what we used to be and they love us and accept us anyway...that's pretty huge!
Oh yea...I forgot the best part...whenever my husband gets together with any of his old friends, they all say the same thing..."Thane, you look exactly the same as you did 15 years ago!" (very true, btw) So, when we got in the car, I said to him, "How come all of our friends say you look the same as you did 15 years ago, but none of them say that about me?" He answered, "Because honey, you don't look the same as you did 15 years ago...your hair is much smaller now." (also true!)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Thorn. . .

So when you read the title of this post, what comes to mind? Some, I would guess, know exactly what it refers to, while others may think maybe this is a funny little post about something one of my boys did to the other. Well, there isn't anything funny about "the thorn", there is something quite painful about it, as the name implies, but ultimately there is tremendous joy and reassurance in having one. I don't want to simplify it, because it is really quite complex, I just want to share some of what the Lord revealed to me about a story many Christians are familiar with.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7, Paul writes about "a thorn" that the Lord gave him. The verse reads: "To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan, to torment me." I find this verse extremely revealing. I don't know about you, but I think Paul was a pretty inspiring man. As far as Christians go, he has me beat by miles. He was not only chosen by God to do great things, but he received revelations, preached the saving message of Christ, and lived a life dedicated to His service. He penned multiple passages of scripture, the very Word of God, and remains a well known role model to Christians today. Again, I can't speak for you, but that's certainly not me. Yet he says he was "given a thorn". The obvious question is "why?"

Many times when I heard or read this passage, I assumed that Paul's thorn was some physical impaiment that he wanted to be delivered from. But Scripture doesn't actually tell us what the thorn was, and I believe there is good reason for that. But Scripture does tell us Why. Paul received the thorn, to keep him from becoming conceited or proud. Wow. The other thing that's interesting is that Paul says he was given a thorn by God from a "messenger of Satan". So he understands that God allowed Satan to torment Paul with "the thorn". Why? Later in verse 9, after Paul explains that he pleaded with the Lord three times for deliverance, the Lord responded with: "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness". So because of Paul's thorn, God's power was made perfect.

So, why doesn't the Lord, through Paul, reveal what his "thorn" is? I believe its because if we knew what the thorn was we wouldn't see the application for us. We ALL have a "thorn". I can't speak for you, but this concept is huge to me. I know exactly what my "thorn" is and I am sure as you are reading this you know exactly what yours is. What was revealed to me today is a much greater lesson. My God loves me so much that He gave me a "thorn". My "thorn" reminds me of my weakness. It keeps me humble. It brings to mind that without I am nothing apart from Christ. It "pins" me to my King. But most importantly, it makes His power perfect.
I am actually thankful for my "thorn". The knowledge that my God wants to keep me empty of myself so I can be full of Him, warms my spirit. I don't want to be rid of it. It's presence perfects His power, and with His power, He will do great things.

I know Paul didn't think he was worthy either, that's exactly when we can be used most.

Thank you, Lord, for my "thorn"!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Finally Here!!!

I am sure many of you have been waiting with bated breath, wondering "where are those syversons?" Did they make it? When they got there, did they have everbody? Did they decide to set up house somewhere in Iowa? Did Becky break her fingers? Did they run out of snacks? or gas? Well, here finally, all of your questions will be answered. And then some. . .

We arrived really late Friday night and pulled right in to our new house. There was a homemade banner on the door, and we went in and checked it out. Within minutes the welcoming committee arrived and I thought the kids would wake the whole neighborhood greeting each other. It was a huge relief to finally arrive and be able to get out of the car, and stay out of the car. The dog was very relieved as well, although he is still acting somewhat mental and it may take some time to see if he fully recovers. ( his baseline was a little crazy already ) Our coastal weather has definitely been left behind, and the heat and humidity remind me very quickly of my childhood summers. It is so surreal to be living here. I don't know how long it will take to really sink in. After spending today, unloading the truck and unpacking boxes, it still seems like this is someone else's life. It is so much fun to watch the kids enjoy their cousins, and explore their new surroundings. We have a nice yard with lots of trees and the neighborhood seems welcoming. It is really weird to be down the street from my sister. Several years ago she told me that Clayton, her son, had started praying that his cousins would live down the street. Sarah reminded me of this just a few weeks ago. The Lord hears the prayers of His children.Not much more to add tonight, since I am exhausted and still have quite a bit of unpacking to do tomorrow. One funny from the last day in the car. . . Gabe and Aubrey were riding in the back of the car for several hours. They weren't playing video games and they weren't watching movies, they were just quietly playing together. I could hear them making plans for a 'battle" they were going to have when they got home. They were working on something but I couldn't see what it was because I was driving. When we got to our house the boys got out of the car. They had their toy swords strapped to their bodies and belts holding other various weapons they had made in the car. Upon closer examination, I realized that they had taken a huge tub of hand wipes I had in our "snack basket" and pulled them out one at a time, and tied them together making various ropes and belts. They had their "weapons" strapped to their bodies with hand wipes! Pretty resourceful really, they must get that from their dad!

Thank you all for all of your prayers, the Lord is good and provided for our every need as we knew He would.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Day 4. . . Are we there yet?

In the sport of running, there is a term called "hitting the wall". For all of you non-runners, the term represents the time in the race when your muscles are absolutely depleted and your body says enough. I remember all the literature and trainers when I was getting ready for my marathon, always preparing you for the dreaded "wall". Well, today these cross country travelers hit it, and we hit it hard. I decided today that running my marathon was acutally easier than this drive. So unfortunately, I don't think I even have the energy to relate anything amusing. Not that there wasn't anything humerous today, there certainly was. But the day was more full of tears than laughter.
It's amazing to me how much you can think about and process when you're stuck in a car for five days. In some ways it has been good. The Lord and I have worked out some overdue stuff and I have had lots of time to actually listen to the boys. I can't remember the last time I spent this much concentrated time with them, and it is great to see how different they are. In a family this big it is easy for them to be overlooked in the daily business of suburban life. They don't know any other way for a family to function and at times on this trip they actually look surprised when I ask them about something and they get to tell me about it. I guess that is both the benefit and the drawback to growing up in a big family. . . it's never all about you.
So today we did some visiting and a lot of complaining. We comisserated together though and there is comfort in that. At one point today, I think it was somewhere in Indiana, I was driving and listening to music. My oldest son was next to me and he reached over and took my hand but said nothing. He was watching a movie on the laptop, he never even looked over, he just held my hand. I noticed how big his hand has gotten as he held mine. It didn't last a real long time, but it meant the world to me. Adolescents are so funny, trying to find themselves and figure out who they are. I am learning to really cherish the moments when he reaches out to me. I am stunned by how quickly he has grown up. While we were holding hands, I was remembering the day he was born. His dad and I couldn't believe how small he was, his little butt fit right in the palm of my hand, yet now his hand overwhelms mine. He is becoming a man, and a mighty one at that. I cannot wait to see what the Lord intends for him.
The rest of the day, was spent mostly resolving squabbles. Mild ones, thank goodness and at one point there was a full blown wrestling match in the back of the car. It was pretty funny. . . in retrospect that is. I do have to leave you with a few funnies noted on today's drive. Thanks to all of you who have been following along and praying for us this week. It is much appreciated.

Gabe: (with a glasses case clamped to his ear) "I don't want to sing alone!"
Rhett and Aubrey: Rhett: "Is bigfoot a man or a woman?"
Aubrey: "he's male"
Rhett: "how can you tell?"
*I think this conversation was in regard to a character in a video game they were playing. Still, it worries me:)
Keller, Aubrey and Rhett fighting: Brey: "you guys are so immature"
Keller: "Oh yea, well you are soooo mature"
Rhett: "Is Ohio IN Iowa?"
Aubrey: "Mom, is Aubrey short for something?"
Mom: "No, why?"
Aubrey: "Can we shorten it to Aub"
Mom: "Oookay."
Aubrey: "How about Aubster"
Mom: "What's wrong with Aubrey"
Aubrey: "It just doesn't sound tough enough, How about Penske?" (moving truck company:)

Gabe road with T today and gut his very own can of "turkey chew" because he needs it for trucking. (if some of you find this disturbing, its okay, so do I)
Gabe: "Mom, how do you dink a submarine full of blondes?"
Mom: (reluctantly) "I don't know, Gabe, how?"
Gabe: "knock on the door!" (crazy laughing)
Mom: "Do you know you're blonde Gabe?"
Gabe: "I am?"

Good night from Dayton, OH!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cross Country Adventure, Day 3. . .

Well, tonight's post is from DesMoines, and I have to tell you this blogger is pretty beat. But if I don't write these down now, they might get lost in my mind with the rest of this cross country trek. So, before we get to the fun stuff, T and I had a seriously surreal reunion with some friends today in Lincoln, NE. T had a roommate his plebe year at WP, that lives in Lincoln. He hasn't seen him since they graduated, so he got this wild hair that he would call him on our way through Lincoln and see if they could hook up. . . he called him and he met us for dinner tonight. Such a neat thing, they visited just like no time had passed. The bonds formed during T's time at WP always amaze me. It is unlike any other friendship I've observed. There is tremendous loyalty that exists between cadets that lasts a lifetime. It is a pretty cool thing.
The other surreal thing is that I got to see Lucy and Connie in Lincoln, NE!! Is that freaky or what. My coastal friends visiting their dad in Lincoln, ran up to meet us and say goodbye. It meant so much to us. God is so good. . . all the time.
So our day started this morning with everyone loaded and ready to go. . . again. The mood was much less enthusiastic as the boys are growing as road weary as we are. The following are just the ones I can remember tonight:

Gabe: "Mom, Keller keeps saying I love Sydney"
Mom: "Keller, stop saying that Gabe loves Sydney"
Gabe: "But I do like her mom"
Mom: "Ok, Keller you can say Gabe likes Sydney"
Keller: "Mom, Gabe is snickering at me"
Mom: "Gabe, stop snickering at Keller"
Gabe: "I'm just smiling at him"
Aubrey: "Mom, the dog is really upset today"
Dog: panting and looking pathetic
Aubrey: "I think he's trying to warn us about something"
Mom: "What do you think he's warning us about?"
Aubrey: "I don't know"
Mom: "Well if he's going to be a dog that delivers premonitions, he's going to have to be more specific"
Aubrey: "Are you mocking me?"
Rhett: "Are we still in Nebraska?"
Keller: " We have to drive exactly 11.25 more hours today to stay on schedule, mom"
Rhett: "When we get to NJ will Auntie Sarah still be 3 hours ahead of us?"
Brey: "What is that awful smell?"
Everybody: "Who did that?" (lots of moaning and pointing)
Mom: "We're passing a dairy farm, boys"
Rhett: "Is the east coast right after Ohio?"
Gabe: "I don't understand why everybody thinks I am in love with Sydney"

The dog has officially developed "PTSD". Everytime I catch the rumble strip with the car, all 100lbs of him comes leaping over the back seat. Trust me, that's a lot of dog to hurdle over the seat. Thank goodness he has Aubrey, the dog whisperer. . . Oh yea, one more tidbit. You know you've been on the road too long when you pull off the interstate and before you've even told them why you're pulling off, they start yelling, "I'll have a #7, please!"
Good night, all!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Our Cross Country Excellent Adventure

This is just to serve as a brief update on our family's trek from the Pacific to the Atlantic. I am sure some of you are wondering how its going, so I thought I would take a minute before I hit the sack in Cheyenne, WY, to relay to you some "funnies from the road". . .

For those of you who don't know, two trucks (one towing a car and all our stuff) and the other loaded with 5 boys and one very big, very confused Chesapeake Bay Retriever. T drives the moving truck, with one boy as the "trucking buddy". Today the buddy was Gabe. The other car holds me, 4 boys and the mutt. The "funnies", of course, are from my vehicle:

Brey: "Who farted?"
Rhett: "Are we in Nebraska yet?"
Keller: "Somebodies feet really stink?"
Rhett: "I can't wait til we get to Nebraska, cuz that's right next to NJ!"
Brey: (eye rolling)
Aubrey: "Mom, the dog is really upset, I think you're driving too fast."
Keller: "Who farted?"
Rhett: "Are we in Wyoming?"
Keller: "Mom, do you have another snack basket cuz this one's empty."
Aubrey: "Mom, the dog is panting really hard, I think he was in a car accident with the family who owned him before us. . . (petting the dog, now) When you ride on those rumble strips, it brings him back to that day he might have been in the accident with that other family."
Dog: "Ha, ha, ha "(looking pathetic)
Keller: "I'm not kidding, whose feet stink like that!"
Brey: (eye rolling, while texting someone)
Rhett: "Do you think we'll make it to NJ tonight?" (note: we're in WY!)

I could go on and on as we have already driven 1400 miles and the above snippet is only about 10 minutes worth, but alas, I must get some rest. You know how truckin goes. . . hittin it hard tomorrow. Wish me luck, I should have a lot more material tomorrow night:)

Happy trails!!

Monday, June 29, 2009


It seems like it was literally yesterday that my sweet husband sat across from me in our favorite restaurant, held my hands in his and told me that he thought we should move to NJ. He asked me to commit to praying with him about what the Lord would have us do. And so we sought the Lord's plan for us together. One of the sweetest gifts the Lord has given me is a husband who is wise enough to seek the Lord's will and committed enough to follow it once it is revealed. It only draws us closer to each other when we seek his calling as a couple for our family.
And so the story goes, we sought Him together, and together we felt the Lord's calling to go. One of the moments that is so poignant to me is a Sunday not long after that first conversation. T and I had been praying about moving but had not yet discussed our intentions with anyone. As we walked in to church late (yes that sometimes happens with 5 kids), John, our worship pastor (and T's buddy) was preaching about how serving the Lord should "cost us something". His prayer that morning was "let it cost me something". . . wow, I had never thought about that before. That had never been my prayer. But this morning the Lord spoke to me, these words pierced my heart, and suddenly it became my prayer, "Lord, I want to serve you above all things, I am willing to lay it all down for you, nothing is more important to me than you, let it cost me something."
In the weeks that followed, I thought and prayed on those words every day. I thought I had it all figured out. T and I both had great jobs we loved. Our jobs provided well for our boys, we lived by the beach (which I had always dreamed of) and we were able to afford to do lots of fun stuff with our kids. So I was sure that "letting it cost me something" meant for us to give up our jobs, our house and some stuff. That certainly seemed costly enough, right? The funny thing is the closer we got to leaving, the less difficult it seemed to give up jobs and stuff, and eventually I started thinking I was really good at giving up stuff because it really wasn't that hard for me. . .
So maybe, unlike me, you have already figured out that giving up the stuff wasn't supposed to be costly, it was giving up the people that is costly. That's the part that is hard, that's the part that still hurts.
God is so good. He delivered us to the Oregon Coast when we thought all was lost. When we were without hope, we held on to Him. . .together, and He delivered. He surrounded us with so many of His people that spent this last year loving us, encouraging us and discipling us. They became such an integral part of our lives that I can't believe its only been a year. It seems as if we have known them a lifetime. The "cost" of saying goodbye to them has been more painful than I could have imagined. It has left a void that only He can fill. The tears have been plentiful, and they have not yet gone.
So what now? Oh, I know. . . hold on to Him and He will deliver. . . Praise God!

Thank you all for your love, we will never forget you. . .and bound by the Spirit, we abide in Him, forever.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


My mother cracks me up sometimes. That's one of the things I love most about her, she is extremely funny! Listening to her tell a story, is truly something everyone should get to experience. So this post is about my mother getting ready for my hubby to come and stay with her while he job hunts in NJ. It all started last week when I called her and told her that he would be coming there and interviewing for some jobs. She got so excited. "He'll stay with us, right?" I could picture her immediately tasking my dad to help her make the bed in their guestroom, smoothing out the fresh sheets, fluffing and arranging the pillows, and making sure he would have enough drawer space in the dresser. All the while, talking quickly with excitement, justifying to my dad why the pillows needed to be just right. The reason? I know you want to's because she wants him to know he is loved.

My mom has always sought out the "little things" that are important to someone she loves. She delights in little things ("chatchkeys" she calls them). But they really have a way of making one feel very special. Whether it's a small waterfall that she knows would go perfectly in your bathroom, or a coffee mug that reminds her of you, or a "bedazzled" blouse that she thinks brings out your eyes...the list goes on and on. This quality she has is one I admire and try to achieve. I think it is very reflective of our Savior's love for us. So different is each one of His children, yet He loves us enough to know our names, to know our likes and dislikes, to care for our needs down to the tiniest detail. How amazing! I know when He answers a prayer of mine, I feel so special to Him. That's because I am.

One more funny thing about my mom. Getting ready for T's visit, she called me many times. "What kind of soap does he like? What kind of soda does he drink? Does he like 2% or 1%milk?" Every time the phone rang, I would look at T and smile. After he arrived at her house over the weekend, he called me. He told me how great his room was and how my mom had already gotten all of his favorite breakfast foods ready for the morning. Later that day he called me from the car in between his interviews. After visiting on the phone, I said, "You probably need to go and get some lunch before your next interview." "Nope," he answered, "Your mom packed me a cooler, so I'm gonna sit right here and eat my sandwiches, my beef jerkey, my chips, my cookies, my peanuts and drink my favorite sodas."

I'm wondering if he'll come home or just tell me to meet him there!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

From Pity to Joy In Less Than A Day!

Wow. Have you ever just been completely knocked off your butt? Relax, I'm not referring to any alcohol related incidents. Have you ever just been going about your business, looking at the world through your tiny, little window, when suddenly something just knocks you over? That JUST happened to me! OK, so I'll explain...I have spent the day throwing a pity party. I have pushed through focusing only on my little segment of the big picture, when suddenly, with no warning at all...the Lord got involved. Oh yea, some of you know what I'm talking about, others are going..."Huh?" I'll explain further...

So, T is interviewing for jobs on the East Coast. I am home with the boys, working, packing and overall feeling quite sorry for myself. (Although I didn't notice that last part until the Lord got involved!) Last night, I prayed that the Lord would provide a good job for T. This morning I prayed that the Lord would sustain me while I am here alone. Later, I prayed that the Lord would strengthen me so I can get everything done. Oh, somewhere in there I prayed that the Lord would provide a good job for me, Oh yea and that I wouldn't get sick, and that I need this, and I need that and me, me, me... Can anyone relate here? So eventually my pity party ended in some tears in my office, and I decided to take my party home and feed the kids, and then it I was reading a recent post from a terrific sister in the Lord, I got goose bumps. And then that swelling up in my heart that comes from the Spirit said to me, "Don't you know, none of it is about you?" I was immediately humbled by the sense of purpose the Lord has given me since He rescued me...It's about HIM.

In that moment, everything lined up for me. All the griping and whining about all that I have to do, doesn't reflect HIM. All of the crying, worrying and complaining doesn't reflect HIM. And all of the anxiety over the minor details of my life does not reflect HIM. If I am not reflecting HIM who am I reflecting? Oh yea, me! How nauseating, I mean do you ever just get sick of your own self? I know I do. But the really great thing is Thank God the Lord gave me His Spirit to gently bring me to my knees. He is always ready to forgive, restore and set me back on path He intends for me. The path that leads others to Him. Because that's what it's really about right? Even in my trials, I want others to see joy and love in me, not because I'm good, because HE is good. Have you ever met someone who speaks of the "Lord's will" and how they are seeking it, or living it, yet their head is down, their mouth is down, and they despair as to how they will ever find a way to do what He has called them to? If the Lord has called, then there is joy in the calling and He WILL make the way. I don't have to worry about the way...I just need to be a reflection of the One who prepares it.

So after I was knocked on my butt, I shifted to my knees...Oh Lord, you are so patient with me, you know I will fail yet you still find purpose in me. My heart is willing, Lord, and I know you are faithful. I'm gonna get back up now and joyfully serve. Bring it on!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Where to Begin...

It has been a long time since I posted and boy has a lot happened! I'll start with these pictures from our weekend trip to Idaho. Thane's 20 year high school reunion (can you believe it!) was last weekend so we traveled over with kids in tow for a visit with their grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins...whew! Thane's parents have a home on acreage a ways out of town and this weekend they babysat all 12 of their grandkids (all under 14!) while the kids (us!) attended the reunion. The kids had so much fun with their cousins, sleeping on the porch in sleeping bags, hunting ground squirrels and getting really dirty. They were utterly exhausted every night! The adults got to visit with old friends and spend time with family we had not seen in a while. It was fun for everybody. Us "coasties" even got sun burned! (So that's what that bright orange ball is...I thought it looked familiar!)
On a completely different note...we are getting ready to move...again! We are awfully excited about taking our family to the opposite coast, and relocating to NJ. We are going to be neighbors with my sis and her family! The kids are looking forward to living near their cousins and grandparents. It will bring lots of changes for our family but we look forward with great anticipation towards the blessings the Lord has in store for us. Never before have we felt more at peace in His hands then we do now. What a gift to have a loving God who knows our names and goes before us to prepare the way.
Well, there you go...big news, I know. We are in for a busy month, preparing for our trip and finishing up lots of things at work and at home. Can't wait to get there and surf in the Atlantic! Do they have sharks there?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Surfing...well, sort of...

Last week, our boys started "surfing 4H". Never heard of it? We hadn't either. But it is a pretty cool idea. The boys get surfing lessons, complete with wet suit, booties and surfboards. They were pretty excited about it. Thane decided we should join them, since neither of us have ever surfed (is that a word?) Anyway, so he "strongly encourages" me to join them. I believe he said, "Your boys want you to go surfing with them." Or some other guilt inducing verbage. So, I throw caution to the wind and decide I'm in! So, we head up to the surf shop on the beach to get outfitted for a wet suit. Now, let me just share that where I grew up, going into the ocean does not require a wet suit. In Jersey, you pull on your swim suit and head into the water. The ocean is fun and warm, and when I was growing up we spent many weeks of many summers, in the ocean. So the concept of a wet suit was very daunting.

It took quite a while to get the suit on. I know some of you are laughing. But I think it is important to note that a girl would want to take care of any figure flaws she is concerned about, before donning a wet suit. I mean ...somebody should have helped a girl out here! That sucker is tight! So after about an hour (okay a little less) I come waddling out of this dressing room looking like...well, ridiculous! The boys were all excited about their wet suits, completely convinced they looked more muscular in them. My farm boy, husband also seemed undaunted by the wet suit, actually he looked good...really good! Oh, sorry, I digressed...

So the next thing we get is this HUGE surf board, and now somehow I am supposed to carry it on the 1/4 mile walk to the beach. Now, I'm no sissy, so I pick up my surf board and head out. The coastal wind blowing hard against my surfboard as I'm walking, made my journey much more difficult. But none of the boys were complaining, so neither was I! We finally made it to the beach and we got a quick lesson on the sand. I can't really tell you what the instruction was, because it started out with the word "riptide" and I don't remember much after that.

So the instructor gets done instructing, and Thane picks up his board, looks at me and says "Let's go honey!" Then he begins running into the surf. I just stood there, freezing in the Oregon wind. "Come on babe, " he yelled as he looked over his shoulder surprised I wasn't behind him. "Nope", I said...not going. Thane stops and comes back to me. "What's wrong?" he asked. "I don't want to do it," I explained. "Riptides, sharks, wind, cold water...I don't know, this just doesn't sound like fun." He encouraged me to try it, reminding me that I had a huge advantage over the other surfing Oregonians. "You grew up in the ocean," he said, "You love it!" That was all I needed. Man, I love that about him. He always knows exactly what to say to me. So off we ran, into the Pacific Ocean to learn how to surf. We had the best time! We each got up on our boards after several waves and took turns "high fiving" each other. The boys had fun too. It was really a good time, until....I got nibbled by a great white shark! (Thane says it was just a charlie horse but I am sure I saw a fin!) SURFS UP!!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

My Sweet Nephew...

Well, today was busy. We ran a race this morning with our boys in Newport. It was lots of fun and very wet. Thane and I finished ahead of them and then we got to watch each of them cross the finish line. We stood in the rain and cheered for them one at a time as they finished. As they approached they were looking up to find us waiting to hear us yell their name. As I stood there, cold and wet from a typical Spring day on the Oregon Coast, my heart was so warm. What a blessing...five boys, one at a time, running with their friends, racing to the finish with determination and joy. I hugged them one at a time and told them how proud I was. I told them they finished because they were Syversons, which I also told them was Norweigan for "guts" (not really!)

As I sit here tonight, I am reminded of a boy with more guts than any I have known. May 6th is the anniversary of my nephew, Glennie's, death. The Lord layed him on my heart tonight, because he has a story that needs to be told, and he leaves a legacy that is a testament to all who new him. Left behind is a mom and dad with an aching heart, but a strong faith in our Savior, and I am reminded tonight that they are still in need of prayer. Because the loss of a child lasts a lifetime.

Glennie was born in 2002, he was my brother Glenn and his wife Amanda's first child. He was a beautiful baby boy and his entrance to the world was rather familiar. Two loving parents excited to become a family of three. They brought him home, fed him, loved him and nurtured him. They thanked Jesus for him. When he was six months old, he was diagnosed with a genetic disease, called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Type 1. None of us had ever heard of it, but we have come to know it very well. SMA is a nueromuscular disease that causes children to lose their muscle control. They are completely mentally and socially appropriate, but cannot move. The disease is progressive in nature. At birth, Glennie seemed perfectly normal, but gradually he was unable to lift his head, couldn't stand to be on his belly and then became unable to move his arms or legs. Eventually the disease progressed and Glennie was unable to breathe without the help of ventilators and biPap machines, he wasn't able to eat without a feeding tube. But he was always able to smile and had more joy in his eyes than I have ever seen!

Glennie's struggle was heartbreaking to watch. His parents had difficult decisions to make on a daily basis. They always weighed the information the dr's gave them and fought to choose what was best for Glennie. He lived 20 months, and then he went to be with Jesus. I will never forget the last time I saw him. He was hospitalized in Philadelphia, and I flew out to see him. It was Christmas and he was in the hospital again. Glenn and Amanda were there and I visited with them as I played and talked with little Glennie. His eyes lit up when I spoke to him, it still amazes me how much he communicated with his eyes. He loved to watch Sponge Bob, and there we sat watching Sponge Bob, the night before I had to leave to fly home. I kissed him that night, and told him I loved him. My heart ached as I boarded the plane the next day for home.

Glennie died that Spring, May 6, 2004. I remember feeling so broken hearted for his parents, yet relieved for baby Glennie. You see, Glennie never got to walk or run. He never raised his arms to hug his parents or skipped and played like other toddlers. And all I could picture that day was Glennie running into the arms of Jesus. It is a testament to Christ, how many lives were touched by this little boy. I miss him so much yet I have joy in knowing I will see him again.

So I guess this brings me back to where I started. How much greater the joy of a small boy, crossing the finish line, to the arms of a loving Saviour, who knew exactly how his life would be. I know He welcomed Glennie with the word's "well done" to a faithful little servant. O Lord, we miss him. Thank you for the hope you give us in Christ Jesus!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Puberty and Other Funny Things...

So my dear Aubrey will be eleven in a few days. He has started taking a special "health" class at school, about growing up. He calls it "puberty class". It has been pretty amusing. He brought home the note from school requesting his participation last Wednesday. We talked about it and I told him he could attend them if he discussed everything he learns with his dad and I. So on Thursday, he comes into my bathroom in the morning and tells me he needs deoderant before he gets dressed. I obliged him and he went to school. On Friday, he informed me that he had needed a more manly smelling deoderant and he wanted to make sure I knew he had pimples. He hadn't even had the class yet!

So yesterday, I got home from work and he was sitting at the counter. Brey, our oldest, was in the den and Thane wasn't home from work yet. "Mom", he says, "I had my puberty class today and it was really confusing." I asked him to elaborate. "Well, first they showed us a drawing of a man," he said. "Okay..." I said. "Well, the drawing was a naked man, mom", he said. "Uh-huh", I raised my eyebrows. "I am sure you didn't see anything you didn't already know," I said. He laughed and then asked, "How do the egg and the sperm get together?" I stopped in my tracks and smiled. My fourteen year old in the den is laughing hysterically and at the same time my husband walked in the door. "Let's ask your dad", I said. Aubrey repeated his question and my husband answers, "I don't know Aubrey, let's ask Brey!" Brey responds, "I don't know either!"

Now, I don't want any of you to worry...I did tell Aubrey about the birds and the bees and I had to dismiss my husband and oldest son from the room because they were laughing too hard. When I finished talking to him, he fell off of his chair onto the floor, saying "Ohhh, Mom!!" It was pretty funny. Thane and the older boys always make fun of me because I talk to the boys about this stuff. Boys are so different than us girls. They don't want to talk about anything and we want to talk about everything! So, when it was time to go to bed, Aubrey asked if he could ask me another question. "Of course, " I said. "What is a sanitary napkin?" he asked. Trying not to giggle, I asked "What do you think it is?" He responded, "I think it is one of those special napkins that has hand sanitizer on it that you use before you eat." Wow, I can't imagine what he'll learn tomorrow!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Please check this out...

If you are reading this you must check out the following site: For the next 2 days you can listen to the song "Unredeemed" by Amy Perry. The words are printed there also. Take the time to listen to it. It may just change your day!

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Man...

Well, you knew it was coming eventually, the post that is all about the man, the myth, the hubby. He's all I can talk about, think about, write about right now because he's been gone all week and now he's home! It's amazing how much a girl can take for granted. With five boys and two full time jobs, lots of things get overlooked around here. It was good for me to have a week to take notice of the things I never even realize need to get done that he just silently takes care of.
One morning, I got the boys off to school (which is a job in itself!). They get on the bus and I am trying to leave for work and I realize the dog is looking at me. Oh yea, something Thane takes care of. And how about the trash? The cars? The math homework? The clams we caught over the weekend? Yep...all Thane's. So, this week I got a lesson in what it's like to be dad and mom, and I didn't like it very much. But my lesson was about a lot more than just chores and responsibilities that I don't want to have to do.

Thane and I met in January of 1993, it is one of my favorite stories...
Thane was a cadet at West Point, and I was in nursing school in Philadelphia. Thane's friend Dan was dating my friend Peggy. One Saturday night, Peggy asked me to go to the local pub with her and Dan, "He's bringing some of his friends from West Point. They always ask me to bring girls." she said. Hmmm...I wasn't interested. I told her so, and she told me where they would be in case I changed my mind. Luckily, I did. So later that night I walked across the street from my apartment in center city to "Doc Watson's", our local student hang out. When I walked in I quickly located Peggy and Dan sitting in a booth with 3 other guys. I walked over to their table and was introduced to the 3 cadets sitting with them. Finding none of them particularly interesting, I made polite conversation and decided I would make it a short evening. After a few minutes of visiting 2 guys made their way over to our table. They had been playing pool upstairs. Peggy made the introductions and I am pretty sure I never even heard his name. I don't remember anything she said actually. All I remember is him. To this day he remains the most incredible man I have ever laid eyes on.
When the evening was over, he asked me for my phone number. I gave it to him and he headed back to West Point promising he would call. I went home to NJ that weekend and told my parents I had met the most amazing man. "He's from Idaho", I said. "Like, the West Coast?", my dad asked, worried. "No, you know, Idaho, in the middle of the country," I answered. Dad quickly responded, "That's Iowa, Becky." (Geography has never been my strong suit) I waited counting the minutes, hoping he would call...thank goodness, he did. The next weekend he invited me to West Point to watch one of his friends wrestle. I drove up, so nervous to see him, and as I waited for him in the parking lot, I saw him walking towards me in the long gray overcoat and hat. He was the most handsome man I had ever seen. I was completely taken by him. And it wasn't just the way he looked. He had a manner that was so different. He was so strong yet his spirit was so gentle.
Well, to make a long story short, four months later we were married. It has been almost 16 years and I love him more this day than I did the first. I didn't think it was possible to love him more, yet every day I do. It is amazing when we are so young and in love, we really have no idea what love really is...what marriage really is. Thane has loved me through so much. Yea, he has loved me in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, but it is so much more than that. The bad has been really bad and the good has been really good. Five boys and many states later, we're still loving each other and still learning about love.
Thane is a true blessing from the Lord. That is how I look at him now, my gift from God! How thankful I am for him. No one warms my heart more than he. He is my best friend, my closest alli and my soul's companion. When he is away, a piece of me goes with him. I am truly thankful for every day that I get to be his. When he got home tonight he brought me a gift. It was a necklace with three stones. The two clear stones are joined by a blue one. To me, it represents the Lord centered between Thane and I. As long as He joins us, we are forever one.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Trials, Tests and Praise...

Oh my goodness, it has been forever since I have written anything! I'm sure many of you have forgotten about me or become so frustrated you wish you had forgotten me. Hmmm...let's see some excuses? Well, I can think of many but why bother listing them. The truth is I have basically been in a "funk" lately. Many times I have thought of writing but haven't seemed to be able to find the right words. My "yellow friend" Bryce (who is not yellow anymore!) had his second surgery last week and then had another due to complications the next day. What an ordeal for this young man and his family. He was hospitalized in Portland which placed them all far from home. I went up to visit him after his surgery and was just heartbroken to witness the struggle and continued uncertainty. I visited with him and Kaylee in the hospital room for awhile and then headed for home, feeling completely helpless.

This seems to be something I wrestle with a lot lately. Watching Bryce go through his surgeries and tests, has caused me to contemplate the same old thoughts. I don't really wonder why people struggle with hardship anymore. When my sister was diagnosed with brain cancer that was the only question I asked. Why? Why does a beautiful. loving wife and mother who only loves Jesus more than her family, have to face such pain and uncertainty? After weeks and months of asking this question, I began to rage at my Savior. I don't know if it was even a conscious decision. It just came over me, I was so angy at God. You know, now it's hard even for me to write that, let alone admit that I felt it and that I lived it. But there are lessons to be learned from "falling away". The enemy loves to use the circumstances of life to wear us down and cause us to curse our God. How heartbreaking it is when he succeeds and we give in to the very nature of our flesh. That was me. Thinking that somehow I didn't deserve to have a trial, that my family shouldn't have to suffer. It became an awful downward spiral that sent me searching for my own answers and finding my own way. What an awful pit...

I have learned tremendous lessons since then, because my Savior is an expert at lifting us out of our own self-created pits! The lessons are endless, but one of my favorites is the one from Romans 8:28, that the Lord will use all things for good for those that love Him. That is one that requires some faith. I was sure that some of my circumstances could never be used for good, but slowly I am discovering that indeed He can use them. What is interesting is that illness, tragedy and hardship don't escape any of us. What we do when faced with those circumstances says much about our faith. Unfortunately, when mine was tested, I failed miserably. But I wouldn't trade my lessons for anything. Probably because when you learn them the hard way they tend to stick. But watching Bryce has taught me much more...Bryce never asked "why me?" instead he asked, "why not me?" He found joy in his struggle and considered it an honor that he would be tested. In all of the moments I spent with him and Kaylee throughout his illness, all I heard from him was praise for our Savior. He shared the love of Christ with everyone who crossed his path. He praised his Savior through the rain, the wind and the hail. He stood strong knowing that even if the path led to his death, he would bring glory to God with his very last breath. His testimony takes my breath away. I am amazed at how much this young man has taught me about loving and serving God.

While I was riding in the car with Kaylee one day while I was visiting, a song came on the radio. The song talked about the trials of life, how unfair they can seem and how desperate our flesh is to cling to this life. In the desperation, the writer says, "I know my Lord is sovereign." Don't we always say that? But do we really know it? Is it written in our hearts? I filled up with tears listening to Kaylee sing it with the radio, because she lives it. The words came easy to her as they do to Bryce.

When I got home from the hospital that night, I sat with Thane and cried. I shared with him my fears about my sister's illness that seemed to somehow come crashing back in after caring for Bryce in the hospital. As I cried, he held me and as we sat together, the Lord comforted me, saying..."I am Sovereign. No matter what, I am always there." My deepest desire is that when my trials come again and I am tested, let me be like Bryce. Lord, let me stand in faith, a testimony to your love and a vessel for your Glory!