To Mourn with Those Who Mourn

Update: You can donate here for Tommy’s funeral:

More on Susanna and family tragedy:

When I found out about Susanna and the drowning, I was in shock and pain. Today I am just hurting and hurting so much for her. I have cried off and on and have little tolerance for the kids today… the small stuff, when something so big has happened.



My dear friend Susanna in Pennsylvania whom I have known for 7 years now has lost a very dear child today to an accidental drowning. His name was Tommy and he had a very special story I’d like to share first. His mommy found him in an orphanage in Pleven, Bulgaria. He was 16 years old but in a body of a 3 year old. The other children there were like this too as they were severely disabled and malnourished and neglected. The staff at the orphanage were so neglectful that they would only feed the children with a feeding tube. They never brushed their teeth or did the simplest care for them. Susanna had already adopted Katie from this orphanage to add to her large family of 13 or so children . Katie was on her deathbed a couple of years ago or so and is now thriving wonderfully. You wouldn’t believe her story or pictures. Susanna has raised thousands of dollars to help get as many children out of this orphanage as possible over the past 3 or 4 years. She has flown there several times and was a great influence and part of the director of the orphanage to be fired from her position. She has changed lives, many lives completely. But today her life has changed. Tommy, her son who she was absolutely heart struck over has passed away today. I am just devastated for her today. My husband and I cried when we found out the news today. This woman is a true mother to orphans and has the heart and devoted love of a Mother Teresa. We need to pray for her and her family. I know she’ll never be the same and it hurts me to think of the pain she is going through at this very moment. Anguish.

If you have it in your heart to send her a card about Tommy or send them a little money for the funeral, please do so. Their budget is tight and they live on a meager income. Their home address is on their website here: 

Thank you for your prayers for this sweet lady and her family whom we love. We are just heartbroken for them.


More on Susanna and family:

This Past Week


Baby Anna reading next to a sleeping dad!


Smoke from the Washington fires. I took this picture 3 or 4 days ago. I woke up to the smell of smoke and a haze in the sky and over the lake. We are probably 70+ miles from the fires so no worries here yet. DSC_0032

Hannah’s pretty face and pretty flowers she brought in for me. Little messy head!

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Like I’ve shared, we have some wonderful neighbors here. A neighbor who lives down the hill from us about 10 minutes away, let Matthew and the girls pick all of these apricots this morning. She’s a 90 year old woman who blesses all her neighbors with plums, cherries and apricots every year. What a kind woman and are we excited about these apricots!


They look perfectly ripe but they need a day or two before we start pitting them and freezing them. We have them in the screened porch area to help ripen them up. They are free stone so the pits come out in about 1 second. I can’t imagine how many pounds of apricots we have here. I won’t need to buy fruit for some months now. Thank you so very much Judy!!!

Look Who’s Eight Years Old!

Just look who’s eight years old! Elisapup! We sure love you. I like 8 years old… it’s a fun age and I can start doing more with you now. We’ll do more sewing this year and I will teach you how to type on a keyboard with Tux Penguin like I taught the older girls.  : ) Eight years ago they said my fluid was too low so they induced me. Mommy was not ripe as I was only 37 weeks along and so you would not come out. You turned around in me so they had to do a c-section (there must have been enough fluid for you to turn around). I was so taken by you that I took you wherever I went as a baby… even the grocery store. I couldn’t bear to be away from you for a moment.



You wanted a cherry cake. We got baskets of cherries from our dear neighbors… both of them. So, mommy made a homemade cake with cherries in the batter chunked up and homemade whipped cream with cherries on top. Yum.

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Oh my, you are looking older. I already see 9 years old here!


The babies don’t go down to the water but they do play in water on our deck on hot days. Here they are transferring water from one bucket to another. Leah and Matthew wanted to join in too.


Mommy’s salad: Spinach, tomatoes, purple cabbage, artichoke hearts, red onions, capers and avocados. Parmesan shavings and a homemade dressing… I just don’t feel deprived on this diet. I love it!!!


Beautiful, red cherries from our neighbors. Thank you so very much!!!


Our pretty flowers on our front door.

A Very Special Trip

I have many posts and pictures to catch up on. I think I will try to do a post a day until I catch up….

I just got back from a very special trip to Western Washington. I have a grandmother from Norway who just turned 90 years old whom I haven’t seen for years that I got to visit. I also saw my dear friend Missy who I haven’t seen for some years either. We were all going to go as a family but a few weeks ago when Matthew decided to take the twins for a ride to the post office to show them off (their first outing since moving here over a year ago), they got car sick all over themselves – both of them at the same time. We knew that if they couldn’t make it an hour, surely they wouldn’t last a one way, five hour trip. So, Matthew stayed home with the 3 little ones and I took Elisabeth, Hannah, Matthew and Leah with me.

We went to visit my grandmother first. My aunt Edith was outside waiting for us. I had not seen her in close to 20 years. She looked like she had finally aged. We hugged and then all went in to see grandma. I expected grandma to be frail looking and skinny. However, she was still stocky looking but she had aged quite a bit since I last saw her. We hugged and cried and cried some more. She gave the kids some candy right away to make them feel at home. We looked at pictures and talked and she showed us her little place that she loves so much. She sold her home of many, many years just last year and is very content in a nursing home now. It was a pretty classy place.

She then wanted to take us out to eat. She took us to a buffet type style restaurant and when we were finished, I could tell she was visibly tired. Exhausted completely. She wanted to go home and go to bed. It was only 5:00 or so. When we parted and I drove away, I realized soon thereafter that I had forgotten to take in my camera! I was so upset and heartbroken, I cried in a parking lot. I had been so excited to see her that I had forgotten to bring in my camera. I spent the night at my friend’s house nearby and called her in the morning to see if I could come to take a couple of pictures really quick but she declined. She was still tired and hadn’t gotten dressed yet.  : (  So, I have my big regret, my dumb mistake that we sometimes make in an emotional state. I hope she’ll still be here next year so that I can take a picture of her. If not, I have memories of her from child hood and that I can carry with me.  : )

Next we went to spend the night at a very special friend’s house. Her name is Missy and I met her while working in the Service Bulletin Group at Boeing in 2001. There were so many deep Christians that we worked with together back then that it was truly like going to church every day. It was my favorite place I had ever worked and I looked forward to going to work every day. Missy and I shared a little room together for our office. We got to know each other really quick. Back then she had a son and a daughter – her daughter was maybe 12 and her son was somewhere around that age.  My older daughters were 8 and 13 at the time. Missy had the softest personality I have ever met in a woman. She never spoke bad about anyone, was always so light and pleasant to be around. She had the sweetest heart and kindest disposition. Think Mary, the Mother of Jesus.

There’s another reason why I love her so much. It is because of tragedy. Back in 2005 she lost her daughter who was then 15 years old to complications that arose from meningitis that she had had previously. I remember going to the funeral and seeing my dear friend Missy with her husband and I can’t describe the pain, the aching pain I had for my dear sister. No one should have a funeral for their child… especially not my friend Missy who has nothing of a hard heart in her. Over the years, my pain for her has not diminished… because her pain has not diminished. DSC_0118

There was a time we just kind of slipped away.  Last year I felt an urgency to get in contact with her again. I didn’t want her out of my life. I left a message at her work place but she never got it. I looked up her name online and to my horrific shock I discovered that her son who was left had just died at the age of 25 in a car accident. I lost sleep that night… a lot of sleep. And I cried for her. I couldn’t believe it. I found her address online and wrote to her. We reconnected and talked about the hard side of life that we just don’t understand as Christians.

I finally saw her 2 days ago and it was like we saw each other yesterday. We had the most comfortable time there at her home. The kids had so much fun playing with her little creations that she puts on Etsy. She makes the most beautiful pieces of art… Wow! I hope that it’s okay that I put all of this on here Missy! Her art and jewelry making is her therapy and it gives her mind a good place of rest. I am so glad. She is so talented here. Anyways, she let the girls touch and handle hundreds of pieces of her items and with such ease. I couldn’t believe it. The girls were in Heaven just looking at all the pretty colors of everything.

In the evening she put us in our guest rooms that were so pretty with warm colors on the walls and the most comfy beds and bedding. In the morning she gave the kids some soaked oatmeal with almond meal and coconut flour and raisins with raw cows milk. Talk about spoiled!!!  : )  When we left the kids were waving their arms out the windows to her and calling her Jesus. It was pretty cute.

So, we then got to drive home and I took pictures of Western Washington through the Cascades and we stopped at a couple of fun  places – one with a train. I am looking forward to next year, I would love to make this trip once a year. It was wonderful!  DSC_0148


One of our stops on our way home. A fun play train. Oh, I forgot to mention that we bought some baby chicks and baby ducks on the way home that we had to haul along with us. The kids had so much fun looking at the little critters in the box on their laps in the car.


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Breathtaking beautiful that you can only find in Washington State.


Dad’s First Batch of Honey

Well, after 4 years or so dad got his first batch of honey… and a good one at that. He brought in over 2 gallons from his first frame. In about a week we may have some more. DSC_0094Pretty honey comb filled with honey. This is still capped with beeswax. DSC_0096 DSC_0098 DSC_0100Dad’s extractor. Our neighbor who is into bees too has a friend in Western Washington who no longer maintains bee hives who wanted to give away much of his bee equipment. Our neighbor shared that he knew someone who would be happy to take it off of his hands. He brought over a trailer full of boxes of hives with frames, a bee suit and this extractor…. all for free!!! What a blessing! Matthew cleaned up this extractor and finished it up with a cleaning with oil. It works beautifully. DSC_0105The little honeybee who doesn’t want to leave… DSC_0109Capping the comb. DSC_0112Glistening, golden colored honey. DSC_0119Daddy turning the extractor and the honey pouring out. DSC_0123 DSC_0127The finished product.DSC_0008Beautiful raw honeyDSC_0009Happy daddy. He loves his bees.   : )  We’re grateful for the honey they provide. This is fun!

A Moose and Her Babies in Our Backyard!

I am so excited to share this! We had a moose swimming in the lake last year… we watched him swim all the way to the other side. I didn’t have my camera with me. Tonight I looked outside of my kitchen window and saw this moose with her babies. I had to crop the picture so you could really see that it’s a moose, but it turned out beautiful. I’m sure she is on the other side of the lake already as it’s been about 40 minutes. Wow, a moose in Washington State and in our backyard. Incredible!!! DSC_0011

The Willow Trees

My husband and I were walking down the hill towards our house after our evening walk the other night. We both saw the same thing… how much more open the beautiful view of the lake and how much more open the home would look with the willow trees gone. We both knew that it would be the greatest thing that we could do on the outside of the house to help in the sale of our home. And we are all about selling this home so we can buy a home in full with no mortgage. So, my husband got his tiller combination wood chipper fixed nearby and started with the hardest tree first…. the one that wants to fall by the tennis court. DSC_0015

He had already started removing the tree when I took the first picture.DSC_0018See the view that someone can have when they buy this home? I personally love willow trees… especially on a nice farm, but for someone who wants a lake house, most people are going to want clean and open views. DSC_0023See how much room they take up? Anyone will be able to see the house so much more when they are down. DSC_0025Daddy doing some prep work and planning…DSC_0026

Oh, I didn’t like seeing my husband up here. I haven’t seen him do anything dangerous since we’ve had children.  : (  I was praying… DSC_0027Here he is making a bow cut in the tree. I believe he did the other side as well. He has fallen trees for many people in years past, but I sure didn’t feel good about watching him. I was so scared that he might get crushed under the tree. DSC_0036 DSC_0043Here’s the first tree down. It had started pouring while my poor husband was just finishing up. You can see how much it opens things up. I will take some more pictures once the area is more cleaned up. It looks great! Not only do we have no regrets, the results have exceeded our expectations. We are both looking forward to when the second tree comes down. It will truly open things up incredibly.