Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Right now I have a sick little boy sitting on my lap. His main comfort is having me mostly to himself, or to at least be able to touch me and know I'm here. He's been whiny and needy since Sunday. I slept through the night with his sweaty head resting in the crook of my arm. My 2 yr old sees my tied up hands and preoccupied mind as permission to dump every board game, toy box, and laundry basket while overflowing the bathroom sink and changing clothes countless times. Lunch was a do-it-yourself (again). My shower was a whole 2 minutes leaving my skin barely rinsed and my hair unwashed. School books sit on the counter, neglected by the teacher. Appointments are cancelled. My kids are shouting for attention. My house is crying for order. I'm fried.

A tired, frazzled mom. Yikes!
Then I think about the sweet and oh, so sad letter I received last week from our Compassion child Joyce. Along with her colored picture was a note telling us that her mom just passed away. My heart is broken for this precious child of God who is now an orphan at age 6, the same age of my energetic, independent son who wants nothing but his mommy when he's not feeling well.

Perspective changes perception. My selfish feelings melt away to compassionate love. Though I may sometimes feel stretched to my limit, I am thankful for being wanted and needed. I am blessed.

Compassion International is an amazing ministry that is focused on meeting the basic physical and spiritual needs of children in poverty. Our sponsor child has been a blessing to our family for 2 years. Find out more about it HERE. The best $38 you will spend each month!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Home for the Holidays

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love hanging out with my family. God placed me in the all-time raddest family ever. 

I have the funniest brothers you will ever meet. They win entertainer of the year awards in my book. A chipped front tooth 20 years ago is evidence of how far they will go to make me laugh, right Joshua? They will also do anything for me, like make a detour during Christmas shopping to pick up my wayward van or bush hog a field for this tractorless farm. They are the best! (Their wives are the cream of the crop as well.)

Sharing a bedroom and secrets for 18 years, you will never meet two closer sisters than me and my Jody. We are twins born 51 weeks apart. I miss the days of never ending slumber parties when we would often talk until the wee hours of the morning. Some nights when teenage heartache would get me down, I would ditch the bottom bunk to sleep on top beside my sister who would comfort me with made up fairy tales casting me as the heroine, turning my tears of sadness into tears of laughter. She is the creamer to my coffee, the ink to my tattoo, she's the string to my guitar and the ring around the moon. :)

If I was to partner up with any of my 3 siblings for a game of Pictionary or Charades, you would for sure lose. We have too many inside jokes for there to be any competition with "outsiders". 

My parents have taught us about love and sacrifice and most importantly showed us the path that leads to the Cross. They are the Real McCoy! :)

Like any family, we are far from perfect. But the love I have for these wonderful people and their families lets me see past flaws and imperfections, which just deepens my fondness for them. 

This was the first Christmas we have all been together in 5 years. It was a great day! 

The world's cutest grandparents!

We had a fantastic time with no crying and only a couple of time-outs for my rambunctious little guy. That might be a record! It may have had something to do with the crush he developed on his cousin's girlfriend.

Corbin: "Ralph, I have a secret.Your girlfriend Kylee said I was cute." I've always known I'm going to be in trouble with this kid.

Like all good times, the music and laughter ended too quickly. I feel very blessed to share the branches of my family tree with such an awesome bunch of people. I'm a little sad that the miles keep us from seeing each other more than once a year, but I'm so glad everyone was "home" for the holidays! 

All 17 McCoy grandchildren. Except for my niece in China who will soon be a part of this forever family!
(I also have wonderful family on the Bitting side. I love them too and respect their choice to not be pictured in my blog)

Monday, December 3, 2012


 I was 18 years old, just graduating high school, when I found myself in a difficult situation, a place I never thought I would be. I was there by my own doing. I had passed the point of no return. 
The judgment I felt was harsh. 

To outsiders, I was just another teenage statistic; a careless girl who thought only of herself. 

To my family I felt I was an embarrassment. Where did they go wrong raising me that I would choose to defy the morals of my upbringing, 
especially one that brought shame and dishonor?

To my friends I was a disappointment. Didn't we make a pact and agree that we were secure
and above the immaturity of premarital sex? Especially knowing that it is wrong and 
not in God's plan for us.

To myself...... a failure. 
My immediate future no longer included college or even independence. My reputation now had 
a stain that could never be erased. 

I had hard decisions to make about my future, about my baby's future. Conflicting advice came from our well meaning parents. There were days of denial and days of urgency. 

I gave it to Jesus. HE took my disgrace and made beauty from ashes. He showed me that I could never do something so wrong to
lose His love and mercy. 

Not only did He open my eyes to Him and His forgiveness, He also blessed me with a husband who loves me and the most precious baby ever (times six)!

My heart is filled with love and compassion for teens who fall from innocence, specifically those with a repentant heart. The fall can be quick like a trip over uneven pavement.

Sometimes we can regain our footing quickly before we crash, while other times we wipe out head first becoming bruised and skinned up wondering what on earth we even tripped over.

No matter how hard we fall, God is there to pick us up, brush off the dirt, kiss the hurt, and wipe away the tears.

If we let him, He takes our mistakes along with the guilt that can destroy us and erases them as if they never existed. Although we are forgiven, there are often scars from our self inflicted imperfections.

But scars can be a sign of beauty, a reminder of where we were and how far we have come, proof that God is the Healer of the broken, and the King of redemption.

Bad quality picture but I look like a baby holding my baby!

Still holding my baby. Picture taken by Apryl

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Party On

We are not a Halloween celebrating family. I don't have a good reason, especially when I am up for any excuse for a party. I have in the past pondered the age old question "Should Christians celebrate Halloween?" I grew up in a home that believed Halloween was mostly evil. Although I do remember dressing up like a ghost in kindergarten because it was the easiest costume for my mom to make an hour before a school dress up party. Even though I was a bit jealous of the plasticky Tweety Bird costume, I was relieved to be wearing an old sheet with holes cut out for eyes so I wasn't left out.

Then there were also the years we had youth group hayrides on Halloween. My dad would drive the wagon full of dusty straw and easily spooked teens down wooded back roads and through cemeteries....no, that's not at all scary for gullible girls who had heard rumors of past kidnappings and sacrifices in that very area. I can imagine the smile on Dad's face as he heard us scream when his tractor would just happen to stall during the scariest part of the drive.

I have friends whose favorite holiday is Halloween and friends who hide inside with their porch light dark. I don't necessarily believe Halloween is any longer wicked, nor am I naive enough to think it is totally innocent. Long story short, I am Halloween indifferent. My kids have trick-or treated, trunk-or-treated, handed out candy, went to harvest parties, attended hayrides, and not done anything at all. Surprisingly enough, they seem pretty indifferent too. Maybe that has something to do with our toy-box full of dress up clothes. They can be superman, princesses, cowboys, ballerinas, transformers, whatever they want any day of the year, not just on October 31st.

Nine years ago we were blessed with a sweet little bundle three days before Halloween. She has claimed the month of October for her very own--the stores'candy aisles, dress up parties, bon fires, the whole shebang. I'm accommodating...it's all hers. She wanted to carve her own pumpkin this year. I was game until I saw her using the knife. I think we'll wait a couple more years for the carving part.

I'm all about object lessons. When fun is mixed with learning, everyone wins! 
The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs is a wonderful children's book that gives a whole new look to the jack-o-lantern.

The farmer has special plans for his pumpkins. He selects one, cleans it from the slime and grime. He turns the ordinary pumpkin into a beautiful sight, places a candle inside so it may shine and share its light in the darkness.

What a beautiful illustration of what God does for his children.

 I'm up for any excuse to break out the dessert plates (that we usually fill with veggies, dips and chips and salsa.) But I can't think of a better reason then celebrating my girl or any of my kiddos.

So Happy Belated.....with me it's always belated Halloween, Happy Harvest, Happy Birthday, Happy Fall! Now on to Thanksgiving! My favorite holiday of all. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet Sixteen (and a half)

Having children so far apart with their ages sometimes I feel I'm on a roller coaster. I am in the midst of raising two separate families. Clickety-clacketing up the steep slope helping my oldest ones fill out college applications and teaching defensive driving then taking a sharp turn to coach the younger ones to sleep through the night and how to read sight words. It can be dizzying and exhausting, and there are days I wonder if I up for the challenge. But I also have days where I jump in the front cart, happily throw my hands in the air and keep my eyes wide open. Being their mom is fulfilling and rewarding, and I don't want to miss a thing.

The lesson I have learned the most from mothering toddlers at the same time as teens is how quickly those little kids turn into big kids. Recently as I was watching Dakota hold her baby sister, it hit me (once again) how quickly time passes. Wasn't it just a couple of years ago she was the one I was rocking to sleep?

  Kodi Lynn is my second baby, born just 14 months after my first. Her determination and spunk amuse me as much now as they did the day she was born. One day I blinked and my sweet little girl 

grew into a lovely young woman.

                                               with a little bit of attitude

                                                 mixed with an amazingly beautiful heart!

                    And, Time, is it too much to ask for you to slow down and let me enjoy this ride??

Sunday, September 30, 2012

I'm sorry, Mom!

It's not a secret in my family that I was the "difficult" child. I was known to push the parental limits. After all, they were stupid limits....I knew what was best for me, I was my own person. Didn't my parents know I was a good kid? They didn't have to be so strict and overprotective. And if that wasn't bad enough, they never let me express myself verbally. Come on, I had something to say. Don't you want to know what I'm thinking and how I'm feeling?!

Then my mom went and did the unthinkable, she prayed that I would have kids just like me.

My old words are starting to be uttered by own children.....ugh! The words that came out of MY mouth today: "I do not have to give you a reason. The answer is no. Not another word." It may have possibly sounded more like this , "I DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOU A REASON....." You get the point.

Looking through old pictures I found this note written in teenage bubbly letters from when I was a sweet and sassy 16 year old. I dedicate this to you, Mom.

When I'm a parent:

1)I'm going to let my teenager go most places he/she wants to unless I have a very good excuse why not! Not because "I said so" or "You've already been somewhere this week"
2)I'll let my kid talk on the phone as long as he/she wants. Unless I need to use it or am expecting a call.
3)I'll let my children go tee-peeing. What's wrong w/ it?!!
4)My children will be allowed to attend dances when they are in Jr High.
5)I'll let my kids go on dates when they are 15!
6)I won't read any of their notes unless they say I can.
7)I'll let them have more privileges than I ever had!
8)I won't embarrass them by bringing up the past.
9)I'll let them have their own phone!!
10)They can have a tv in their room.
11)I will not make them clean the house and do dishes EVERYDAY!!
12)I will be understanding and let them tell me their point of view.

Good thing I wrote that down so I could let my smart teenage self raise my teens. Ha! I feel I'm doing just fine raising teenagers and enjoying them very much even on the days we don't see eye to eye and I have to get (gulp) strict. And I better get in a groove and learn and grow because I will have teenagers for 21 years!!

kids of the 90's dressing up for 80's night at youth group
There are days when I think of my mom and realize what head/heart aches I caused. I have never apologized for my....uh,...teenage attitude. Honestly, until recently I have still been siding with my 16 yr old self, blind to how my parents saw me. 

My eyes are open. If there is one thing I want my children to know about my parenting it is that I do/did my very best. It may not have always been what they would have wanted or even what is right. But it is always, always out of love! 

So, Mom, this is your apology, in writing, no less! I'm sorry. Sorry for not being able to hold my tongue (something I'm still working on, dang it!), sorry for causing you to question where you went wrong because of your 2nd child, sorry for the disobedience, sorry for sneaking out.....ok....who needs a detailed list? :) I am a better mom because of who you were and who you are!  I love you! 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

I have a way of holding onto things too tight sometimes. A sentimentalist, I say. Some may call it other names... I have a harder time than most saying good bye. I may be the only one that will devour a good book quickly until the last couple chapters and then read slowly because I'm not ready for it to be over or to say bye to the characters. Anyone? Ok, I realize I'm a little weird but I'm secure in my quirkiness.

This year I told myself I will let summer leave gracefully. I will not cry and beg her to stay. I will be ready for autumn and welcome her with a leaf wreath on the door and pumpkins on the porch instead of the usual dirty looks and attitude.

To me the yearly Apple Festival Parade is a good bye summer, hello fall celebration.

I really do love my summer. She has a way of bringing out the fun in me. But there are some things about autumn that I like just as much and somethings that I may like even more (gasp!).

  • harvesty menus like pork roast with carrots, potatoes, onions and cabbage
  • the scent of burning leaves and earthy nights
  • colors that take my breath away
  • air that feels so perfect, you don't even know it's there

  • jeans and sweatshirts
  • sleeping snuggled in blankets with the windows open
  • watching the kids catch the leaves falling from the trees
  • campfires at night

  • haunting music from the loudly ringing wind chimes
  • football...ok, not really, but I do like watching a good game once in a while
  • flannel sheets
  • candy corn, M&Ms, and honey roasted peanuts-- the melody of autumn love

Autumn, we started off very rocky this year. Gusty winds, 48 degrees and hail? You don't have to be so abrupt with your presence. I really have always liked you and not just for your beauty. Please be a little less aggressive in your demeanor and we can have a wonderful 3 months together.

 And, summer, with mixed emotions I bid you farewell. Thanks for the daily hugs of warmth and kisses of fun. You bring sunshine in my life and joy to my days. I promise to think of you often.