May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, Oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.
Psalm 19:14

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


I am back.

Or I want to try to be anyway.

I do not have any deep insight or wisdom to share.

I am in a broken place.

I am not really sure how to start.  I was looking at some old posts a couple nights ago and some
drafts that I never finished.  And I saw my sweet boys looking oh so little.  And I saw my Dad.

So I am doing this again.  For me.  So I don't forget.

I have read some of Ann Voskamp's book and follow her blog.  Nearly every time I read something of hers, I am in tears.  She writes a lot about gratitude.  So, I wanted to find things I am grateful for in 2013.  This past year was a hard year, a year with a lot of loss.  I may have even called it a sucky year but don't tell my Mom.  But I am learning and believing that there is always, ALWAYS something to be grateful for.  Always.

1.  My Dad is forever at peace now.  Lasting, true, unchangable peace. 

2.  For now, medicine is controlling Eli's absence seizures.  And he is still so completely Eli.

3.  Ashley and I still have laughter.  This past year was ugly for us.  Very ugly.  We have a lot
     of healing and work to do.  But we are finding laughter again. 

4.  Jonathan still holds my hand.  He is tall now and wants and needs his own space at times.  We too
      frequently bang our heads together.  He is always hungry.  And very definately has his own  
      opinions.  But he will still grab my hand sometimes when I pick him up from school and we walk
      to the car.  And at night, when it is my turn to read with him, he still asks me to sing to him and
      he will often squeeze my hand for awhile.  I wish that would last forever.

5.  Jonathan has developed an enjoyment in reading.  He has always loved being read to, but this
     school year he has truly started to read for enjoyment not just for assignments or practice.  He
     will actually chose to read and will often bring a book in the car. 

6.  Safety while traveling.  We drove a lot of miles between TN and KS this year.  I am so pathetic
     about getting sleepy while driving.  I dread the drive and get really anxious about each trip.  But
     the Lord kept us safe.  The trips involved caffeine and books on tape and naps along the way at all
     sorts of places and one sweet boy getting car sick too many times and one big brother being an
     incredible helper (most of the time kindly!) but we arrived safely each time.  Thank You Lord!

7.  Ear buds and an arm band for my phone.  Ashley kindly bought some for me and they are so
     great!!!  I tried to be better about exercising this year and was doing better and being able to listen
     to a podcast or music was so helpful.  I have not been as consistent the last couple months but am
     determined to get back at it.  It helps my outlook so much to have that time alone, to breathe and

8.  Burning candles with abandon.  I so enjoy having a candle burning, but I usually am stingy with
     lighting candles and want to save them for company or I am not sure what.  But I have been
     burning a candle most days now and most of the day.  And I love it.  And need more candles!

9.  Starting a story hour program at the local library.  I am the very last person to be leading crafts or
     singing but I have enjoyed it so far.  I get nervous most Tuesdays and often debrief afterwards
     on the phone with Polly or Nikki about how things went and what should have gone better but
     it has been neat to try to start something. 

10. Watching an ever deepening bond between brothers.  No one can make Eli laugh like Jonathan.
       No one can frustrate Jonathan like Eli.  But Jonathan really does not like when Eli has to be
       disciplined.  They will wrestle and hurt each other and also be each other's source of comfort.
       My heart smiles when Jonathan sits and reads a book to Eli.  I am so deeply grateful for those
       two and so thankful they have each other. 

I have much to be thankful for.  I am very blessed. And I am thankful that I feel hopeful for 2014.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

900 weeks

No, that is not how long it has been since I have posted something!

I was just reading a good parenting article.  And then bam!
This enjoyable article said  something like
          "your child will only be in your home for about 900 weeks ....."

Then I had trouble breathing. 

 I didn't want to know that. 

But maybe, I needed to hear it. 

Because I have been rather stagnant lately.  If I am being honest, I have been rather
frustrated and short lately about things like messes and noises and mundane repitition.

I need to choose to embrace the mundane.  And keep working on teaching about helping
with messes and volume control! 

Because they deserve my best.

And because 900 weeks worth isn't nearly enough bedtime stories or hugs or
shared lunches or snuggles or child-paced walks or ice cream shared or holding hands
or giggles over snack time or block towers built or play-dough snakes made
or sweet prayers said.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


This is humbling.
It will not contain fancy pictures.
I am going to share a recipe. Actually two.
They are pitiful compared to those you see on those who have fancy, impressive blogs.
They don't even really have names.
But we are simple here.
Rice, Avacado, Cheese, and Peas.
Brown rice
Shredded cheese
Cooked green peas
Mix together.
How is that for simple?! This recipe sort of just happened and is something Jonathan and now Eli really like. it is a easy go to recipe on evenings when Ashley is not going to be home. Although he likes it okay too but he likes something with a little meat in it!
Jonathan says it needs to go in the bowl in the proper order: rice first, then smash some avacado in with the rice, then sprinkle with cheese and then peas. His bowl is heavy on peas and light on cheese and avacado. Eli's would be light on peas if he had a choice and he likes lots of cheese and "cado" as he calls avacado!
Pasta, Chicken and Veggies
Polly gets the credit for this recipe. She whipped this together one time when we were at her house and I was so impressed with the genius of just putting the vegetables in with the pasta.
Cook pasta of your choice according to directions. We like the big shells or rotini as these are easier for Eli to eat. This boy really really likes pasta. We had a major melt down the other morning because he saw left over pasta in the fridge at 9 in the morning and was certain he needed to eat it then! While the pasta is boiling, add veggies of your choice to the pot. We often do carrots and broccoli. Cut up cooked chicken while the pasta and veggies are cooking. I have also done black beans and kidney beans in place of chicken which I liked but with the rest of the family the chicken was preferred. Mix the chicken into the drained pasta and veggies and then add olive oil, parmesean cheese and garlic salt to taste. Sorry for the non-specific measurements. that is not normally how I cook at all! It is a tasty and easy meal. Jonathan likes to add BBQ sauce to his chicken. Curly's BBQ sauce from KS to be exact. He loves this stuff and Grammy and Papa and Nikki have loved him by keeping him supplied!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My latest favorites

This is silly. and frivilous. And sadly contains a lot of food items!

Some of my favorite lately include:

Hummus! Love, LOVE the stuff! I have had relative success making my own. Ashley even liked it okay when I actually shared some with him. Jason's Deli has some yummy red pepper hummus on their salad bar. My plate is a little embarassing when we go there.

These chips called Simply Naked. They are Stacy's Pita Chips and so good. They delight my salt cravings. They also go great with hummus! and salsa. and plain. and probably queso.

Sweet green tea from Sams. The sweet most likely takes away the good parts of the green tea but it is such a treat for me!! A few times Eli and I have finished our errands at Sams and then shared a slice of their yummy pizza and I indulged in the tea. Happy!

Lemon water. I have issues with consuming calories in beverages. I like to drink (meaning Dr Pepper and Root Beer and cherry limeaids and sweet tea ) and like sugar. Not a good thing. So in trying to remedy this a bit, I have been drinking lemon water. I always get this at resturaunts (and then sneek sips of Ashley's dr pepper!), but I purchased some lemons and have been enjoying it at home too. Eli also likes it. He likes water. Milk not so much but yes on water.

Story hour!!!! I finally found one for Eli. our local library has, in my opinion, really dropped the ball on this. They are bordering on lazy really and it quite frustrates me! I have called several other places but none had story hour for Eli's age. This was a highlight for Jonathan and I and so good for him in learning to sit and wait and listen and to like books. But I found one! and though there will never be as good of one as the one in Moundridge (the teacher there is AMAZING!), this one reminds me some of home and has a story time and crafts and singing and snacks. it is so interesting to watch Eli's personality there.

Smoothies. This has become a nearly every day afterschool snack. Jonathan is awesome at making them. Although it has led me to finally order a lid for my blender. The plastic lid didnt make the cut post fire even after repeated washings. But it is NOT fun to clean up smoothie! :) We have tried the Green Monster smoothies with spinach and Eli and I are fans. Jonathan is not.

Kroger! It is our Dillons here. they just have awesome deals quite frequently on yogurt and cheese. both of which get consumed a lot in our house.

My happy pants. I have these pair of yoga pants, I think they are technically called. They are so comfy and fit just right. They make me nearly giggle every time I put them on in the evenings. I wear them as pajama pants but I think if I wore them daily, I might just could conquer the world!

Now I need to go find some interests besides food! :)

Monday, April 9, 2012


You turned 9 yesterday.

I got to talk to you on the phone for a bit. Oh, you sounded so old and so polite.

I still remember so well the first time I laid eyes on you. You took my breath away.

You were the first time I experienced total love at first sight. I felt an instant need to always protect you.

I could only go a few days without having to come over to your house and hold and kiss you again. I was even so bold as to ask your mommy if I could wake you if you were sleeping! If she would have asked that of my sleeping babies I would have told her she dare not! But your sweet mommy has always been a more laid back mommy than me.

I remember teaching you to say "Star" in the Walmart parking lot. I remember teaching you to say "Tia Jo" since you could say "T." and that name has stuck with me for all your cousins now and I love it!

Because of you, I first had the priveledge of watching my mom and dad become grandparents. How proud they are of you, Corbin, and always have been. You hold a very special place in their hearts.

I remember one night when Ashley and I got to take care of you. He got you to giggling and it was the best sound in the world.

I have watched you be a great big brother. My heart has been touched with how you love my boys. Thanks for wrestling with Jonathan. He looks forward to it, but I know he can be pretty relentless. He wants to become as strong as you! Eli still talks about you and balls! He understands about you quite well even in the short time he has got to spend with you.

Corbin, I am proud of how hard you work in school. I admire that you practice all you can at different sports. I respect that you go with your mommy to church and are learning God's word.

Being the oldest cousin has to be tough. You have to wait a lot as we deal with the more immediate needs of the younger ones. Sorry when we expect to much of you just because you are the oldest.

It makes me cry to know that there is a lot of hurt in your world right now. How I wish I could change it for you. I pray every day for you Corbin. My main prayer is that you will choose Jesus. Choose Him, Corbin, in all situations. Even when it is hard. Even when other people are not. Even when it seems easier not to follow His ways.

I miss you. I miss your laugh and your many questions. I miss your tender heart that notices when someone is hurting. I miss how you try to get away from my hugs! I miss seeing you on Grammy's lap. I miss seeing you glued to a sports game or trying to get a sip of Papa's tea or begging someone to come pitch the ball or play horse.

God did a wonderful thing in creating you, Corbin. Never doubt that! He has incredible plans for your life.

I love you Corbin Wayne Unruh. I always have and I always will.

Tia Jo

Thursday, March 8, 2012

A different street

I read something the other day that really struck me. I read it on Beth Moore's blog

Her sister is an alocoholic and is sharing her story. Very moving. She shared something she
read. Autobiography in Five Short Chapters by Portia Nelson

Chapter 1:
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2:
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in this same place. But it isnt my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3:
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it there. I fall's a habit...but my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4:
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5:
I walk down a different street.

I like the hope. I like the change. I like the awakening. I like the acceptance of responsiblity. Not sure why it resonated with me. Maybe to make me face the more "socially acceptable" addictions or struggles I have.

Now to face them and chose a different street.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Ashley got me a phone for Christmas.

I have named it Gus.

I am so excited about it and quite intimidated by it also.

I feel a pressure (just put on myself) to learn to use it to its fullest potential.

I am super excited about hopefully being able to post pictures easier.

Our boys are just too cute not to share!!