Monthly Archives: September 2015



“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau


I recently had a conversation with two friends. As we sat at a table, catching up on each other’s lives, I found myself caught up in a working woman’s conversation as they discussed their careers, their busy schedules, and the juggling act they must perform as working moms. Rather than bemoan their busy days, however, they quickly agreed that they could never go back to being “just a stay at home mom.” They agreed that staying home with their children, spending their day caring for their homes, doing laundry, and making meals would just be “too boring.”

Then they smiled at me with a poor, pitying nod and the same sympathetic, “poor soul” look you might give someone on death’s door. 🙂

Thinking they were joking I found a laugh beginning to bubble up.

Then I realized they were serious…and I had to hold back the fit of laughter that was fighting to come forth.


I can’t even imagine such a feeling.

It is the object of my fantasies and distant memories.

I remember being bored once… I think I was 8, but it was so long ago I can’t be sure. 🙂

Time is such an interesting paradox. It is something we always feel we are lacking and yet we perceive others having in abundance, and yet the reality of it all is that we all are equal…

In a world that is quick to point out any imbalance, any inequality, any injustice, this is one area where we all stand on equal footing.


those are the seconds in your day

and my day,

and your “busy” neighbor’s day,

and your great grandmother’s day,

and the President’s day,

and your 8 month old daughter’s day.

Time is the great equalizer.

Within every day we begin with the same balance in our bank book,

only the way we choose to use (or lose) those seconds differ.

I am a firm believer that no one person is busier than another. We are simply busy with different things. How my daughter spends her seconds is very different from how my mother spends hers, and yet I wouldn’t say one schedule is busier than another.

Society sells us this lie that the worth of our life multiplies the busier we can tell people we are. Busyness is worn like a badge or carried like a bank book, quick to be pulled out and compared to other’s accountings of their lives…

“Who is busier?” we ask ourselves.

“Wow,” we acknowledge, “She must be an amazing person. Look at how busy she is. There is hardly a second left at the end of her day.”


“It is not enough to be busy, so are the ants. What are we busy about?” -Henry Davis Thoreau

No one is busier than another, we are just busy with different things…

with different priorities…

with different purposes…

with different callings.

How I use my time, while it may seem to lack value when seen through the glasses of your priorities and your calling, has equal value to your life’s work. And while I may not have any desire to spend my days in an office environment, I recognize it is where God wants you to be.

We don’t have to want another person’s life to be able to embrace its worth for them!

I think this is the greatest lesson I have learned as I have grown older…

Our callings are not the same.

My purpose on earth is different from yours,

and because our callings differ, our use of time will differ too. And that is a wonderful thing. We need to spend more time cheering each other on in our journeys and spend less time judging the value of our journey based on the lives of those around us.

As I sat and listened to the conversation of these two friends I just smiled. I didn’t take their words personally, and I didn’t let their ignorance of my personal calling affect me. I don’t need their validation or their approval. I don’t need to give them an accounting of my days, and minutes, and seconds.. I know I am on the path the Lord wants me on (at least for this season of my life.) and I know he values the way I am spending the seconds of my days.

It is not their journey to understand.

So I just smiled and assured them that staying home and teaching my five kids wasn’t boring to me…not boring at all.

Perhaps someday the Lord will see fit to bless me with a little of that mythical “boredom” I hear about in fairy tales.

Until then I will embrace the crazy busyness of my life,

and give thanks for the path I am on.

We all have the same 86,400 seconds of life to spend each day,


may we all spend them wisely and see them for the beautiful currency that they are.

How are you spending the days of your life?

A Fun Friday Night


This week has been a crazy one as we’ve tried to shake off the vacation sludge and get our momentum back after our week on the houseboat. We arrived home late Monday night and headed straight into a week of school, work and appointments.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I scheduled therapy sessions, dentist appointments and doctors appointments (in addition to our usual weekly activities of  co-op, football practice, church activities and a scout court of honor) on the heels of returning home from vacation.

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Rusty earned his archery and communications badge and earned his first class.

Rusty earned his archery and communications badge and earned his first class.

  As a result it was days before the van was fully unpacked and the vacation laundry was addressed.

By Friday we finally felt like we were on our way to having things somewhat under control.

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On Friday night we invited the two sets of missionaries serving in our area over for dinner and a camp fire. We decided to also invite our friend Wendy and her adorable grandkids. Derek, who is Tyler’s age, really enjoys both Tyler and Ozzie and has been wanting to come over for a playdate. This provided us a good excuse to get together.

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We decided to enjoy the beautiful fall weather and eat outside.

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We had tacos for dinner. We set up a taco bar with toppings and fillers so that everyone could either make a taco salad, a hard or soft taco, or a walking taco with bags of Fritos and Doritos.

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For dessert we made s’mores over the fire.

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The kids enjoyed showing our guests around the farm:

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They showed off our school bus which is slowly transforming into an RV,

the chalkboard where two of the missionaries stopped to leave their mark,

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the farm animals,

and the McDonald’s Play Place

that was the hit of the night with the kids.

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When the sun began to set we said our good-byes.

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What a fun night with friends!

“Life was made for good friends and great adventure”


We are now on our way home

after an amazing week of fun, friends, and adventure on the water.

After our week of living the houseboat life on Lake Cumberland, Kentucky

it is hard to say goodbye.

The weather was perfect with temperatures in the low 80’s during the day and low 60’s at night. The lake water was still warm enough to be comfortable, feeling more like pool water than lake water.

The week was filled with special memory-making moments with friends.

Lucas and Rusty

Lucas and Rusty

Here is a final look into an amazing vacation with friends:

IMG_1780The food just kept getting better and better as the week went on, making mealtimes a time to look forward to each day.

Dinner on the patio.

Dinner on the patio.

One Molly and Tatum's dinner night they made chicken pot pies, fruit salad, cesaer salad and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

On Molly and Tatum’s dinner night they made chicken pot pies, fruit salad, caesar salad and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

On our final night we had shish kabobs on the grill. The kids making their shish kabobs.

On our final night we had shish kabobs on the grill. The kids enjoyed making their own shish kabobs.

They were so yummy!

They were so yummy!

The bulk of our days were spent in the water…

swimming, jumping, splashing and floating.

On our final night we camped at a beautiful, secluded cove with this trickling waterfall to climb and jump from.

On our final night we camped at a beautiful, secluded cove with this trickling waterfall to climb and jump from.

The boys tiing off the boat.

The boys tying off the boat.

The water felt wonderful and it was such a treat to be able to float away the hours of our day with nowhere to go and nothing to do. It is going to be so hard to go back to reality!

The water felt wonderful and it was such a treat to be able to float away the hours of our day with nowhere to go and nothing to do. It is going to be so hard to go back to reality!

I can't remeber the last time I had the luxury of being able to just sit and read in the middle of the day.

I can’t remember the last time I had the luxury of being able to just sit and read in the middle of the day.

Olivia, Grace, Lucas, and Rusty.

Olivia, Grace, Lucas, and Rusty.

The girls watching the boys jump from the rocks while enjoying a mid-afternoon snack. :)

The girls watching the boys jump from the rocks while enjoying a mid-afternoon snack. 🙂

Swim time also meant “bath time.” Rather than wash in the boring shower most bathing took place in the lake.

Dip, lather, rinse with a ride down the slide into the water…repeat!




DSCF2750After climbing from the lake the next stop was usually the hot tub, to warm up before drying off.


After a nighttime swim Tyler found the hot tub water extra toasty!

After a nighttime swim Tyler found the hot tub water extra toasty!

Whether working together:

IMG_2538Cruising the lake:


IMG_2560Primping together:

IMG_2689Or playing together,

this group knew how to have fun!


Craft time! Scratch art pictures.

Craft time! Scratch art pictures.

Painting river rocks..

Painting river rocks..

Beautiful wild flowers Rusty picked for his that boy!

Beautiful wild flowers Rusty picked for his Momma…love that boy!

I loved playing Yathzee with the giant dice and laundry basket we brought from home.

I loved playing Yahtzee with the giant dice and laundry basket we brought from home.

Molly's turn to roll the dice!

Molly’s turn to roll the dice!

With all the fun we packed into our days on board,

by nightfall we slept hard.

After evenings spent watching movies, star-gazing, playing cards and board games, snacking and talking we all wandered off to our separate corners for a good night sleep.

IMG_2953DSCF2775On our final morning the kids woke with the sun for an early morning swim,

with the fog still rolling across the lake.



Four brave souls!

Then we headed back to Beaver Creek Marina, where we packed, unloaded the boat,


Tyler helping the marina employee run loads of our gear back up to the van.

and cleaned up the last of the evidence that we were there. 🙂


Just about ready to leave…

IMG_2979Good-bye, Kentucky. We had a wonderful time!


Cast Away Your Troubles


“A bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work”

IMG_1723That is what we kept telling ourselves this week.

IMG_1917The upside of fishing on Cumberland Lake is that it was much better  fishing then the fishing we experienced last time

on Lake Sutton, WV.

IMG_2463But it didn’t quite measure up to the fishing they imagined in their daydreams.

IMG_2436Instead of large stripers,

blue gills were the catch of the week.

IMG_1849They also caught some bass and spotted a carp or two.

IMG_2120While the fishing was a bit of a disappointment for the dads, the kids had no complaints,


IMG_2204especially Tyler who spent most of his waking moments with a fishing pole in hand.

IMG_1854They only thing Tyler likes as well as a football in hand is a fishing line in the water.

IMG_2429And there is no one he’d rather have fishing by his side than his Daddy.

IMG_2418While the fish may have been small, the memories made were huge!

IMG_1848“There’s always time for one more cast”

“Loot, Plunder, Pillage, and Play”


“Now and then we had the hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.” –Mark Twain

IMG_2775September 19th is “International Talk like a Pirate Day”

No, we didn’t plan our houseboat vacation around this much-loved holiday, it was simply sweet serendipity.

On our last houseboat vacation with the Hudak family the kids were in 8th, 7th, 6th, and 5th grades. At the time one of the assigned reading novels was Treasure Island. We decided to bring the book on vacation and read it aloud to all the kids as we boated along. It was a perfect fit and made the experience all the more fun. At the end of the week we decided to surprise the kids with a pirate treasure hunt to wrap up our week of reading Treasure Island.

While the kids were swimming we slipped a bottle into the water containing a map that led to a buried treasure found on shore.


The kids LOVED it and talk about it being one of their favorite memories of that vacation,

So we knew we wanted to plan something like that again…

And then we realized that our vacation just happened to fall on

“International Talk like a Pirate Day”


We had all sorts of fun things up our sleeves for this band of scallywags.

But first everyone needed their pirate names.

Using a site online that takes the first initial of your first, middle and last name to determine your new pirate name

everyone was renamed for the day:

Tyler: Redhead Holystone

Ozzie: Jolly Eddie

Tatum: Red Cackle

Rusty: Stinky Spike

Lucas: Bucko Head Bart

Molly: Deadman Creeper

Olivia: Jolly Bones

Grace: Sharkbait George

Lucas then entertained us with some pirate jokes that he had saved up for the day.

DSCF2724Jokes like:

“What has eight legs, eight hands, and eight eyes?”

Answer: “Eight pirates”

“What’s a pirate’s favorite letter?”

Answer: “You think it’d be ‘R’ but it’s really high ‘C’”

“What’s a pirates favorite pace to eat?”

Answer: “I-hop”

What do you call a pirate with two arms, two legs, and two eyes?”

Answer: “A beginner”

Our day was full of high seas fun, beginning with a breakfast of pirate pancakes.

IMG_2692After breakfast Lana and I began preparations for our treasure hunt while some of the kids swam outside and others decorated our spyglasses.


IMG_2693We both brought “treasure” for the chest. In other words: candy!

We sorted the treasure into individual baggies for the eight kids and placed them in our treasure chests.

IMG_2699The big sisters contributed their artistic talents to the surprise by drawing our treasure maps. We burnt the edges for authenticity.

IMG_2701The first map (the map to the island) was placed in a bottle and dropped into the water. Ozzie was the first to spot it but Tyler was the one to climb out to retrieve it with the fishing net.

IMG_2712The bottle was brought inside, opened, and the crew discovered that the floating bottle held a treasure map…

IMG_2719That map led us back to the island where the kids played on the first day.

Now that we knew our destination

we could set sail.

While the captains steered us to the treasure the kids began gearing up for the hunt in their pirate garb.

IMG_2750Then the island came into view.

IMG_2759After dropping anchor the hunt began.



IMG_2787When our little buccaneers stepped onto land they discovered another map. This one was a map of the island. With map in hand they began exploring.

IMG_2753It was fun to see such excitement and enthusiasm.

IMG_2791They hunted and explored until the treasure was found.

IMG_2822The treasure boxes were carried back to the ship where the booty was divvied up among the mates and lasses.

IMG_2825ARRRGGG…Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day

From our scurvy crew to yers!


“Shine Bright!”


“The darkest nights produce the brightest stars”

This is true whether you are talking about heavenly orbs or “stars” of a different kind…

Last night was our glo-stick dance party!

IMG_2683The darkness found in the middle of Cumberland Lake made for the perfect backdrop for our stick-man party on the top deck.

After dinner we pulled out the glo-sticks we brought with us and began cracking them into life. As they began to glow red, yellow, purple, and green we separated them by color.

IMG_2603The kids picked their stick-man color and began taping their “body parts” on with clear packing tape.

IMG_2601Glo-stick glasses were added to finish off the look.

IMG_2604Then upstairs we went.

IMG_2605The music began to play,

and the party began!!


When the kids had their fill of dancing

IMG_2639IMG_2660our glo-stick dance party” turned into a “glo-stick swim party” as our stick-kids moved the fun into the dark lake.

IMG_2680It was neat to see the glowing stick figures float in the water below.

IMG_2674After everyone had their fill of swimming

they all moved to the hot tub to warm up before we moved back indoors.



These kids really know how to SHINE!

IMG_2654They must get it from their mothers!

IMG_2612“You have to find what sparks a light in you so that you can, in your own way, illuminate the world.” – Oprah Winfrey

Learning to Fly!


Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 10.08.45 AMYesterday my children learned to fly.

I am so grateful for a husband that counters my natural tendency to hesitate and be cautious.

I live with the fear of falling.

He lives with the possibility of flying.

The week has been spent enjoying the sun and the water.




IMG_2304The kids have spent the majority of each day in the water

swimming and sliding.

IMG_2486The big blue tube slide, that begins at the top deck of the houseboat and twists down to the water, has been the hit of the week.

IMG_2511The kids discovered that with the addition of a drop or two of baby shampoo the speed going down the slide doubles, and you can REALLY get going!






Yesterday the water fun advanced from riding the slide and jumping from the ledge to a whole new level of fun.

IMG_2334After a lot of big talk the dads took the plunge and jumped from the top deck of the houseboat into the water,

teaching their children how to soar.


IMG_2365I’ll admit the idea of the kids flying off the top deck into the dark waters (and hidden dangers below) made me more than a little anxious.

But after the dads tested out the safety and showed the kiddos how it is done there was no stopping them.

IMG_2373My little chicks took flight, one by one, soaring from the safety of the boat into the unknown.

IMG_2394Oh, how scary!

IMG_2481But they didn’t fall…they flew.




IMG_2369And they soared and soared again,

IMG_2349until the sun began to sink in the sky.

I thank God for blessing me with a husband that is not afraid of falling,


because if it was up to me my chicks would never leave the safety of the nest,

and they would miss out on the thrill of flying!

A Quick Stop and a Pit Stop


Today we decided to motor back toward some sort of civilization to top off the gas tank, the water tanks, and purchase a few more bags of ice for the coolers we store the drinks in.

Along the lake there are multiple marinas. We decided to head toward the Jamestown Marina, the one closest to where we were docked.

It was as we were traveling that we had our first unplanned excitement of the trip…

When booking this vacation we decided to rent a fishing boat as well, that we could tow along with us. This fishing boat allowed us the freedom to head out and explore smaller coves without having to take the big houseboat (and everyone in it) with us. The dads enjoyed being able to motor out to better fishing areas in the smaller boat and the kids loved riding along.

IMG_2415While traveling with the houseboat we just tow the fishing boat behind us.

IMG_2230On our way to the marina we were motoring along, riding on the top deck, enjoying the view, when someone spotted something in the distance…

IMG_2231It was our fishing boat!

IMG_2162What makes this so funny is that Lana had just shared with us the story of her parent’s losing their fishing boat off the back of the houseboat they rented on Lake Powell.

Ahhh, the irony. 🙂

We yelled down the stairs for the driver to hit the brakes and we circled around to retrieve the boat, grateful we hadn’t traveled all the way to the marina before we discovered our loss.

Toby jumped in..our hero of the day…to grab the boat and tied it to our floating home, and then we were “back on the road.” 🙂

IMG_2166As we approached the marina a small boat drove out to meet us and an employee of the marina boarded the houseboat to take us in.

IMG_2235For some reason they don’t want inexperienced drivers trying to pull houseboats up to the gas pumps at the dock,

passing by million dollar, privately owned,  houseboats…

Yeah, I don’t get it either. 😉

Once we were docked the kids got out to explore while the attendant began filling up our gas tank and fresh water tank.

IMG_2236The marina was beautiful with a full store, restaurant, and beautiful bathrooms that we all took advantage of. 🙂

IMG_2241The kids all got an ice cream treat, compliments of Miss Tatum, who earned a treat for logging the most school points of all her siblings before they left on vacation. The Hudak kids were told that the one who got the most school work done before leaving on vacation could pick a vacation treat from the store. Tatum asked if she could pass on the store treat and instead get everyone an ice cream novelty bar for everyone at the marina. Her parents agreed and all the kids benefited from Tatum’s diligence and generosity!


IMG_2239While at the marina we loaded up on ice and everyone took advantage of our pit stop to log into the marina’s wifi (which was much stronger and quicker than the hot spot Toby could create on his cell phone.) It was funny to see everyone’s computers come out as the kids all logged into their school email to check for messages from their teachers and submit school work they had been working on offline as we boated.

IMG_2242After a thirty minute pit stop we were off again…

Let the adventure continue!

“We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.”

Hope Floats


“Beginnings are scary.

Endings are usually sad,

but it’s what’s in the middle that counts.

So, when you find yourself at the beginning,

just give hope a chance to float up.

And it will.” – Hope Floats

Today marks the halfway point of our houseboat vacation. Last night we had a magical experience planned.

Woody brought with him two sky lanterns we could set off into the sky.

The dark night, lit only with stars, made for the perfect backdrop.

We told the kids we were sending our hopes to heaven.

Everyone took a slip of paper and privately wrote down a wish or a hope they have.

IMG_2437We then all moved to the top deck where we taped everyone’s hopes to the sky lanterns.

IMG_2446The lanterns were lit

IMG_2448and as they filled with hot air they began to rise.

IMG_2450We watched as our hopes were carried to heaven.

IMG_2451We stood on the top deck watching until the lanterns were faint specks in the distance.

IMG_2457“Just give hope a chance to float up…”

and they will!

A Day on the Houseboat


So, how does one spent their time on a houseboat, you might ask…

IMG_2264How do you fill a week-long vacation while trapped on the open water?

IMG_2260It’s easy!

Here is a peek into some of our daily activities.

Everyone wakes at different times with Woody and the little boys usually up first with the sun. Woody usually heads out fishing and I get the boys breakfast and put on a movie in an attempt to keep them quiet so everyone else can sleep in.

IMG_2211Then the boat slowly comes to life.

Our day seems to revolve around meal time, much like being at home, with meal prep, meal eating and meal clean-up.

IMG_1839Before we left on our trip Lana and I sat down and made a menu for the week,

IMG_2256splitting the groceries we needed to purchase between the two of us.

IMG_1840For meal prep and clean-up we either take turns or cook together.

The kids each have a night in which they planned a dinner and are responsible for making that meal.

Molly and Tatum also made a fruit pizza for everyone one day, and Olivia and Grace made mock fried ice cream for dessert on their Mexican night…YUM!

IMG_2459Grace and Olivia also had another fun treat up their sleeves. They thought it would be fun to surprise everyone with a homemade snack each day. They decided to do different flavored popcorn each day. They found seven different recipes online and bought the ingredients they needed before they left.

IMG_2196Some of their delicious creations included:

Ranch flavored popcorn

Peanut butter and Jelly popcorn

Salt and Vinegar popcorn

Caramel popcorn

Jello popcorn

Party popcorn

IMG_2207Our daily schedule looks something like this…

After waking and eating breakfast, the morning is spent swimming and fishing. Around 1:00 we have lunch and clean up. After lunch we untie the houseboat from the spot we parked for the night and we head out to explore more of the lake and find a new spot to tie off for the night.

IMG_2249The kids love riding on the top deck while the boat’s moving. The little boys have to wear life vests while the boat is moving since they are under 12 years old, but the big kids can roam the boat unrestricted while we drive.



P1030496Sometimes they ride while soaking in the hot tub. What a life! 🙂

IMG_2144The remainder of the day is spent exploring our new location,

IMG_1829skipping rocks,

IMG_1816Looking for geodes…they are everywhere here. So cool!


IMG_2195 (2)Enjoying the water,

IMG_1872riding the water slide,



IMG_2204soaking in the hot tub,

IMG_2403and doing crafts

before dinner is served around 8:00pm.

At one stop we found hundreds of fossilized crinoids

IMG_2468The girls collected enough to make themselves souvenir bracelets using the beads and string Molly brought from home.

IMG_2471The kids enjoyed playing Apples to Apples while waiting for dinner…

IMG_2215We usually have a late dinner and then Ozzie and Tyler are tucked into bed around 9:00.

After the little boys are in bed the big kids and adults will watch a movie, play board games/ cards, lay out on the top deck, or enjoy the hot tub under the stars.

IMG_2210The stars are gorgeous here. There are so bright with no ambient light to dull their shine.

Then it is time for bed, with the adults usually turning in before the teenagers, who giggle and talk into the night.

Everyone sleeps hard after a full day of swimming and sunning.

What a glorious way to spend a week!