Monday, January 25, 2010

Pure Bliss

There are some perfect moments in this life, and if you don't breath them in when they occur, the bliss of the moment will pass, and the intoxicating beauty of it will be gone forever. The sweetness of a baby's smile -and smell, the first kiss with the love of your life, the moment your realize that you are going to marry that man!, a personal epiphany, a moment of clarity, an answered prayer, and unexpected blessing, a hug that gives you strength, a time when you clearly hear God's voice.

A kiss.


If you are a VERY talented photographer like my sister, sometimes you can capture a moment -simply press a shutter and GRAB that moment!

That is how I feel about this series of photos taken of Monkey Do and my nephew at my Baby Sister's wedding (she will always be Baby Sister!). My other sister was the one behind the shutter, and I LOVE them. You can see more of her incredible work HERE.

Monkey Do has always been especially affectionate...

Which you can tell by the look of rapture on her face and the obvious pleasure she takes in the kisses.

Thank you so much, JB! I am so glad you grabbed this moment of bliss so that I can enjoy it again and again!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


As we watch the footage of Haiti, I expect that each one of you feel very helpless, as I do, to know what to do to help -except pray. So that is what I have been doing. The need is so big, and the relief seems so slow.
Then today they had another after-shock that measured a 6.0. One thing after another!

A good friend of mine passed along a website for some missionaries she knows from Jacmel, Haiti. It has been so enlightening and wonderful to read how they are doing what they can to distribute food and water to those in their neighborhood. Doing what they can with what they have! IT is wonderful to hear how God is providing for their needs and making it possible to feed, comfort and minister to the people around them! Praise God! He already had some people in place to minister to Haiti. You can read about their work HERE. And you can find out how to donate to their ministry and aid for their community on THIS post.

There are some things that have really stuck out to me in the plethora of information coming from the media, that I would like to mention.

1. A child of 18 months old has seen 10 natural disasters in their life time. Multiple hurricanes and other disasters have hit Haiti with a vengeance.
2. The government was not strong in the first place! And is in no position to organize or distribute aid or relief. There was not a strong infrastructure before, and that has become extremely detrimental in the fight to help the people of Haiti.
3. If you can, you should make donations to your favorite missionary or charity by check or cash if you can. Credit card companies still skim 3% off the top for payment, so you can make sure that more of your donation helps Haiti if you can write a check or make a donation in cash.
4. Planes are clogging the airports! You may have heard rumors that aid planes have been turned away from the Haiti. This is not true. The truth is that there are SO many planes that are sitting there waiting to be unloaded that there is literally not room for any more! They are unloading them as quickly as possible, but lack the resources to work any faster. What is actually happening is that the aid planes are forced to circle for hours, only having to return to Florida or Mexico to re-fuel.
5. Don't send items right now. There is still no comprehensive plan to distribute the items to the population. It would be a terrible thing to have food rotting in a port. Right now, support Haiti through donations and prayers. The time for canned food drives will come.

Lord, we lift our hearts to you, and we pray for you to reach your hand out to the people of Haiti. Strengthen those who are lending aid. Open hearts to your love, and keep our missionaries safe, strong and able to reach to the people of Haiti with their hands -TOUR hands! We pray for strength and wisdom for every set of helping hands there right now. Please help a plan for distribution to develop quickly. Bless the missionaries and workers, and help the people of Haiti. Amen

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Verdict

For Christmas I got a wonderful CD by Mandesa. I don't know if any of you remember her, but she was on American Idol a few years ago. She was really heavy at the time, and Simon insulted her. But she won him over by coming back to him in Hollywood and telling him that his comments were hurtful, but that she chose to forgive him. She did not win American Idol (of course), but has a wonderful ministry in Christian music. As I have been trying to get my song back, I was listening to her CD "Freedom" I was really struck by one song, and I wanted to share the words with you.

Not Guilty

I stand accused
There’s a list a mile long of all my sins
Of everything that I’ve done wrong
I’m so ashamed
There’s nowhere left for me to hide
This is the day I must answer for my life

Refrain 1:
My fate is in the judge’s hands
But then he turns to me and says

I know you
I love you
I gave My life to save you
Love paid the price for mercy
My verdict: Not Guilty!

How can it be?
I can’t begin to comprehend
What kind of grace would take the place for all my sin
I stand in awe now that I’ve been set free
And the tears well up
As I look at that cross
‘Cuz it should’ve been me

My fate was in the nail scarred hands
He stretched them out for me and said

I know you
I love you
I gave My life to save you
Love paid the price for mercy
My verdict: Not Guilty!

I’m falling on my knees to thank You
With everything I am I’ll praise You
So grateful for the words I heard You say

I know you
I love you
I gave My life
I know you
I love you
I gave My life to save you
Love paid the price for mercy
My verdict: Not guilty
Not guilty
Not guilty

You can listen to it HERE.

I think it is really beautiful. Take the time to listen and be blessed.


I am FINALLY able to load pictures on my Blog! It has been a couple of weeks since I have been able to get any to load. So they must have finally fixed it! Yay!

The above picture was taken not quite 2 years ago on a wonderful family trip with my sister, nephew and parents to BEAUTIFUL Mackinaw Island, Michigan. That is a vacation that my girls still talk about and that we all loved SO much. My family really knows how to celebrate together, and show love!

As I was thinking about my lack of plans for New Year's Eve, my mind began to wander back to many years ago!
I am one of four girls and two boys. One of the things that my parents did right was tell the young men interested in us beautiful Schaller girls that we were not allowed to date them, however, they were welcome at our home any Friday or Saturday night for dinner and family time. As a result, our home was always swarming with teenage boys that my Mom and Dad promptly adopted! We also had a bunch of girlfriends hanging around! They showed such love and concern for those young people! They were able to show them what a loving family looks like and steer them firmly to the things of God. I am still good friends with one of those boys that hung around all the time!
But boy, could my mom throw a party!!! She is one of the most talented women I know. She is a gifted writer, eloquent speaker, amazing decorator! She would take all these swatches and lay them next to each other, and I would think, "YUCK! That is going to look terrible!" But when she got it all done, it would be amazing! People would walk in and comment nearly every time on how beautiful it was!
But I remember best how she could really pull off an event!
My all-time favorite New Year's Eve was when Mom got a murder mystery kit from my aunt. She invited all the teenagers over to our house for the entire night, knowing that if they were at our house, then they would not be out getting into trouble. It was a semi-formal even. Young men needed to have slacks and a tie, preferably a jacket as well. And each young lady wore a formal dress. Then she prepared a FIVE COURSE meal for us! The way the murder mystery thing works is that you start with dinner and the murder is announced during dinner. The conversation starter. There is a book for each person, and they each have an identity that belongs to the story. I was Tequila Mockingbird. I remember it after all these years!
The books are segmented. After each course you turn to the next segment and it gives more and more clues toward solving the murder. So while Mom was getting on the next culinary delight, we would retire to the living room and accuse each other if killing the mythical person! It was great.
I was the murderess, by the way. I think Mom did it on purpose! Thanks a lot, Mom!
When all the food was eaten and the mystery solved, we changed in designated areas (well separated), and that was such a clear night! Out in the country in Nebraska there are no street lamps, but that night we did not need them! The moon was SO bright and huge that night, and we bundled up and went out and went sledding at 11pm. We said, "Happy New Year!" under one of the brightest moons I can remember! Then after we were good and cold, we went inside, had hot chocolate, and watched appropriate G-rated movies. I remember we put in Singing In The Rain. They guys got bored really quickly with that and made their way to the kitchen to start a rousing game of Monopoly. I personally think that particular game is tedious and full of monotony, but based on the shouts and ruckus coming from the kitchen, they were having a wonderful time! As the night wound down, the girls crashed upstairs in the room my older sister and I shared, and the boys crashed on the livingroom floor.
We were well fed and well supervised. The rules were strict. No touching. Period. And we would not have DREAMED of anything unseemly!
The next morning, ahem, afternoon, Mom made us whole wheat pancakes, and Daddy put on the bacon and made his famous omelets. I think that almost everyone hung out with us for most of the day: watching movies, laughing and helping Mom with dishes and stuff! It is one of my best memories!
There was no pressure to be part of a "couple", no one was excluded, everyone was welcome and treated by everyone else with respect and kindness.
My mother often told us that those boys were so attracted to my sisters and I because we were so kind to them. She told us that the sweetness we showed towards every person we met is what made ourselves and our home so magnetic to them. That is something else I can thank my parents for. That was something they taught us.

Christmas was always a time of such joy! We would listen to hours and hours of Christmas Music on the record player! You cannot even GET some of that music any more! Then we would sing them when we were driving anywhere together -in 5 part harmony!
Thanksgiving was a time of true gratitude to God for the blessings He gave us. REAL gratitude.
Easter was about the resurrection!

There was love there -an imperfect, sometimes a little dysfunctional, open to anyone who needed a family love. I think over the years of the people who became kids to my Mom and Dad, and I know that the influence they had reached farther than my teenage mind could even understand. Was it perfect? No, but I would not trade my life for the world and I would not change my parents one bit even if I could. They continue to bless me and my family. My mother is so wise and my Daddy is a living example of the leader in the home being the servant of all. They ADORE each other, and it shows in the way they smooch and tease and laugh with each other. Those kids got to see that too, and I am sure that it made a real impression on them!

Music was a BIG part of our lives. Everyone I knew could sing. The church I grew up in sounded like a finely tuned choir. I bet they still do! Every member of both sides of my family is VERY gifted! I though everyone could sing. When people said that they "couldn't carry a tune in a bucket" I thought they were joking, or needed to try harder. It never occurred to me that they might not actually be able to sing! We would sing for church or some special event and we would sing A Capella. I never understood as a child how extraordinary that was! Daddy would joke, "People ask why we always sing A Capella. Well it is just too hard to fit six kids and a piano in the car!"

I think of all the treasures that my parents have given me, compassion is the one I value most. It is something that has to be taught. You aren't born with it. As I look around at people in my generation -and try to teach it to my sweet little Monkeys- I recognize that compassion is a rare commodity. It is easy to have compassion when there is a huge disaster, but what about being able to put yourself in the shoes of another person that you may not see eye-to-eye with. What about letting that person get over on the freeway? What about simply understanding that there may be things that that person is going through that make them act in a seemingly unkind way towards you. That does not mean it is right, but a gentle act of kindness towards that person may change their entire day. Do we see ourselves in every person we meet? Can we feel their pain? We should. Do we really live it?

For all the mistakes that Mom and Dad made, and I bet they can remember more than I can, they did a LOT right. I am SO grateful and would not trade them, or my upbringing, for all the world!

Thanks Mom and Dad! Oh, and Mom? I need some help decorating! Come visit soon. I miss you!

Monkey Mom

Saturday, January 9, 2010


What a new place we are at as a couple and a family. I have never had a career before when pregnant, Larry is laid off, our youngest is going to be four tomorrow, and I am filled with alternating waves of joy and terror when I consider the little one who will arrive in about 2 1/2 months.

It is getting so bad I am developing a nervous tick.

We are starting over from scratch with a new baby!

*tick, tick*

New baby smell.

FOUR weddings to pay for!

*tick, tick*

Tiny little toes.

SO much at work to get ready before I leave on extended maternity!

*tick, tick*

A new little personality to meet!

Gave away most of my baby clothes.

*tick, tick*

House no where NEAR ready.

*tick, tick*

So (ahem) light on my feet? (note sarcasm)

*tick, tick*

*tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, panic and tick*

What? What is that Ma'am? No, there is nothing REALLY wrong with me. I am just a little stressed out because... What is that? No, I DON'T have Turret's Syndrome.

Wait! Where are you going? Ma'am? Ma'am?

*SIGH* Perhaps I should obsess and stress when I am not standing in the baby aisle at Meyer's.

*tick, tick*

Friday, January 1, 2010

Have A Blissful New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! I hope that every one of you has a blessed year.
I decided to ring the New Year in without any parties, snack food or parties. We tend to stay home to avoid the "crazies" out on New Year's Eve. So we stay home, kiss each other, and go to bed. Boring, yes. Satisfactory for now? Absolutely! I don't think this pregnant lady can handle too much excitement right now! I love being home instead.

So as I was lying on the couch last night, after tucking my sweet monkeys in bed, I was thinking that there may be no better way to ring in the new year than with a nice warm bath!

AHHHHHH! Bath, you are bliss! Oh, the thought of settling down in a tub of warm water with a good book (I got Gone With the Wind for Christmas), a few candles, and my MP3 player (I love Ravel's "Bolero" and "Hoedown" from "Rodeo" by Copland. Google them and see what I mean!), and sitting there until I am good and wrinkly -and then sit some more- warms my heart!

They say in real estate that men buy houses based on the garage and women on the kitchen, but I have decided that I will now judge potential homes by the bathroom! It is my dream to have one of those enormous, ancient, clawfoot tubs or an infinity tub (Do you know what that is? The tub fills all the way to the top, and has a reservoir for overflow. You can see a picture of one HERE.) Any home that does not have an adequate tub for some serious, Olympic-quality soaking time will get a resounding "Not that house!" from me! No, NOT really. I am thankful for the places that God provides, but that WILL be a place that I seriously look!

I was going to collect my paraphernalia and enjoy ringing in the new year last night, but fell asleep on the couch watching an old episode of Perry Mason. After Sweet Geek woke me up I went right to bed.

So instead, I waited and went up to the bathroom today and settled in for a soak.

Candles lighted, check.
Book, check.
MP3 player, check.
Monkey Shine occupied, check. ( DON'T need help! Check THIS post for an explanation!)

AHHHH! Water running, waiting for the tub to fill, looking forward to a wonderful, enduring soak. SIGH!

WHAT!? What is THIS?! The tub in only half full and the hot water is gone! Blast lovely, charming, old homes! They do not always have the best and most up-to-date equipment!
So I waited awhile, in hopes that the challenged hot water heater would catch up, but as I periodically checked, it continued to only run COLD water into my half-filled tub!
So I gave up, and determined to enjoy it as much as I could for as long as I could. I didn't crack my book open, I neglected my MP3, and I did not wrinkle even one little bit (that's OK, I have enough of those anyway!)
But I did enjoy my New Year's Day. And as I laid in my almost cold, half-full tub, I thanked God for the kids I have, and for protecting Larry when he fell, and for my family that I miss so very much. I thanked God for the child who kicks me, and for every kick. And I thought how many changes this year is going to bring, and I welcome them! I am excited for those changes, the blessings and challenges they will bring. And I hope that as things change that I change too, and in a way that will bring me closer to God's plan for me. I pray that I will be a better Mom and more loving & understanding wife. And that I won't let pride get in the way of being compassionate and admitting when I am wrong. And I am praying that I won't say things I don't mean, and will think before I speak. No New Year's resolutions, just the Hope of God's continued work in my life and my family's life. He promises that He will complete His work in us, and I am looking forward to the subtle nudging in 2010.
So Happy New Year! I hope that at the end of this year, we will look back and recognize the gentle and patient nudging of the loving Hand of God. I hope that we will all see Him in the way that only God can show himself to each person.
May you have a BLESSED new year!