Friday, December 23, 2011


Please pray for my dear friend Laura.

Please scroll down my sidebar and click on her name.

Her 3 year old son died suddenly two days ago.

I don't understand.  I question how God could take our babies before we've had enough time to love them well.  I struggle with wanting to ask so many questions, at the same time, I do not want to minimize God's sovereignty.  My Bible tells me that every judgement of His is right and true and pure and just.  My spirit tells me I believe it.....but still.  Why, God? Why now, why at Christmas? Why ever??

My soul aches deeply for my friend and the new world she will have to navigate in the coming days and weeks and months.  I wish with all that is in me that she wasn't asked to be the new mom in the Grief Club.  

Please, you mamas out there, please know that there is another mama in another state who is broken tonight.  Please, ask God to help you shoulder some of her burden, even though you don't know her.  Please get on your knees, go into your prayer closets for her.  Let's be the Body of Christ in action tonight, and in the coming days and weeks.  It will not be an easy road for her to navigate.....but I believe that God may make us cry and hurt and scream, but He also wipes tears and salves hurts and He hears and responds to every scream.

I love my friend Laura.  She is one of the sunniest people I know, despite the hand that she has been dealt in life.

Oh, and another thing: She's 9 months pregnant.  She needs the Lord to hide her under His wings.

Please pray with me.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

About Me

This post is going to be full of things you just always wanted to know about me.

Or maybe things you didn't want to know!

Whatever.  If you read my blog, I have to believe that you want to know more about me and what makes me tick. So here we go!

I despise divinity.  You know, that white candy that makes its appearance every Christmas season.  I loathe it.  Hate it.  I think it tastes like sweet play dough! Funny thing, it's my husband's favorite.

I think I'm going to buy a new perfume!! Now, if you know me, you know I'm a big Liz Claiborne girl.  I've been wearing Liz for like at least 15 years now...or more! I used to love Embrace Today by Mary Kay, but sadly I cannot find this perfume anymore except on eBay! So, I have two friends who smell absolutely scrumpalicious, and yes, I did ask what they were wearing and they both have the same perfume! It's called Coco Chanel Mademoiselle...and it's SPENDY! But I found a bottle in my price range online.  It's a warm, spicy, deep and rich scent reminiscent of Fall.  First, I have to make sure it smells good on me.  Believe me, it's fabulous!

I love Greek food.  Period.  I wish we had a good Greek restaurant around here.  My husband hates Greek food.

Wait, I think I'm just a food junkie! I love good, good food, and I'm not picky at all.

I have never done any kind of Christmas goodie baking.  I just can't stand the frantic, rushed we-have-to-make-14-dozen-of-these that comes with tons of goodie baking.  My family hates this.  

I'm not a good dessert or goodie cook.

Sweets are not my thing.  I'm a savory, real food girl. My husband has a sweet tooth that won't quit. Boo.

I do not like to be talked to while I'm in labor.  Especially in the last stages of labor.  And no music for me either.  I just want to be left all by myself during labor, thankyouverymuch! And I cannot abide the sight of all the stuff that comes out during labor and after.  I have never watched myself give birth. Eww.

I'm a Goodwill junkie.  And I simply adore a good, high quality children's resale shop.  Dressing myself and my children, head-to-toe, in all Goodwill or resale items is my modus oporandi. 

I simply adore coffee.  I love the smell of it.  I love the taste of it.  But I hardly ever drink it straight up.  I'm a decaf girl.  And I'm also a coffee snob.

My family thinks I'm snooty.  That's okay, someone in this family has to be!! Ha.  I do have very, very good taste in things and I am very picky about what goes on me and my family and what goes into my house! That isn't to say that I only buy expensive things......

I have never really had the chance to make a nice, beautiful home for us.  I have never shopped for home decor or furnishings.  Our homes that we have lived in have been peaceful and relaxed but never beautiful.  I do hope that changes soon because I feel that a beautiful home makes everyone happy and serene and relaxed and contributes to wanting to STAY there during the day.

I can't take a simple picture with any kind of camera to save my life!!! If you ask me to take a picture of you or anything around you, be forewarned, and if you still want me to, then it's your fault if and when I ruin your picture!

I have really nice handwriting.  I always have.  Not trying to be conceited, it's just a fact.  And I adore writing letters.

I'm a gravy addict! I love gravy on lots of things.

I wear skirts all of the time except to bed.  I love skirts. Long ones are my favorite.  I am in the preliminary stages of searching for a long brown corduroy skirt.

I once looked in the windows of a Pottery Barn store.  Love at first sight! Instant bliss.  A catalog can cause me to spend half the day in a stupor of ecstasy! I think that kind of stuff, that style, is my thing. Texture and clean, straight lines and lots and lots of candles is just my style.

I am the first and last girl my husband has ever kissed. And he is the most marvelous, most awesome kisser in the entire Universe!!! His kisses still make my knees turn to water and my tummy go topsy-turvy, even after 23 years of being in love and 18 years of being married!!! I think he's the sexiest man alive and I love to see him across a crowded room and know that he's alllll MINE!!!

My favorite candle scent is Clean Cotton by Yankee.  And I am a Yankee candle girl.

I haven't dyed my hair for 7 years.  This dark, dark brown is my natural color.  I don't think I'm going to start coloring my hair anytime soon.  

I had heart surgery when I was 20 months old for PDA, otherwise known as Patent Ductus Arteriosis, which is a heart valve that is permanently open, causing too much blood to flow through your heart.  I still bear the foot long scar under my left shoulder blade.  That's the only time I've ever had surgery.

I didn't walk until I was almost 2 and a half.  My feet turned in so far that my big toes touched each other and so I had to wear what was called, back in the 70's, a Charlie Brown brace on my legs each night.

I moved to Washington State from Southern California when I was 13.

I deeply love the ocean.  The ocean is intertwined into what makes me happy.

I have been singing since I was about 6 years old, in one form or another.

Someday I would love to tour Europe, especially France.

I would love and almost crave to have twins again. Or triplets.

I have a secret, deep desire to be fluent in French.  It was my favorite class in high school.  I took it until my school district cut French 3 in order to ensure the survival of the high school football team.  Bah!

I cook with wine almost every day.

I'm going to write my own cookbook.  I love to create my own recipes and take recipes and fool around with them to make it my own.  I have a weird ability to know what tastes good together and I often almost.....well.....for lack of a better description......I almost hear voices telling me what to do in the kitchen.  Hey, I never said I was normal!!

I'm fiercely loyal and faithful.  But I'm not very trusting.

I suffer from clinical depression and have since I was 12 years old.  Yes, it stinks.

I often feel overwhelmed and like I am way too small for the big job I have been given.  

I hate the Wii.  I have never played it.

I love Balderdash.

I wish I had a home library, complete with leather furniture and a big ol' desk.

Okay, I'm getting carried away! That's enough.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Long Thoughts


I'm Leanne.

I'm Leanne and I have 8 children.

Yes, 8.


Did you say I must be crazy??

Did you say I must be SuperMom?

You ask me if I'm filled with patience?

Wait, you said I must be perfect!

And I haven't answered your questions or addressed your comments, but I want to now.

Let me tell you that I've heard alllllll of the comments on our Big Family.  And my sanity.  And my marriage. And my sex life.  And craziness and patience and perfection and wait, HOW do I do it all??

So, here's my commentary on all of that.

The answer is, I don't do it all! And no, the last time I checked, I wasn't perfect and still am not.  I don't take meds for anxiety.  I feel totally, reasonably sane.  I'm not crazy.....

I'm just Called.

I'm doing what I personally, before the first star was breathed into the sky, was called to do.

I do not do everyone's laundry.  I don't wash everyone's dishes, 24 hours a day/7 days a week! I don't.

Gals, I've heard it all.  I've been on the receiving end of some pretty blatant, pretty rude, pretty prying comments.  Like:

"Are these alllllll YOURS!!! Shoot, I can't even handle the one (or two) I've got!"

"Did you birth ALLLL of these YOURSELF???"

"Wow, you must be perfect/crazy/SuperMom....(fill in the blank)"

"Haven't you ever heard of Birth Control?"

"Do you know what causes that?"

"Are these all yours AND your husband's?"

And on and on and on it goes......the truth is, and the answer I have learned to give, is that yes, I do know how this (as though having children, and lots of them, is some sort of horrible disease) happens, and I rather like the process!!! (wink wink)

The thing is, I'm not filled with patience.  I'm not a saint.  I'm not gracious or perfect or a shining example of Christianity! But listen, Christ in me IS!


The reason I do what I do is because He has called me to this time and this place, to be the Mama of these kids. ALLLL of these kids.

And I don't do it by myself! He walks with me, every step of my day.  HE'S the one who enables me to get up in the morning and put my Game Face on and raise this Family He has so graciously provided me with! HE'S THE REASON!

I'm not crazy, I'm perfectly in His Will.  He's my sanity.  He's holding me! He gives me grace for every single moment of my days.  It's all Him. 

Yes, I lose it! Sometimes, I have days where I lose it quite often!  I yell.  I threaten.  I get mad.  I even thrown Fits! (GASP!) But.....I'm forgiven. I ask forgiveness from my kids, sometimes several times a day!  They forgive me and He forgives me, and His grace fills in the rest.

He has such overflowing, abundant grace for me.  It's the ONLY way I can do this, because I'm nothing on my own.  HE makes me the mama I am!! I don't magically step out of my bedroom in the morning, make up on and Chanel wafting about with each move of my jewel-laden arm, to float through our days with perfect poise and control.


The thing is, we moms like to kill one another! With our expectations of each other.  With our sly, sideways glances when Play Group comes over and there's dust on the mantel.  With our clicking, sharp tongues.  With our rude, thoughtless comments.  We tear and thrash and bruise.

You do it.  I do it.  

Probably the most common comment I get, when I'm out-and-about, is the you-must-be-Supermom flotsam.  And I used to get so upset, privately, when I was back home, because oh boy, they just didn't understand! But now, I just laugh and say.......

It's Christ in me Who enables me to do what He has divinely called me to do!

Our God is not a God who holds us by one of our squirming, sweaty arms over the rising waters of our destiny and drops us.  Oh no. Haven't you heard that He has us, you and me, right in the palm of His hand, and that nobody, no enemy or peril, can ever pluck us out??

He didn't call me to be the mom of a large family and then just check out of my life.  

He's alllll over me! He's behind me and before me and under me and above me and beside me and around me!

I suffer from severe depression and doubt and panic and blah blah blah, and I've even wanted, so badly and so deeply, to quit.  I've wanted to walk out on my precious Husband and my fabulous kids because I've frequently felt so inadequate to do this thing He wants me to do.....when I'm trying to do it without Him! It's not something I'm proud of! But I am proud of the fact that I didn't walk out.  I didn't walk out on my kids or my husband or my God.

So, if you ever wanted to ask me, face to face or in an email, why or how I do what I do, the answer is, I don't! He does it through me.  As I set about to do what He wants me to do, He provides it all.

HE provides it all.  

I'm not crazy because He keeps me sane.  I'm not full of patience because I don't have to be. I just ask for Him to fill me with His grace.  

On a practical note, my kids are well behaved because we've taught them to be.  They aren't the bosses of the home and never have been.  They obey.  We don't let them push the envelope very far! We discipline them.  

Telling moms that they must be SuperMom is unfair.  The bottom line is this:

If you are doing what God has called you to do then He offers every kind of gift and resource for you to do just that, with victory! And in my opinion, the role of a woman is to be the keeper of her home.  I'm just trying to do that, and He's being allowed to do it through me.

And that, my friends, is what I say now when I am bombarded with rude, ignorant, inappropriate comments about my family.  

The End.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mary's Baby

The Christmas season is upon us.

After a whole year, which seemingly sped by, Christmas is upon us again.

I'm thinking of Christmas in a different way this year, and it is partially due to the words that the pastor at our new church said this morning.

In essence, he invited us to forgo the hustle-and-bustle of the holiday season, to lay aside the commercialized busyness of Christmas and to enter into the season carefully.


He admonished us to actually be still and careful about this Christmas season in order to gain a new revelation of Him.  I'd never thought of that before, but now, now that his words have really sunk into my heart, I'm thinking of Mary. Jesus' mother.  The girl who gave birth to this Saviour.

I'm thinking that Mary was, first and foremost, as a soon-to-be Mama, just ecstatic to be with child.  I mean, of course she was scared and anxious and confused, after all, she was already promised to Joseph, and now she was pregnant out of wedlock by the Holy Spirit! Who was going to believe that?? But she was going to be a Mama.  And after she got used to that fact, after she had wrapped her mind around the amazing and astounding details, I think she gave herself permission to love the growing baby in her womb.

Does this post seem disrespectful? I'm sorry, but I've just been thinking a lot about Mary.

Look, she was going to be a Mama! And mamas the world over, no matter what century or time period or income class they happen to be in, mamas love their babies.  Mamas are consumed with thoughts of their babies, with the anticipation and the excitement of preparing to welcome a new life!

Was Mary any different??

I believe that Mary felt about Jesus in her womb just like you and I do when we're with child! I believe she caressed her growing belly and talked to her baby and sang to Him.  I can see her feeling and watching His every movement with wonder and awe, not because He was going to be the Saviour of the World, but first and foremost, because He was.....her baby.

Her Baby.  Her sweet, tiny, much loved and highly anticipated Baby.

I believe that after the angel appeared to her with the most stunning proclamation she'd ever heard, I believe that she tucked the news away in her deepest heart and went about the business of just loving Jesus.

Just loving Him.

Because even though she was the Mother of the Son of God, she probably didn't see it that way.  She nursed Him and bathed Him and changed His diaper and hugged Him and kissed his owies and cleaned His dirty clothes because He was her Son.  Yes, He was Saviour, Redeemer, Ransomer of us all, but first and foremost.....He was her Baby.

I feel very close to Mary this season as I think about her softly singing lullabies to her baby.  Mary takes an important role in my life this season as I think of her as a mama.  It's such a sweet picture for me, to think of Jesus being cradled gently and rocked back and forth in Mary's arms.  Mary wasn't divine, she was just the vessel that God chose to work through.  Mary wasn't super spiritual, she was just a willing girl who God saw fit to hold the most amazing Gift we've ever known.

The fact that Mary responded to the angel, and to God, with such submission and humility makes me want to, as a mother, respond in kind to Him too.  I want that sweet, gentle, lowly Jesus in my life too, to infuse me with His humbleness and to flow from me for all to see. 

I'm contemplating this season carefully this year.  I'm slowing down from frantic frenzy and being still this year.  I'm hoping to offer myself as a vessel, just as Mary did, for whatever God wants to do in me.  I'm quietly and keenly aware of the Baby Jesus, Emmanuel, I AM, in my life and asking Him....

Come, gentle Jesus, and may I be be, in Your sight, just a tiny bit as favored as Mary as I allow the sweetness and peace and beauty of the season to wrap around me and engulf me and Lord, may that faithfulness that is Your signature emanate from me.

May it be unto me as You have said.



Thursday, November 24, 2011

I'm Back!!

Hello out there!!!!

Are you all still there??

I'm back online!! You're either thinking "O No!" Or "O Yes!" I do so hope it's the latter.

I'm back online after being off for about 6 weeks.  And let me tell you, the past six weeks have not been my favorite! But here we are, in our Hometown again, in Our House!!!

I noticed that I lost a follower.....whoever you are, please come back! I have so so SO many things to post about that I hope you won't be disappointed.  

  We had our first Thanksgiving in which I cooked (almost) the whole meal myself, with Hannah making the potatoes and Samantha making two pumpkin pies.  It was just the 10 of us this year, praise our merciful Father.  I felt no stress, no anxiety, no pressure to perform as I got up this morning, early, and began to cook.  It was actually the most relaxed holiday we've ever had, in my opinion.   We were able to be very relaxed and low-key this year.  Our menu was turkey, ham, cheesy potatoes, stuffing with sausage, mushrooms and onions, Brazilian cheese puffs, green beans and corn, and gravy.  It was all scrumpalicious!! It was the most peaceful, most laid back, nicest holiday I can remember.  When dinner was over and everything was cleaned up, we watched The Lion King on VHS (GASP! Yes, we still have a VHS player) and then we played Yahtzee, which I royally lost, big time.  Now we're doing a final clean up and getting ready for bed.  Bliss, I tell ya!!

So, now that I'm back online, and now that I plan on being around regularly, let me ask a few questions: Do you stress out about the holidays?  Do you go all out and fancy? Do you host gatherings? Or do you just do you and your family?? I'm looking forward to hearing about how you do things around the holidays.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

My Loves

So, to my knowledge, I've never done a post on my favorite things.  Or things that I love.  I know, I know, you all are just panting to delve into these subjects with me!! Ha.  I have some things that I really, really love and I want to share those things.  They've made my life happier!! Here goes!

 Gals, I simply adore this stuff.  I know, it's got a strange name! But this, Yes to Carrots Daily Cream Facial Cleanser, is absolutely decadent! It's wonderful! You see, I have really dry skin.  And I've tried many cleansers and moisturizers that make high and lofty promises and just never, never deliver.  I've tried expensive things and cheap things.  I had already been using the Yes to Blueberries stuff (they have other products for different skin care needs) for my "aging" skin, but when we went down the coast on our vacation a few weeks ago, I forgot my skin stuff.  So....I had to go buy some! I knew I liked this brand.  And so, I decided to buy a tube of this stuff.  HUGE tube, $7.99.  Sweet price.  This stuff delivers.  Let me tell you though that I'm not consistent with my skin care regimen at all, but this stuff makes it really easy and fun to turn over a new leaf! It smells gorgeous, sweet and light, and as soon as I put it on my face it disappeared! My poor face just ate it right up! And it felt like a tall, cool drink of water on my dry, stressed skin.  I was raving about it to my girls as soon as I put it on! And it only takes a small amount because it's so rich and creamy, so I know this will last me at least 6 months! Run out right now and get some! I got mine at Fred Meyer in the health food section, but I bet they have this stuff at Kroger or, you can order it online at

And this moisturizer? Lush! Wonderful.  A small pot of Yes to Carrots Rich Moisture Day Cream runs $14.99 at Freddy's, but let me tell you, I use less than a pea sized amount, I mean, like just a teenie dab, and I smooth this stuff all over my face, and even on my throat.  This will last me at least 6 months too.  I feel immensely hydrated all day after using this, even under my make up, which can tend to dry me out, but I never feel dry after using this.  It also smells gorgeous but not too heavy, and all of the ingredients in it are either organic or totally natural, nothing is artificial, which is very important to me.

I also use this stuff after each shower, because like I said, I have very dry skin, especially since we now use well water, and it's hard well water.  This pot of Super Rich Body Butter cost $12.99 for 8.45 ounces or so, but I got 40% more for free when I ordered online, and this has lasted me literally more than 6 months.  It's really good to use before bed.  I love this stuff! This says it's for very dry skin, so it's really moisturizing and a bit thick, but I love it because it sinks right into my skin right away, and it's never greasy or sticky.  Again, it smells very sweet and light, but the smell goes away and I find it doesn't interfere with my perfume.

I know, it's just a pot of nondescript powder....but ladies, this is Bare Escentuals face powder, and it revolutionized my life! I've been wearing BE makeup for a couple of years now.  I had stopped wearing makeup because it irritated my skin so badly, and I didn't like the feeling of anything I tried.  And I've tried it all, gals, from Clinique to Neutrogena to Almay to Cover Girl and anything in between!!! It was love at first brush for me.  I find it's very inexpensive, especially because it lasts so long.  And their eye makeup and mascara? The best! I have to be really careful what I put on my eyes because I had a severe eye condition when I was pregnant with Sofia almost 7 years ago, but this stuff is the best.  Really.  Prices vary, but I use it all, eye shadow, lip gloss, mascara, cheek color.....yes! The face powder is $20, and I think Macy's has a counter.

I couldn't get a pic of my next love, but it's so luxurious and so yummy! It's Bare Escentuals 100% Natural Lip gloss.  Love.  True Love! I have two tubes of this stuff and my favorite one, Cassis, has lasted me for over a year!! They're $15 each, and they smell like vanilla and the formula is rich and thick without being sticky or gummy.  I keep them in my purse.

Okay, I think that's it for today.  This post is just getting tooooo loooong!! 

Just let me say that I know everything seems expensive, girls.  And now you may think I'm snooty and exclusive and like to spend lots and lots of money on things, but please, don't read me wrong here! I won't apologize for the things I use because I have to use them.  My face doesn't like anything else, and my family is dedicated to using organic and natural products, and supporting small companies that deliver on that.  I spend the money because I hardly ever have to buy makeup and skin care, since all of this stuff I've posted about lasts so doggone long. And my husband wants me to and lets me.  My skin is a lot happier! And, if you like to shop online, there's oodles of deals out there.  There are all kinds of discounts and free shipping on different sites.  I do hope you can try some of these things and please, let me know how you like them!!