Friday, December 18, 2009

'tis the Season...

...for Christmas cookies at breakfast? Don't monster cookies qualify as breakfast food? There's a ton of oatmeal, close to a dozen eggs, peanut butter. Never mind all the sugar and m&ms and chocolate chips...and high fructose corn syrup (just kidding, it's light corn syrup).
We're getting so excited for Christmas!!
In the midst of the hustling and bustling I'm trying to be still and know that He is God. However, my mind is always racing even if I'm not. I have so much Christmas shopping to do and other things that I would like to get done, that I have a hard time focusing. My pondering has been during the Bethlehem stories Olives has me read to him. Particularly a book called the Legend of the Candy Cane which goes through the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus. The explanation of the colors is given - red for Jesus' blood and white for his cleansing of our sins. There's an illustration of Jesus bleeding and a guard holding a whip, and Oliver always wants me to 'talk about that mean guy and that blood.' I didn't know what to do with this situation at first, but as he pauses on those pages and asks every time, I pray that it becomes more clear with each narrative. Oli gets a little teary eyed when I tell him that Jesus had to die for our sins (precious). We've had to talk about forgiveness regarding the kids we nanny - you know, when there's hitting and pushing and whatnot. Oh the responsibility of raising this boy is overwhelming. How thankful I am that God is in control and will guide Andrew and me through the process of bringing this little one up. And then we'll have another one to start on.
Suffice it to say, Christmas is a glorious opportunity to convene all wandering thoughts on our Savior,
"Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself
and became obedient to death - even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bow in heaven and on earth
and under the earth, and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord
to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:6-11
Now that's Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

All things old and new

As the year draws to a close, I consider our family's experiences and it seems we're accidentally going green. This term gets me a little riled because it's become such a buzzword. A trend. My dad has never not been green, so it's something I grew up with (usually dragging my feet in protest of the inconvenience). It's not a new, clever, innovative idea, but a habit some have been in since the cold war. I agree that being good stewards of our resources is smart, reinventing used's good. The terminology is what gets me. "Going green." It's a celebrity band wagon. Regardless... this is what we've recycled this year, some with a chuckle:
-our basement (what used to be a dirty, dirt floor dungeon was transformed into temporary living quarters for our family of three)
-the 1997 Mazda 626 that was my sister-in-law, Jessica's (during whose ownership the car weathered hurricane Katrina), then my dad's, now ours
-our house
-about a million and a half aluminum and tin cans, glass jars, milk jugs
-all of the appliances in our make-shift kitchen (in the laundry room)
-the leaves in our yard... ah...I guess we'll be composting them right where they fell
-Oliver's garage sale wardrobe
-so many old things in our house
The thing I'm hoping to add to this list in the new year is my attitude. Not exactly recycle it, but renew it.
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
So I'm hoping that Jesus will be my motivation to do what's right, not pop-culture.
Here's a picture of our home away from our home.

O oliver I.

Looking and sounding so disappointed in himself, Oliver says regretfully, "I can't even read."
Oh buddy, you are two whole years old, so it's about time you learned.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bossy big brother-isms

Oliver has a new one. When asked, "Is your baby going to be a baby sister or a baby brother?" if he doesn't say sister/Blackie, he may say, "A baby brother. We're gonna name him Popsicle Icicle." I have no idea where this came from, as it is with most of what comes out of his mouth. There's an extensive list of words we can't say - the words that I've heard roll off his tongue and make me wince. The problem with me telling him we don't say 'stupid'... now I'm not allowed to say it either. The preschool police will have you eating your words if 'shut up' crosses your lips. "We don't say shut up, Mom." Thanks Olives. Another good one: Dad called Oliver a big brother. Oliver responded, "Good job, Grampa."
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Thursday, November 12, 2009


I loath technology. This may come as a surprise since it's the catalyst to Blogging, but I would give up my computer if only we could go back to the times of pen and paper (this wouldn't be difficult since I haven't had a computer in my home for a year and a half). The written word. I would love to sit down at a computerless desk and draft a personal note. That concept is out of date. Life is too busy to spend time being personal. I feel like Cathleen Kelly's boyfriend, Frank, on You've Got Mail.
Frank: Name one good thing that has come from technology.
Cathleen's reply, ripe with whit: Electricity.
That's one.
Anyway, at the top of my hate list has been, since it's $500 premier in 2007, the iPhone. I make fun of people who have them. I say they're unnecessary and dull. I'm thinking people don't need to be THAT connected ALL THE TIME. Imagine my lack of integrity when, upon going to AT&T for a plan renewal and new phone, I walked out with none other than...the iPhone of my nightmares. Even as the salesman was showing Andrew and me all the features, I kept saying I hated touch screen and I really didn't want one.
Three days later I'm still feasting on humble pie.
I will stand by my conviction about personal contact, however. There is a time and a place for everything - texting and talking, emailing and snail-mailing.
We've been studying the Gospel of John this year in Bible study and I am amazed at how deliberate Jesus in coming in contact with people. He never avoided a Divine appointment, but engaged in thought provoking conversation, displaying love and care to the 'least of these.' Even though taking the long way around Samaria would have saved him the trouble of talking to the troubled woman at the well, he went through Samaria for just that reason. Because He took the time, not only the woman, but also the majority of the town, were saved. Wow. Since I don't thrive on communication with the outside world (outside my world of Andrew, Olives, and our families), I only hope that I can be aware of the opportunities God gives me to brighten a day, change a life.
One thing's bothering me about my phone still, though. I can't get the silly thing to Blog. Any help?

Friday, October 30, 2009


this is carol, elizabeth asked me to post a few photos. here they's all still in the "installing" stage...
this is the main floor vanity and cupboard above the toilet...

this is the upstairs vanity and linen closet...made with old barn wood and sink that was on the property already.
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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Congratulations to my cousin Angie and her husband Dave on the arrival of Quinn Michael!! I'm hoping that the excitement will distract Auntie Jolene from the fact that I've no pictures to post today...
Speaking of family excitement, Oliver has something to say--
"I'm gonna be a big brudder!"
Yeah, 'mommy has a baby growing in her's belly.' All three of us are filled with enthusiasm at the thought of this new babe!...though I'm not sure telling Oliver so early on was a good idea. He keeps wondering when's it gonna be here? Not till May, Bud. The snow will come, stay for what seems like forever, then melt, then it might snow again... then we'll have a baby. Andrew and I ask him whether it'll be a brother or a sister. Sister. What should we name her? "BLACKY!!" So far he's named a kitty Meow Meow and another Basketball. Ironically enough, Blacky is the name of a family friend's cat, so we're loosely keeping with a theme. 'Theme: Cat' is not very enduring. His vote is likely to be lost in the final count...
Other than that, we're just, you know, 'plugging away' at the house. (What does that even mean?) Working hard. Trying to get outside painting and trimming and building wrapped up. Not exactly the most construction-friendly fall we're experiencing here what with mud up to our eyeballs. Thankfully we've had some amazing helpers lately. Who would assist someone in the unkindest chore of all - outdoor painting - if they weren't forced? My mother-in-law, Bonnie, father-in-law, Bruce, and cousin Megan, that's who.
Andrew has been working on and is nearly done with both bathroom vanities. We're actually having a little competition, as I designed one vanity, and Andrew the other. If you've ever seen Design Star on HGTV, that's sort of the idea. By the way, I am the next Design Star. We're going to have a vote on whose cabinets are cooler. Andrew is building them both, but I have gotten in on the mindless work of sending ALL the wood through the plainer and sander, then sanding by hand with the orbital. Andrew's piece, for Oliver's bathroom upstairs, is made of old wood I tore out of our barn. When we started machining the boards the whole shop smelled like cow pies. Miraculous... I don't think a cow has lived in that barn for 20 years. That's rich. My pieces (a vanity and stool topper) were inspired by an antique bar my cousin Kelly found under mountains of oil in her garage - emerald green with a wood top. a different way than the cow trough episode.
I hope to have pictures ready and running soon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

A long time comin

Approximately two weeks ago the Toftnesses spent the first official night in the new house. As I've mentioned, we'd spent the night there before, but since that was more along the lines of boundary waters camping rather than civilized living, that night was very unofficial. Our lifestyle is still quite primative, as we live in the basement out of cardboard boxes and suitcases - doing dishes in the laundry tub - but it's such a sweet feeling to know we won't be moving again. Thank the Lord, we're home.
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Monday, August 17, 2009

Alive and ..welllll....

Still living. Yes. It's hard to enjoy life when it's racing by so fast and working a person so hard, but we're managing.
Just today I prayed out loud, "Lord please come back. NOW." That extreme reaction was triggered by my insensibility: I brought Oliver into a second hand store that was quite literally stacked from floor to ceiling with mystery for his little sparkling eyes. Imagine being a miniature person - there he is, all three feet of him, thinking surely the Lord did come back and now here's heaven. Pretending is his favorite passtime, so I can only guess what was going on in his wild head. I made him fold his hands so he wouldn't touch anything - I had to think quickly of an alternative to putting his grubby paws in his pockets as he had none. He told me, "But Mom, we're not praying." We left after some attempted browsing without breaking or buying anything...surprisingly..we're a wicked combination. Whatever was I thinking?..
Progression on the house is happening, it just seems like a turtle slowly plodding. We're hoping to move in soon, waiting to have a working bathroom. It may seem petty, but earlier this spring, in our excitement that we may actually live in this house someday, we rushed in. Fools do that. We had the brilliant idea of staying the night at the house. There's insulation, what more could you need? Hm, let's think. A TOILET. Since that sleepless, frigid night that involved a flat air mattress and a trip to the old fashioned outhouse at 3 in the morning, I put my foot down. No more slumberless parties until there's no flashlight or purell required in the wee hours.
We've also been busy on a much lighter remodel at my parents' house in Deerwood. It's turned out fantastically. When I readapt to the blogging way of life, I'll post a link - the house is for sale, so tell all your friends.
Lots more happening, but I should catch some Zzs while they're still floating by. I'll post pictures soon.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mused and amused

One blog a month = wicked boring, but reality.
This morning at 6:30 I smashed up my car. Still waiting on word of whether or not it's totalled. A little about this car: it's been a thorn in my side since I drove it off the lot. It's a grand car- attractive, fast, loaded... just unnecessary for a car of mine to have all these attributes. When buying the car, as we were talking with the salesman (stereotypical used car dealer, btw), God was speaking to my spirit telling me this wasn't a wise choice. It was too late for me by that point though. My heart was lost to it. I had been dreaming of this charcoal 2000 Passat wagon since the first time I clamped eyes on it a few weeks earlier. My heart wasn't open to truth and wisdom, it was open to greed. I love cars. My brother Ise had me playing car-naming games since I was a tot, but the best thing I had owned until last June was a '96 Jeep Cherokee (a '90 Geo Prism preceding that. Jealous?). Wasn't it time for me to live the dream? Here's the thing about the dream -- the summer of 2008 was a high rolling summer for us with buying a house and a car... but looking back it was the most miserable time in my life. I had mono, which was more burdensome than anything I have ever experienced, twisting my body and my emotions into a mess. A major piece to the misery puzzle was trading in a perfectly functional, reliable, faithful old Jeepster for a newer, more attractive model...fully equipped with a 6 disk changer, leather/heated seats, and a monthly payment. Oh the foolishness of me.
Andrew and I are currently involved in a Bible study that's teaching us what the Bible says about money. "Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything. Riches and honor come from you alone, and you are the Ruler of all mankind; your hand controls power and might and it is at your discretion that men are made great and given strength." 1 Chronicles 27:11, 12
So as we learn God's principles in handling money, we're seeing how doorknobbish some of our choices have been.
In brainstorming about how to humbly get ourselves out of this vehicle pickle with as little humiliation as possible, we thought the best way would be to total it and use in insurance money to buy something smaller and cheaper - a Geo, perhaps? So, this morning as we were driving into town, we made up this whole scenario of how our car could get totalled without any injury. It involved a grocery store parking lot, an old guy who didn't know the difference between 'D' and 'R', said old guy backing into our parked, passenger-less car, and an explosion. *The old man in this story was not harmed in any way. Ironically enough, just minutes after relating this story to my sister Anna via cell phone, I'm suddenly in and out of a major washout on a gravel road, not sure what just happened, wondering where the airbag shot my phone off to. Mission: accomplished...accidentally.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Oliver has successfully reached another milestone. Aside from turning two last month, he's now entered the world of "Why?" As he asks me, I ask anyone who will listen - WHY? Why does he throw fits at church? Why does he obey me nicely (if not surprisingly) all day, until we get to the checkout in the grocery store, where he refuses to look at the cashier smiling down nicely at him, and instead grunts, screams, and tries to flip out of the cart? Why does he still wake me up in the middle of the night? asking me to find his nuk? Why can't I find the guts to take away his nuk? Why do I love him so much? The answer to all of these questions is: because.
"Because God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
So even though Olives makes me feel like I'm losing my mind, I love him.
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Thursday, January 22, 2009


Here's forward motion- two days of installing windows, and Andrew and Chris have it just about licked!
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Merry Christmas! record keeping skills via blog are disappointingly belated. I miss having my computer at home. (I'm even easily forgetting how slow and tired that machine was, only having fond memories of my time punching away at its keys.) But here I am, online at last, though momentarily.
Short, sweet update: our Christmas was great, New Years, too. Next week Oliver will be two. Our house is coming along swimmingly - not speedily, but swimmingly. We're loving the snow and ice, but there would be little chagrin if summer came tomorrow!
Vocab word for the day -- 'skulduggery'. It means mean trickery. I found it while searching my dictionary for a word that I've learned doesn't exist. What a score!Posted by Picasa