Monthly Archives: May 2013

one year.

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One year since I plunged head first into something I had never done before.

One year since I mumbled and stumbled my way through my first gathering.

One year since I became a best friend to my computer and order entry, which is not a gift of mine by the way.

One year since I became a part of a “marketplace” ministry.

One year since I began relationships with many new people which have become dear friends to me.

One year since I mailed out hundreds of invites announcing my new found passion.

One year ago today, since I said yes to Blessings Unlimited.

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I honestly never dreamt I would still be talking about and excited about this new journey. It is ALL about the relationships. The people who continue to love the products as much as I do that energize me to continue. The message of Truth written and portrayed in each and every single product we sell–energize me and inspire me to share. I know I had a goal for myself, that Blessings Unlimited would become as common and well known as Tupperware. I’m not sure we’re quite there, but because of my amazing customers, hostesses, friends, and family~~”Blessings” have been shared in our small, but mighty community and beyond.

I find it absolutely SO fitting that bright and early (9:00 am) tomorrow JUNE 1ST, will launch a HUGE SEMI-ANNUAL Sale. I would like to think of it as a way of thanking all of you for your immeasurable support this past year. There is no better way than this sale. I remember it from last year. It’s crazy insane. The prices—over 50 items on the flyer—and up to 81% off!!!!

I know they didn’t do this sale in honor of my anniversary date. But it was a nice touch, don’t you think? Quantities are limited. So you must act fast. Flyer will post on my website and facebook page and prices will be in effect beginning at 9:00 am tomorrow morning. NONE of us know what is on this sale. It gives me some anxiety because I know these sale items will be discontinued. Making room for the new!! These next couple of months are so exciting…

How to order? Call me. Text me. Email me: ssnkklk@gmail.com Or visit my personal website and order on your own: www.myblessingsunlimited.net/STEPHSBLESSINGS. I am going to be cheering on a certain little boy in his basketball tourney all day, but will have the IPad close by, I promise.

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givin’ this one to the boys…

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After dropping my children off at the community swimming pool for the first time this year, the ugly truth reared its head. There was no getting around it, my kids needed new swimming suits. Landon’s suit looked eerily similar to Steve’s high school basketball shorts (think SHORT!), Kourtney’s swim top was held together by black duct tape, Kassidy’s top did not stay up, and Natalie’s swim bottoms sagged to her knees.

Ok, so it’s inevitable. We are shopping for suits. All 5 of us. And you know the great debate on who is easier to raise—boys or girls? I am here to tell you. The BOYS have got this one. And I’ve got a picky boy. I am not exaggerating when I say that Landon picked out his suit within two minutess of walking into the store. And I am not exaggerating when I say the girls went through 4 different stores, 8 different purchases, two returns, and over 2 hours of our day.

Praising and thanking God for boys.

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seriously–do I look THAT ignorant?

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I am guessing piles of laundry are not anything new for any one of us. We all have to do laundry. Some of us do a better job in keeping up with it than others. I have tried everything, honestly. And despite Steve’s theory of using our washer and dryer more efficiently by waiting for bigger loads—I still think my theory of a load of laundry a day keeps our home running more smoothly. Because seriously? A family of six ALWAYS has big loads.

My kids do a fairly good job of bringing their dirty clothes, folding and putting away. Some days are better than others. I have known clean socks to take up residence in a basket hidden behind a couch. And although they do fairly well with laundry, there is always room for improvement. And summer is a beautiful time to implement excellence in the laundry department. Especially when in 4 years Natalie will be going to college—oh my goodness—and will need to have a clear sense of how to do laundry. And Kass the year after. Ok, I’m stopping because I can’t let myself go there…

Anyway, if you want to make this momma REALLY irritated, there is one thing you can do. And without naming any names, there is a particular child in this family that has mastered the art of laundry irritation. You see the piles I’m beginning to form to smack down this day? There is a pile among them that is of clean clothes. Not just the only been worn once clean. NO! It’s the I tried this on and decided not to wear it clean.

I may overlook some things that go through our home living with four kids. But I am pretty acutely aware of what they are wearing or not wearing. And when I see nice church outfits, winter puffy vests, and long boot socks, and a Christmas sweatshirt at the end of May? Well, you can’t fool me children. Sorry. I am not that ignorant. And I believe a certain child of mine has come to that realization this morning. It’s no fun taking a pile of already clean clothes back down to be dealt with when putting it away the first time would have been so much easier.

 

Ok–that’s off my chest. I am better now. And can’t wait to get started!!! {ha.}

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this is your warning.

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I’ve tried to tell people, really I have. And still, despite warnings, this little boy of ours is invited to SLEEPOVERS. It’s not that he gets homesick or wets the bed…no, it’s simply that he CAN NOT go to sleep. I always cringe when I get the reports on how the sleepover went. And this weekend was no exception. He never fails to provide a story or two. I apologize, all ye friends of ours. I know he’s a pain. I know he’s wide-eyed and can’t settle down and go to sleep. I know he does his best to keep your own children up throughout the night. Which, in turn, makes you stay up all night. Leading to what I am sure is miserable for your entire family the next day as you try to recuperate. I know he is the epitome of an energizer bunny. He goes and goes and goes. And at home? He goes and goes and goes too. But at bedtime, he may be the easiest child to put to sleep, because once his head hits the pillow, he is out. Hard to believe, friends? Yes, I know. Especially after hosting him for a sleepover. But we have proof! He really does sleep. This is how we found him not even a minute after he was begging for lunch because he was so hungry…

 

This is what happen when this boy has not one, but two sleepovers in a weekend. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

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grandpa planted seeds.

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We added another precious soul to remember this Memorial Day and the many Memorial Days to come. Our last living Great-Grandpa and Grandpa, went to be with Jesus this week. Almost 93 years old, Grandpa Schmidt lived a very long and full life. Grandpa Schmidt looked as though he had a smile on his face as if to say–this is the time I’ve been waiting for and you can’t even imagine how good I’ve got it now. And I absolutely believe that.

 

I believe HEAVEN welcomed Grandpa with a big, humongous plate of BOLOGNA and VINEGAR. (seriously–a meal I will never forget him eating, in fact I think he made me try it once—key word, ONCE.)

I believe HEAVEN also gave him a big ‘ole batch of raw onions to chomp on as a side dish. (this is what my kids think of when they think of Grandpa eating)

I believe HEAVEN also had a big glass of iced tea in a big red cup to wash it all down with.

I believe in HEAVEN Grandpa would be talking to people and calling them sagey–a word he used to describe me when I was little—and I loved it.

I believe in HEAVEN Grandpa is sitting in a recliner with the funnies of the newspaper and some little girl is sitting on the arm of the recliner, half on his lap and half off, while they read the funnies together and fill in the crossword puzzle. And I believe in HEAVEN this little girl will look forward to every chance she gets to sit there with him. Maybe a little girl who never knew a Grandpa like I did. I am so excited for her.

I believe in HEAVEN there will be the biggest garden Grandpa has ever laid eyes on. And weed free!! He won’t even have to work hard. And the marigolds surrounding the beautiful veggies? They’ll be there just because they are pretty—not to keep bugs away. Because there will be no bugs, Grandpa. No weeds and no bugs. HEAVEN–that’s what I’m talking about!

I believe in HEAVEN Grandpa will tend to that garden and give away produce to each and every person. And I’m betting they will have never seen more beautiful tomatoes.

I believe in HEAVEN God has been waiting and excited to get this amazing gardener.

I believe in HEAVEN the squirrels will be racing to greet him and ecstatic there will be an abundance of corn to eat.

I believe in HEAVEN there is no more insulin and Grandpa can eat all of the sweets he so loved to eat.

I believe in HEAVEN there will be NO PIZZA–at least when Grandpa’s around. (can you believe that man NEVER had a piece of pizza in his life?)

I believe in HEAVEN Grandpa will be flying a helicopter, but this time, just for fun.

I believe in HEAVEN Grandpa is calling other little blond haired ornery boys “little buddy” like he always affectionately called Landon. (maybe one of those boys is Nate?)

I believe in HEAVEN Grandpa is planting seeds, just like he planted so many here on this earth. Literal seeds in his garden. And the literal seeds in each of our hearts of what love really is.

 

Never did you have to wonder if Grandpa loved you. You just knew. You knew in the way he hugged each and every one of us when we would visit. You knew as a little girl when he asked for “some sugar”. You knew each time he told you.

 

We will miss Grandpa! And can’t wait to eat from his garden again some day.

 

 

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biggest lie ever told.

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You know I waited until last week to fill in my June schedule.  And I’m still waiting on a few things to appear.  I know it should be no surprise, really I do.  Because we were the couple who decided to have four children.  Close together.  And have encouraged well roundedness when we can, think activities.   So there really is no one to blame, I admit, than this person looking in the mirror.  I get it!

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Still, “long lazy days of summer “?????  Seriously.

rite of passage…

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And to think, we are sitting here in the EXACT same spot as last year.  Looking at another 8th grader (as of today!) to tear at my momma’s heart.  Here she is pictured handing out program’s at this year’s 8th grade promotion night.  You know what this means…she thinks she’s ready to be doing this in a year from now.  And there is no stopping her, I am here to tell you.  This has been Kassidy’s life.  Following very closely (like 17 months close) in her big sister’s footsteps.  She will embrace her 8th grade year with a vengeance—because you know, she’s chasing after Nat.  And life is not going to look much the same if they are in separate schools.

If you know Kassidy at all, you will appreciate that she kept tabs on who was at Nat’s party, the kind of foods that were at Nat’s party, the fact that Nat is receiving a phone to begin her high school years, the dress Nat chose, the shoes, the “get out of school” early to get your hair done and toes summerized, and I’m guessing every explicit detail to the number of tables set up to the type of flowers in the center of each.  Good thing I took pictures.  Good thing I’m documenting.  And if you know Kassidy, she has her own way of doing things.  So, IF I am still blogging next year (which no matter what I’ll be blogging Kass’s promotion since we did Nat’s) you will see how different these two really are.  Those differences are pretty awesome too.  How fun is it to race in someone’s footsteps but step exactly alike?  I can assure you…they are not the same.  And I can also assure you, they are going to miss being together next year.  Differences and all.  IMG_1064

Thankfully, this girl is chasing a bit further behind…

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think I may spank her…

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What in the world.  I just don’t get it?  How can there be such a precious, loving smile pictured here with her Dad?  And then when it comes to me, the one who cleaned the house for her party, purchased the shrimp and arranged it so beautifully on a plate (thanks to Grandma Bonnie for Nat’s expensive tastes in food choices), found someone to make beautiful cupcakes, gave in and filled my drink canister with SWEET TEA (gag me.), made lemon puppy chow (which would like that besides Nat?), took 10 minutes of my life to arrange the letters to read NATALIE on the blessings blocks, AND is the daughter to the grandma who made the incredible cream cheese bread as requested????????  And this is what I get…

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It’s ok, Natalie Janelle.  I still love you.  And you love me too….I can feel it.

thanks to the tribes.

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Maybe I’ve been dreading 8th grade promotion since the realization of having an actual 8th grader?  Is “dread” too strong of a word?

Yes.  It is too strong.  Because there can’t be any dread when you see happy written all over this face.

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There is just something about being real.  Real smiles.  Real joy.  Real excitement. Real love.  It was better than I could have expected.  And from listening to the other parents, they felt it too.  An unending happy is just where Natalie was at here this week during her last days and hours as an 8th grader.  A celebration and looking forward to the next four years of high school and all the excitement that has to offer.  I am looking forward to it!  There comes a time and these kids are just ready.  Did you hear that?!  I am looking forward to my girl being in high school…

IMG_1009I haven’t been bleeding “orange” (ORANGE CONFERENCE!!!) here for awhile, but when I began looking at all of these pictures from Natalie’s celebration, all I could think of was the word TRIBE.  By definition, TRIBE is simply a group of people connected by something in common—be it ancestry, ideas, experiences, politics, theology, sports, etc.  In Reggie Joiner’s book Playing for Keeps he says this about the importance of Tribes in a child’s life…

Basically, PEOPLE NEED PEOPLE. 

Everybody needs a circle.

And every kid needs a TRIBE.

The very first TRIBE I immediately noticed was that of the teachers and administrators as they walked in and took their seats on the floor.  That may have been when I first got the “lump”–you know what I’m talking about.  And I thought, oh my goodness, this is going to be really bad.  And I turned to my friend and begged for a kleenex.  Having grown up in the same school as my kids, many of the teachers were part of my TRIBE as well.  Unless you have experienced this, it is hard to truly explain how cool that really is.  A TRIBE that keeps giving and circling.  Teachers, coaches, and administrators that obviously love kids and what they do.  That is amazing.  And scattered throughout the audience were elementary school teachers and a piano teacher who greatly impacted many of these kids as well.

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A TRIBE of friends.  And lucky to have some that are family AND friends.  Wish I had a picture uploaded of Nat with her cousins Brooke and Elle as babies and toddlers.  These girls have been together ever since Nat joined this world.  It does not get better than to raise your kids with your family—especially when they love each other like these girls do.

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The “shoe” TRIBE.  Notice which ones she chose?

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The family TRIBEa huge influence on this girl.  We have family even in our back yard!!  Literally.  Family, friends, church, youth leader, neighbors.  You name it.  There is a TRIBE for it.  If you are reading this, a huge THANK YOU for being part of the TRIBE. 

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thank you for stress.

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Man…there are times in life when you are faced with challenges that you believe you can not overcome.  At the risk of sounding facetious(that is how you spell that word–I googled it!), I will list a few that I had in my life that have been embedded in my heart and soul~~~~~

**Kindergarten round-up in Buhler schools only to find out I would be attending in the town I had never heard of in my 5 years of life—Moundridge.  TEARS.

**First day of Kindergarten—Milk choices—- PLAIN WHITE.  TEARS.  Luckily Daddy was principal—-and now all of you students of USD 423 can thank me for your choice between chocolate and white each day.  You’re welcome.

**ELEMENTARY PE class—-Mr. Koehn’s Obstacle Course—Dreaded every year because I could not use the rope to get over the “elephant”—TEARS.  Principal Daddy could not do anything about that one…and ironically, Mr. Koehn became a favored teacher of my oldest two girls!

**Middle School—what ISN’T stress in junior high????  —TEARS.

**First babysitting job and the baby had cloth diapers.  What in the world.  I had no idea how to fold those and my mom refused to come a few blocks down to show me. (I know she was teaching me to learn on my own, but it may have backfired as I just held an unfolded diaper over his bottom as the parents came through the door.)

**High School—stress increases….where to go to college? 

**College—being accepted to nursing school and then wondering if I could pass the very first class–PATHOPHYSIOLOGY. 

**Job—I was late to my first ever interview.  And here I am having just worked today after 17 years in that very same hospital.(although it has changed names 3 times—talk about stress!)

**Wedding—Some of our Christmas tree centerpieces we had worked on all year did NOT light up. 

**First Baby—to pacify or not pacify?  (PACIFIERS ROCK!!)

**Move to town?  Stay in the country?

I guess what I am trying to say is, look at what rocks our worlds as we grow.  As we grow into the people we are going to be.  I know everyone’s list is different.  And looking at my list, I have been blessed, right?  Yes.  By most standards, I was and am very spoiled. 

 

Listening to Natalie and what is stressing her out right now, I have just gained new perspective.  I am so very thankful for this stress in her life.  I am so very thankful because I know it could be so much more.  I am so very thankful that in her life, at this exact moment, the only thing she is worried about is which shoes go the best with her dress.  And I do know so well, that what seems so HUGE in her very young life, one day she is going to look back and probably remember how she stressed about shoes and laugh. Just like I laugh about not getting over that darn elephant.   And I do know, that there are going to be HUGE stresses yet to come—that she may NEVER laugh about.   But for now?  I am just pretty pumped that all we’re dealing with is shoes.

 

 

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