Tag Archives: family

when the kids come home…

18 Jun

Busy with preparations, the music plays.

My heart soars in anticipation.

Randomly, I hear the cars approaching the drive.

Piled into the kitchen, like sardines in a can, we crowd …

Chopping veggies, bumping elbows, weaving through the maze of family to find the salt.

The music changes with each person’s taste.

My heart again full, as one more – unexpected, arrives. His plans have changed.

Behind the voices the music continues.

Sounds of laughter in the yard sing through the window.

The smell of the smoker lingers in the air enticing the men, tall and small, to monitor the meat.

Finally, we gather.

Hand in hand, thanking God for His provision.

The music replaced by the steady hum of voices and the clinking of dishes.

Pockets of conversations filter through the air.

Caring words of concern,

Thoughts of passion and zeal,

Surface chatter of insignificant things.

The sun begins to set.

Reluctantly the day comes to a close.

Silently, we rest.

But the music is still heard as a memory…



5 Jun


The plumber just left informing me that, although he would be fixing our plumbing issues, he had to go through the proper channels. This time he was going to be sure it was done right. He didn’t know what day, but he would be back. In the meantime, we will patiently wait – looking forward to the day the nice plumber man comes back and the septic is no longer backed up into the bathtub!

Life is so full of the unexpected. At least, my life is! How often do I make plans to find they need to change – again, and again.

I used to be a pretty big planner, disappointed when I couldn’t achieve everything I had set out to do. The words of my father-in-law frequently still ring in my ears, “Becky, remember the KISS rule: Keep it simple, Stupid!”

With a large family, our lives being pretty full, flexibility is essential. To keep it simple, I daily try to focus on the most essential things in my life:

1. Take time to honor God, focusing on His will rather than my own.

2. Take time to nurture my relationship with my husband, letting him know he has my love and attention.

3. Take time to nurture my children – through a kiss on a wound, a tickle attack, a phone call, a listening ear, freshly made chocolate chip cookies…

4. Take time to encourage others as the opportunities arise.

When life gets so busy that I fail at these things, I can hear my father-in-law’s voice reminding me to “Keep it simple, Stupid!”

My second podcast with Shara: Respecting Your Husband

26 May

Sitting here in the waiting room of the dentist office (with my new ipad in hand – of course), I have the luxury of reading, thinking, writing, and reflecting. Part of the process of deliberately encouraging others in marriage and family life is how it causes me to reflect on my own life.

How did I do this morning in sending off my hubby with kind words? Did I take time to encourage him? Did I focus on his strengths or pick apart his weaknesses? Did I take time to draw him close or drive a wedge between us?

A month ago I had the privilege of doing another podcast with my friend, Shara. The last interview was on the adventure of going from 5 – 14 children. This time, as you might guess, it was on marriage. The focus is on my journey of learning to treat my husband with respect and how that continues to affect the rest of our family. Shara has some great insights as she also endeavors to continue building on the strong foundation she and her husband have laid for a healthy marriage and family.

As a result of a few technical difficulties, like my Internet speed for one, the sound is a little soft. Be prepared to have a quiet place to listen.

Please take a moment to visit Notes at Naptime … with Shara and be encouraged!



What if?

24 May


Recently we had the pleasure of visiting home, where our roots have grown deep. It was a pleasure to visit with family and friends, but over the course of many conversations, we came away with heavy hearts. One after another, we heard of couples being divorced, families falling apart and giving up hope – the stresses overwhelming life.

So… if you have wondered what has motivated me to pick back up Not Without Aim – it is not a result of boredom with nothing to do, certainly not a love for writing, and not a love for blogs… It is a passion to encourage families to stick together, press hard, and endure the struggles, knowing it is worth the effort!

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails…
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (NASB)

What if we kept loving even when the loving was tough?

Anything worth doing…

23 May

I sat down on the plane next to a young man. With his laptop open, he was busy at work. We exchanged greetings. Not used to traveling alone, I had brought a needlework project to pass the time. It turned out to be much bigger and more detailed than I expected. I had been inspired by my mother-in-law who has a way of making gorgeous works of art with a needle and thread! Looking down at where to begin, I felt a bit overwhelmed. The young man with the laptop paused from his work and looked over at mine. He simply stated, “Anything worth doing takes time and hard work, but in the end it’s worth the effort.”

Looking back to that day, 22 years ago, being pregnant with our 5th daughter, I know he was right.

Marriage, raising children, supporting a family, nurturing relationships all take work, endless, tiring, draining work.

Was it worth it? Is it still worth the effort? Would I do it all over again? (Glad I don’t have to, but YES! YES! YES!

– Last night I had a date with just one of my daughters. (very precious time)

– Sunday we had all 14 of our children plus spouses and friends all together for a picnic. (a mom and dad’s heart doesn’t get much fuller than that!)

– I just got home from taking the younger half of the family fishing. ( 10 Blue Gills – and no, I don’t fish, I just detangle fishing line)

– I have a husband that is taking me out tonight because he loves me. (What to wear???)

Life isn’t perfect. Our relationships are not perfect, but they are always worth the work!
I am so glad I never gave up!


By the way, after many years, I did finally finish the needlework project.

So, what does it really mean to serve each other?

22 May

In reference to one of my last posts, in an effort to change my husband, I mentioned “taking pleasure in serving.” As a result to a comment I received, I have been pondering the meaning of the word, serve. Could the word mean different things to different people? I checked out the dictionary and found several synonyms: help, assist, work, foster, nurture…

A conversation came to my mind I had recently had with a very dear couple who have now been married for one year. I asked them what kind of advice they would have for someone who was about to be married. The first thing they mentioned was the importance of taking time to be set apart as a couple without the distractions that can so easily encumber. That advice resonated with me as Mark and I spent the first year of our married life in another state, away from home, away from both of our families. We truly did learn to depend on each other.

The second issue this couple spoke of was the great joy they took in serving each other. It was wonderful to see the smile on their faces as they described the competitive morning race to be the first to bring the other their morning coffee. They absolutely love to do things for each other! May that love continue for a lifetime!

Obviously serving will look different in each household. Some people are naturals at serving, while others simply love to be served. My husband and I serve in completely different ways, but even though it looks different, we are both serving. Not only do we serve each other in our marriage, but the entire family continually finds ways to serve the other. That is what being a family is all about!

A special thank you to my sweet hubby for always making me my first cup of morning coffee! Half the enjoyment of drinking it is knowing that it was made with love from him, especially for me!


one of the best gifts you can give your children…

17 May

It didn’t take much time of being married to figure out that my husband was very different than my dad. He looked, reasoned, and acted differently than my father had. What I didn’t realize was how much my father had shaped what I thought was the “right” model. No, my dad wasn’t perfect, but he was the example that had formed my thinking.

Being married has given me the chance to realize the uniqueness of each and every relationship. Our marriage is worth every ounce of effort to nurture, preserve and enjoy. My dad used to say, “Marriage isn’t about a 50/50% giving relationship, if a marriage is going to work, you need to be willing to be the one that gives 150%!”

One of the best gifts you can give your children is to learn to love and respect your spouse. Be tenacious! Never give up! Your marriage and children are worth the effort!