The cross is the greatest example of humility and devotion in the universe. Jesus put your needs ahead of His own. He considered you more valuable than Himself. - Chip Ingram

Sunday, September 30, 2007

A long line of love

My in-laws, Wally and Ellen Blackburn, have been married 50 years and are still counting! This past weekend we had a wonderful party to celebrate the occasion. It was so good to see so many people I haven't seen for years!

The party was held at John and Karen's home. Their home is absolutely beautiful. It was perfect for hosting the party. The food was catered by Italian Creations and the yummy, yummy cake was made by Wildflower Bakery. It was all good...... But, do you want to know my favorite part? John made a cd presentation comprised of many pictures during the marriage of mom and dad. It had pictures from births, weddings, vacations, sporting events and more. Everything that you mix together to form a life together.

As I watched the pictures on the screen, it struck me how I am part of a unique, funny, fun-loving, sometimes frustrating, yet blessed family. Neither Mike nor I come from broken families. None of our siblings have broken marriages. And, yes....even Mike still seems to hang in for the long haul with me. There is an old country song that says..."I come from a long line of love." I guess that pretty much sums up our crazy family.

P.S. Pictures will be coming.........!!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Just Some Highlights....

It has been awhile since I have posted about the kids, so here goes.........

Wait..........did you say you are missing a post on Paige's hair? I haven't written about her hair quite enough yet? Well then, perhaps you will like her latest. Paige is into putting PINK highlites into her hair. I was a little nervous. I kept thinking that if they didn't rinse out, we are completely against dress code. But, they DO rinse out and I actually like how she looks with her ROCK highlites!

I also got the opportunity to go "orienteering" with Paige's science class. I LOVE Paige's science teacher. She breathes Science. She is very "hands on." So, we went to the metroparks across from Bay Nature Center. She had a whole course mapped out. Each kid had a compass to use and had to use the map to find markers. They would punch a card once they found the marker.

This was such a creative and fun assignment. Well, at least as a mother, I THOUGHT SO!

Lastly, this is one way I have been spending most of my Friday nights.....and I love it!

VOLLEYBALL! I really love watching Paige play.
Have a beautiful autumn weekend!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Building Cathedrals

I received this in an email from my girlfriend, Barb. I love it. Sooo....enjoy!

I'm invisible. It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"

Obviously not. No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time is it?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the Disney Channel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please." I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cum laude - but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going .. she's going ... she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as I looked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I could find that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a clip and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."

It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "To Charlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees." In the days ahead I would read - no, devoured - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work:

(1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names.
(2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished.
(3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.
(4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it." And the workman replied, "Because God sees."

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become."

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree.

When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there!"

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women. God Bless You as you build your Cathedrals!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Life Altering Words

I happened to tune into Good Morning American this morning as my kids were getting ready for school. I am so glad I tuned in!!!! They interviewed an amazing man. His name is Randy Pausch. Randy Pausch, is a 46-year-old Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor, who has terminal cancer and expects to live for just a few more months. The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about Pausch's awe-inspiring final lecture "How to Live Your Childhood Dreams." What an inspirational, uplifting, thought-provoking speech. As for Randy Pausch, he is an amazing man. PLEASE, PLEASE do yourself the favor of watching his speech. It is shown in entirety on I believe the speech is approx. two hours long....but SO, SO worth it. If you have NO time, at least play the clip of his interview with Diane Sawyer.

I want to briefly point out some of the "finer" points that were shown on Good Morning America.

1) "Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls aren't there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show us how badly we want things. The brick walls stop the people who don't want it badly enough."

2) "Find the best in everybody. It sounds trite, but if you wait long enough, other people will show you their good side. If there's anything I've [learned] that is absolutely true. Sometimes it takes a lot longer than you might like. But the onus is on you to keep the hope and keep waiting."

3) "We cannot change the cards we are delt, just how we play the hand."

4) As you grow, you may discover your real friends will surprise you. When you are screwing up and nobody is saying anything to you anymore, that means they gave up. "When you see yourself doing something badly and nobody is bothering to tell you anymore, that is a very bad place to be. Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care."

5) "Don't complain, just work harder."

6) "It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's about how to live your life."

Please know, this is not a spiritual speech, but there are lots of good things to learn. There seems to be a certain clarity that comes when people are facing death. And this gentleman has alot to teach us all.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

All The "Creepy Creepers" Making News

Gosh, there are a lot of creepy things in the news lately. Are you aware of them? Holy cow! How do people have time for all this strangeness? My day is completely filled with children and home. I don't even have time to ponder "craziness." is a complete rundown.

1) A Senator from Nebraska wants to sue God. HA! Really? Hasn't that kind of happened already? I mean, one of the most infamous trials in history is that of Jesus Christ. And heck, isn't God on trial everyday? This gentleman apparently thinks it is okay to prohibit the use of the words "rape" and "victim" in a rape trial. This is beyond my comprehension. And, if you want to make things fair, why aren't you prohibiting use of the words "consensual" or "promiscuous." Just sayin'..............

2) Two lesbians are upset that they received two babies as opposed to one baby. Really? Really? Need I comment? I could care less that they are lesbians...totally their business. Anyone denying a child....again beyond my comprehension.

3) Need I mention the initials O.J.? Maybe its a set-up and maybe not. Whatever. Some clean living may keep this guy from these situations.

4) Britney Spear's apparently has a nudity problem? Huh? I thought she had no problem with nudity. I thought the problem was more on the line of wearing undergarments. But, that's just my take on it.

And the list goes on and on and on......

Yep, it's a banner day. Best keep your televisions off today to keep your sanity.

Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in her children.
Billy Graham

Monday, September 17, 2007

Striking it Rich!

Every once in awhile, you strike it rich. By that, I mean you get more than you bargained for in a deal. And Lutheran West, well I think they struck it rich too. The man in the picture below is Austin's soccer coach. We think the world of this guy. He is a good Godly man, who loves his family and treats each of the kids at Lutheran West as if they were his own. I haven't talked to a single parent who has a bad word to say about this guy.

Why am I posting this, you ask? Is it because I want to "sing" his praises? Nope. Is it because I want him to play my son at all times? No, although I would be okay with that! HAHA! Is it because he is an amazing teacher? No, although that is true. Is it because I have a "thing" for bald guys (aka...Mike Blackburn)? I will never tell! ACTUALLY, IT IS BECAUSE OF HIS FEET! The man WILL NOT wear shoes until the soccer team loses a game.

Some people call this insanity, I call it dedication. I am secretly hoping to see him barefoot in the snow. Okay, not really....but what will he do? Snow shoes? Hhhmmmm.....

Anyway, I had to put this in the blog for posterity. I don't want to forget the length some really good people go to in order to encourage my kids.


I have a little secret. Well, it is actually no longer a secret. My dad and Vera were married on Friday! A small ceremony was held at Emmanual Lutheran Church in Elyria this past Friday at 7:00 p.m. Aren't they the cutest? There were family and a few friends in attendance....and Pastor Jastor and his wife (of course)! Look at Vera's dress. Isn't it the best? She looked so wonderful. Dad looked okay too....HA!

There was a small reception at my sister, Pam's house. Do you see the traditional "shoving cake in mouth?" And there was quite a bit of this going on...................... (I tried to keep my "eewwws" to a minimum....{wink, wink})

Congratulations to two of my most favorite people on this planet. I hope you have MANY, MANY wonderful years together!!