A Place Called Home

Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands. 1 Thessalonians 4:11

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Location: Wetumpka, Alabama, United States

I am a wife of 38years and a mother of six, mother-in-law to four, and grandmother to twelve. I just completed my 24th year of homeschooling. I have lived many years of my adult life in Italy and Greece.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Not-so-little Guys

Since I have now written about four of my children, I decided I needed to say a few words about our little guys. Jordan and Christian, 8 and 6, are incredibly unique and special little boys. I am so blessed to have the time at home with them each day that I do. This year has been especially rewarding as they have both begun reading on their own. Jordan, with his dry wit and "Eeyore" tone of voice keeps us laughing. Christian walks around the house reading and trying to spell any and every word he has ever heard. Jordan wakes early and enjoys spending time alone with his Legos and army men making up games. Christian wakes and immediately leaves a trail of art supplies, paper scraps and glue behind him. They are best buddies. I do not know what they would do without each other. On Monday they will both head off to Basketball Camp. This will be the first time for Christian. It's kind of sad, sometimes, that I now buy their clothes in the boys section (they wear sizes 8 and 10)instead of the toddler section, but I also love to see them develop their own interests and talents as they grow. How blessed we were 6 and 8 years ago by two young women who chose to love unselfishly and give the best they could for these two little boys. Because of their love two little boys are quickly growing into kind and loving young men...and one day soon, Christian husbands and fathers.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Surprise Visit

I'm so excited! God's timing is so perfect. My friend, Mona Lee, called yesterday and she is coming for a short visit. She will be here tonight and stay until lunchtime on Wednesday. She is my dear, dear friend. We met back in 1990 when her family joined us for a semester in Italy. I had heard a lot about her, and what an amazing person she was for several years. At the time she had four children ages 4 to 16 and my four were 4 to 9. I watched her every move. To this day, I don't believe she knew how much I needed her. For the previous six years I had been on my own as a mother. There were no other mothers with children in my congregation in Italy, thus no real support group. We both love good books (some of my very favorite books were gifts from her over the years), our families and the Lord. For five years she shared her gift of Music with my daughter, Chelsea. She taught her piano and many life lessons! She has been there for me through numerous crises, showers, weddings, rehearsal dinners, moves, etc.If we could somehow combine all of our knowledge of nutrition and exercise we could make a mint(unless they needed photos to go with our dieting advice:)I sincerely thank God for this friendship and all it has meant to me over the years.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Little Gabriel Terry

I'm eperimenting to see if I can send pictures from my camera to this blog. Hopefully you will see some recent photos of our grandson. If so, then I can soon post some recent pictures of the little guys. Wish me luck!

Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. I guess because of my many years overseas, I have become more patriotic with each passing year . I value the freedoms we have in our society that so many around the world will never experience. So for all the men and women who have sacrificed for this freedom, I say thank you. Especially, I wish I could thank my Dad, Kenneth Klein, who fought on the US Intrepid in World War II, receiving the purple heart. What wonderful memories I have of walking through the American cemetery outside of Florence, Italy with him, on November 25, 1994. It had been 50 years to the day that he had been wounded. I saw him through different eyes that day. I miss you, Dad. And tomorrow our nation will honor you, just as your family does.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A Fresh New Day

Today has been a busy and productive day. I think I got so much done because I felt so guilty that my children were working on cleaning our house in Searcy for us. We've decided after numerous bad renter experiences to just put it on the market and trust the Lord to help us sell it (along with wonderful realtors-Phil and Judy Hoggard:) I helped a friend pack and move Thursday and in the process agreed to store her grandparent's dining room furniture for her. It's a different style and I thought I could be helpful, and at the same time enjoy something a bit different for a while. Only one problem... once we got it in place I hated the way it looked in our blue dining room. It was much too dark. Sooo... after a morning spent painting my backporch, I decided to paint the dining room. I'm going to try having just one blue wall for a few days and see if I like it. If not, it'll just be all white. It's a nice change and I love displaying my Aunt Rema's violet dishes in the 40's style china cabinet. Of course, once I painted the walls, I moved on to trim, touchups, etc. It's now almost midnight and I'm ready to call it a day. Lunch is already prepared for tomorrow, the table is set...I love days where you can look back and see the fruit of your labors.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006


After looking over my first week of blogging I realized that I would need to be careful to include ALL of my blessings or someone might feel left out. With a wonderful husband, six children, two son-in-laws and a precious grandson I could stay busy just writing of my love and respect for each of them. Not to mention keeping everyone abreast of who is doing what. So today's blog is dedicated to Jonathan Michael. Jon, who just celebrated his 22nd birthday, has been one of God's greatest gifts.He had gone through three cribs before he was 18 months old, was walking at 7 months--in other words, he has just kept us hopping! If there's a mountain peak, Jon will climb it or die trying. He is a wonderful example of perseverance. I will never forget the day, while living in Athens, Greece, that at only 17 years old, he crossed the finish line of his first Marathon. I knew that he could accomplish anything in life that he set his mind to. This past year has been a busy one for Jon--a senior Marketing major, working at the hotel, translating for an Italian company, coaching a soccer team, etc. But he still found time to spend his Spring Break in Louisiana mucking out houses for those in need. I love it when he calls during the day just to chat and catch me up on his day. He is a hard worker who gives 100%. Daily, he is becoming a real man of God. I am so proud he is my son.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Special Friends

Today has been a long and emotional day. When I moved to Henderson three years ago, I prayed that God would send "kindred spirits" into my life. Oh, how he blessed me! From their early arrivals on my front porch bearing sourdough bread and a lasagna dinner, I knew I'd been blessed. Today, both of these dear friends are hurting. Dana lost her sweet sister, Gail, in a horrible car accident, leaving two little boys with no mama. There are no easy answers, only grief and sorrow at the life which was cut short too soon. I then went and visited my friend, Nancy. She had called this morning to tell me that the Dr. had not had good news, and that she did have leukemia. How I wish I could carry these dear sister's loads. I was already saddened by Nancy's upcoming move, but now I want to help her through this, and I will be so far away. I know God will carry her burdens, but I want to be His arms and legs. On days like this I am so glad to know that this life is not all there is. I see such faith in my dear friends. We do not know what the future holds for any of us, but we do know who holds the future.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Son in China

I just got off the phone with my son, Brandon. He is teaching history and the message of hope to the people of Wuhan, China. Lord willing, in only six weeks he will be returning to the States for about six months. At that time he will be moving to Italy to do full-time mission work, in the land of his childhood. He is ready to be home for a while, and we are ready to see him. Much has changed in our lives since he left last August. We have had a graduation, the birth of his first nephew, and a wedding. He's missed a family Christmas, and been greatly missed by his two little brothers. I know what a sacrifice that has been for him- my little boy who always hated change and who was naturally cautious. Through seeking God's will, and not his own, he has been stretched in many ways. He has had to depend on God to meet him when he's lonely and discouraged. He has had to turn to His word when he doesn't have the answers. I believe I understand in a very small way what our Father must feel when we leave this life and come home to Him. What a reunion that will be.
"When we all get to heaven, what a day of rejoicing that will be,
when we all see Jesus, we'll sing and shout the victory...
Let us then be true and faithful, trusting , serving every day,
just one glimpse of Him in glory will the toils of life repay..."

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Bella Vita

This morning we drove to Cordova to visit Chelsea for the day. Terry watched the boys in the pool while we went and visited the store where Chelsea works. God could not have placed her in a more perfect place. I met the owner and one of the women she works with, They were both absolutely delightful. The store is charming. I know now why Chelsea enjoys her work so much. We went to the Avenues outdoor mall in Collierville. It was wonderful! There are fountains, and sculptures of children playing and brick walkways. It really reminds me of small town life. We found some wonderful bargains for the boys. Life is so good when you can spend an entire day with a daughter who is happy, in love with life,and in love with her new husband (he was on a fishing trip for the day). I am so blessed.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Katie Elizabeth

25 years ago today, our beautiful Katie Elizabeth was born into this world. What an absolute joy she has been in our lives. Only fourteen months before her arrival, we lost our firstborn son. God was so good in answering our cries and prayers with the safe arrival of this little one. We have watched her grow from a tiny little thing heading off to her Italian "il nido"- literally, the nest, a morning school- proudly carrying her snack and beautifully embroidered table linens (sewn by our dear sweet cook Miranda) . She is artistic, spending her teenage years drawing, painting and sewing treasures found throughout our home. She is resouceful, with a wonderful eye for decorating a room with unusual finds. At a time when other young girls were wanting cars and new clothes, Katie gave her unwavering support to our decision to add two little boys to our family, necessitating her having to go without, and working several jobs all through college. She never complained. As a 19 year old college graduate,we spent hours on our knees in prayer as she struggled with the decision to leave law school in order to have time to be the kind of wife and mother she knew she would want to be in the future. She made the right decision and is now the happily married wife and most devoted mother to our first grandson, Gabriel. As a young lady she was always the organizer and instigator...of special anniversary dinners hosted by her and her brothers and sisters, a weekend getaway for our 25th anniversary, a new bedroom set on Christmas morning, and most recently our room makeover for Mothers day. She has such a generous spirit. I think, though, that of all her many talents, what is most unique about Katie , is that she seeks the Lord's will as she lives her life. I could go on for a long time, just as I could about each of my six blessings. But on this special day, I wanted to pay a special tribute to our own "Renaissance Woman"--Katie Elizabeth. Ti voglio bene. P.S. This beautiful nest is full of Indigo Bunting eggs from my friend, Dana's front porch rafters. We enjoyed watching the bird flit around on the edge of the woods during our recent visit out on her porch.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Cabin on the Hill

It feels like Summer is finally here. Yesterday I drove out to my friend Dana's cabin on the hill. It was a beautiful day, with a light breeze . We sat in the rockers on the front porch with our drinks (and Copper...every log cabin needs a hound dog on the porch) and caught up on our day. The Lord has blessed me so much with this friendship. We share a love for family, our children, the lost in this world, homeschooling, scrapbooking ( her, the beautiful albums..me, the dreams of one day), a need to be surrounded by beauty, and especially our love for our roles as homemakers and helpmeets to our husbands. We laugh a lot...especially at ourselves. One of my favorite memories is of walking down the aisle at my daughter's wedding and looking over and seeing Dana and her family. I had no idea she was driving all that way for a "new" friend. So, Dana, thank you for the special cards, the homemade pins, and the hours of laughter. You are a dear friend.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Am

I am backyard clotheslines, moonpies and Tab bottles with sprinkler heads for ironing.
I am a redbrick house with a metal milk crate on the front porch.
I am azaleas, pine needles, mimosas and sandspurs.
I am from Ratcliffs, Cases, and Kleins who valued family before all else.
I am catfish and hushpuppies and drive-in movies.
I am Lake Lucina, If I Were Going, and spelling bees.
I am matching Easter dresses with headbands, petticoats and gloves.
I am a girl on a banana seat bike.
I am ceramics in the basement and fireflies in the Mason jar, Mountain Dew and Pepsi.
I am station wagons with Shasta trailers, Mexican sombreros and trips into caverns.
I am from sawmills, taverns, classrooms and high rises.
I am fried clams and White Otter stories.
I am the man who wore a Purple Heart from World War II and a woman who sewed ballet costumes.
I am from one town to the next, from not knowing where I am going, from being still and ever moving,from being certain and unsure. I am from someone taking me to a city which is yet to come.
A woman can hardly ask to be more.

Monday, May 15, 2006

My new passport arrived in the mail today. Only six weeks until we leave for Italy. I'm excited to be travelling and seeing new places, but I have very mixed feelings about leaving the boys with their sister and brother-in-law. I know they will have a wonderful time, but I will really miss them. I will miss laying in the bed with them in the mornings, talking. I will miss working on our memory verses on our way to Bethel. I will miss curling up on the couch with them and reading together.I will miss hearing their laughter as they jump and dive in the swimming pool. I hate it that we will not be there when Brandon flies home from China. But on a more positive note, I will enjoy time alone with Terry. I will enjoy seeing incredible works of art, instead of helping little ones match art postcards with the real thing. I will enjoy visiting with old friends .I will enjoy sitting in the Piazza Repubblica with a drink, reading the paper and I will enjoy working along side of my husband. He is never happier than when he is back home in Italy. Lord willing, this time we'll have before the group arrives will allow us to work out some of the details of our upcoming return to Italy.

Open my heart, and you will see, engraved inside it, Italy. Robert Browning

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Today was a wonderful Mother's Day. Early this morning, Brandon called from China, and Jon called right as we were all coming in from church. Gabriel was very patient sitting through his Grandpa's sermon, but soon decided that he'd rather look around the building with his Dad. Great Grandpa and Grandma came over for lunch, bringing her wonderful roast.Tim spent the afternoon helping me figure out how to place pictures on this blog. Everyone is heading home in a few minutes. I'm including a picture of our handsome grandson, Gabriel, sitting on our new bed linens, which were a gift from our children. Happy Mother's Day!

Painting of Family

Saturday, May 13, 2006

The Blessings of Family

Most of the children are home this weekend for Mother's Day. Tim and Katie, along with baby Gabriel, came from Searcy and Justin and Chelsea drove over from Memphis. Jon will be home next weekend, and of course it's a bit far away for Brandon to make the trip from China. Jordan and Christian are never happier than when their brothers and sisters are all home. I cherish these moments. Tonight Terry and I sat out on the porch together while he played the guitar and sang. We could hear the children laughing and scheming (they later surprised me with a "new" bedroom-all decorated and new monogrammed bedding from Pottery Barn)as they worked on our room. These are the moments we cherish. What a gift to see the fruits of your labor in your adult children. To see them walking with the Lord, to see them as loving parents and good friends. It is quiet now. Justin just came in for a snack before bed. Everyone else is asleep. What a blessing my two sons-in-law are to our family. I am beginning this blog as a way to remind myself, and those I love, of how very blessed we are to share a place called home.