Friday, June 19, 2015

Tha Call

A couple of days ago, Zachary received a beautiful scarf from Hillsdale with a note saying that he might not need it now, but he surely would need it later.  Our hearts broke a little that day; He had already told us he had made a decision.

And so, Zachary made the most difficult call of his life yesterday. When he told us later in the day, our hearts broke a little more. But he made a mature decision.--he chose not have debt.  I'm proud of him.  He considers it a failure that he missed the 3.75 GPA by 1/10 of 1 point. That  was tough. But he took 4 AP  classes and Honors for everything else. I've seen others take a lesser load to achieve that coveted 4.0 +. His SAT score was high enough to be admitted to any school except a few Ivy League ones.  To us, that's not academic failure and it's not to Hillsdale either.  It was the debt that caused him to say "no" to his dream college.  Here's what he has to say about it:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

I've Still Got Room

 I read a quote that said, "my swimsuit told me to go to the gym, but my sweatpants were like 'nah, girl, you're good'." And it actually seemed funny until I. saw. myself. in. a. swimsuit.  The truth is weight has never been an issue for me--hate me if you want to; I have my own issues--until now. Yes, I did gain 60 pounds with my first pregnancy, but those pounds slipped off my body like the sun slips beneath the horizon at sunset.  And, there has never been another sunrise...well, a weight-rise might be more appropriate. Until now. Until I sat for months with a fractured knee. Until I started craving strawberry ice-cream in the middle of the night. Until eating peanut butter straight from the jar seemed like a good idea. Until now.  I'll tell you straight up, it's time for an intervention.
 My sweatpants are feeling pretty roomy tonight.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Is That a Rooster I Hear?

We set out Saturday for another anniversary adventure--it has been 23 years after all!  We realized that we weren't going to make our destination on time and I was having a "rumbly in my tumbly," (thank-you, for the reference, Pooh Bear) and we found a gem in the middle of  "little Mexico!"  I am not kidding when I say that we could hear roosters crowing from our seats on the patio.
I am not sure what Dr. B. ordered, it was a daily special. But, oh my!  Salmon with some kind of spicy, sweet (love the generalities here) sauce with pickled carrots, cucumbers, and jalapenos.
I had a blackened tilapia fish taco with their house tartar sauce and heaps of cilantro. And really, can you ever have too much cilantro?  Well, except for Dr. B., who is not fond of it and finds a miniscule amount too much. However, because he is awesome like this, he gave me half of his and it was totally delish.

We just can't seem to leave our heirs alone this year for our anniversary "getaways." Don't worry, they weren't kidnapped by us; Seth is happier than he looks here!
Samuel is always great about trying something new. His entrée of choice was the frog legs. What do they taste like, we ask? Chicken. Who'd have thunk it?

On our next visit, I'll just go ahead and order what Dr. B had, and an extra serving of hushpuppies. Seriously, the best hushpuppies ever.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Happy Anniversary!

 Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.  --Aristotle
Happy 23rd Anniversary to my soul mate and forever love.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Family is Everything

Circa. 1973

 Circa. 1977

4 siblings, 3 spouses, 1 boy friend, 11 children, 1 son-in-law, 7 dogs, 5 cats, 2 birds, 2 peacocks, 15 chickens, 2 geese, 1 goat, 1 guinea pig, 1 chinchilla, 1 snake, 1 hedgehog, 1930 combined miles, and diversity galore. Our family is not perfect. We argue. We fight. And sometimes we stop talking to each other, but we're family and when it matters, we are there for each other. And so, it was notably special that each one took time out of their active schedules to celebrate Zachary's achievement.
I love you all!

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Dr. B. has been faithfully making my coffee for years--so many, in fact, that I can no longer recall when he didn't.  He's a Coke Zero man himself, but he knows just how to make my coffee good-to-the-last drop. Secretly, I think it's all the cream and very little coffee, but whatever it is, it works.

Last week my niece arrived with this; I can now brew my own beverage, if I'm needing a perk in the afternoon. Dr. B. has expressed displeasure and it's not just the added cost. He says that now I no longer "need him."

It's also been years since I put gas in my own van. So, unless full-service gas stations become more available, I'd say his place with me is secure.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

A Stunning Portrait

It's been awhile since I last wrote. A long while. And, as in most families, a lot has happened in that "long while."  Over time perhaps I'll get to that, but for now, I just want to try entering the blogsphere again. This used to be a place where I expressed my thoughts or updated the events of our family, but slowly, other forms of social media took over and my voice here has been silent.

May 23, 2015 was a very big day in the life of the Balty's as our oldest, Zachary, graduated from Eagles Landing Christian Academy that day. I'm looking quite glamorous in the photo booth picture above, but Dr. B is looking stunned; I think he received the first bill for college tuition.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Time Marches On

I began blogging 5 years ago.   Took a couple years off to nurse a Facebook addiction with periodic spurts here and there. 

It takes a few years of age to say that five years is a short span of time, so maybe I'm officially OLD but it just seems like yesterday that we moved to Georgia and my boys were 11, 7, and 3. Today my oldest son turned 16.  That deserves a blog of its own, and I'm working on that, but today my mind and heart are turned toward Pennsylvania, where my dad is in the hospital and his prognosis is grim.

We moved here in the summer of 2007. Sure, it seemed like a long way from our families, but we were used to living away, and to be honest, we didn't give that aspect a lot of thought. Until November of that year. 

We were excited as we packed and headed to IL to celebrate Thanksgiving with David's family. We were there just a few minutes when David's dad asked me quietly if Glenda (David's mom) had told me about the mass she had found in her abdomen. And as the next several weeks unfolded, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had chemo in the early winter of 2008.

I have been the go-to nurse for the Balty family since I became a Balty myself, so taking medical questions from David's dad wasn't new to me. So, when he initially asked me about the gradual decline in his hemoglobin level, I wasn't alarmed. I encouraged him to get a colonoscopy to rule out bleeding from the bowel. That was negative...or positive, depending on how you look at it. But by late winter of 2008, it became more apparent that Don's problem was ominous. He was diagnosed with leukemia in June 2008, was blessed with a short remission, but went to be with the Lord in January 2009. 

On the day of his funeral, my mom fell. And that began the decline of her health. 20 months later, I held her head in my arms as she stepped out of her badly broken body to walk the streets of gold. 

Later the same year, we were disappointed--although not altogether surprised--that Glenda's cancer had returned.  She continues to fight valiantly, but ever so slowly, the chemo is acquiescing to cancer's vicious demands.

My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1998. His was an aggressive tumor, but with radiation and hormone therapy, he's lived a full and active life for more than a decade. But cancer is winning the battle, its ugly signature in 22 places in my dad's body. 

Just over five years ago, all of our parents were leading relatively normal healthy lives, but before we close the chapter of 2013, I suspect all of them will be gone. 

Five years. So much change. 

So, what is my point. To discourage any readers who have read this far? No! It is intended to be a reminder to me:

1. Life is short.

(Psalm 39:4-5)
Lord, reveal to me the end of my life and the number of my days .Let me know how short-lived I am. You, indeed, have made my days short in length,and my life span as nothing in Your sight.Yes, every mortal man is only a vapor. Selah

(James 4:14)
You don’t even know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like smoke that appears for a little while, then vanishes.

(I Peter 1:24)

 For All flesh is like grass and all its glory like a flower of the grass.The grass withers, and the flower falls,

2. What you do with your time matters!

(Ephesians 5:15, 16)
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil” 

 (Matthew 6:19-21)
“Don’t collect for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal. But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

(Ecclesiastes 3)
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: A time to give birth and a time to die . . 

3. You cannot rewind the clock.

Five years. Gone. Disney is wrong, and we are not in a "circle of life."  Time is linear, and the clock marks our progress toward the wonderful reality of spending eternity with Christ.So many changes. Our loved ones merely go on before us, lining the way that we travel toward heaven.  I love the way the Geneva Bible (1599) describes our pilgrimage: " Wherefore,let us also, seeing that we are compassed with so great a cloud of witnesses, cast away everything that presseth down, and the sin that hangeth so fast on: let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith" (Hebrews 12:1-2a).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Is it Summer Yet?

I received a $20.00 coupon in my email for Shutterfly.  I had a project that I had begun over One. Year. Ago and it really needed to "come home." It's on its way!

I can just imagine sitting back with my face to the ocean breeze and digging my toes into the warm sand. What great family memories we've made there!

Photo Book Tip: Create an adventurous travel photo album at

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A Fresh Start


Lost my cool.

Became hysterical.

I kinda, might have, may have  OVERREACTED. again.

The easiest way to sum it up: Lots of DRAMA from the MAMA.

Forgiveness sought and received.

I need a new day and a fresh start.

Lamentations 3:22-24
Because of the Lord's faithful love we do not perish,
for His mercies never end.
They are NEW every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.
I say: The Lord is my portion,
therefore I will put my hope in Him.


Monday, January 14, 2013

Down and Dirty

I love dirty boy clothes. No, that's not a typo. I really do. Well, maybe it's not the dirt exactly.

Years ago, I received used clothing for my active 4-year old from a boy who had never worn out a pair of pants in his precious, wheel-chair bound life. From that day on, I purposed that I would never complain about dirty, blown-out knees.

And I haven't.

And truth be told, the dirty they are-- the happier I am.

My boys run, jump, and slide. The consequences are natural so when I see grass and/or red-clay stained knees or blown out holes, I give thanks.

Today was no exception.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Making A Way

My first waking thoughts this morning were the lyrics from Road In The Wilderness by Larnelle Harris.
With the Red Sea behind them
The desert before them
The children of God had to trust His plan
As they followed and waited
Each day He created
A way that would lead to the promised land

He made a road in the wilderness
As only He could do
He made a road in the wilderness
nd the power of Love broke through

And as I rolled over and stretched, my husband asked if he could read a paragraph to me. He read from My Daily Mediation for the Circling Year:
As thy days so shall thy strength be. So I never fear that the promise of yesterday will exhaust itself before tomorrow. God's covenant goes with us like the ever-fresh waters of the wilderness. 'They drank of that rock which followed them, and that rock was Christ.' Every fulfillment of God's promise is a pledge of one to come. God has no road without its springs. If His path stretches across waste wilderness the 'fountains shall breakout in the desert,' and 'the wilderness shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.'
Finally, I was reminded again through Jesus Calling that He goes before us to open the way, and he also walks alongside us. And because He is such a devoted companion, we do not need to be weighted down with problems and unresolved issues, for He is our burden bearer.

This week, along with many from our church, I will be fasting. I told the Lord this morning that I want to be different at the end of this week. I went without food or drink for several weeks in the fall, while on TPN. But that wasn't spiritual fasting.

I'm looking forward to seeing God work in our lives this week, as he makes a road in the wilderness.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Beautiful Things

Zachary is almost 16.

I look at his baby pictures and want to reach in and pick him up one.more.time. These 16 years have been such a blessing! He's been so easy to parent and such a delight!

He wanted to have his friends from the youth group over for a bonfire. We decided that presented a great opportunity to turn it into a surprise birthday party--and give him a dream gift.

Zachary has wanted a Taylor acoustic guitar for a long time. David found one on Craigslist that seemed to be a great one-- for a reasonable price--as Taylor's go. He contacted a friend from church, who's a guitar enthusiast,and asked him to go with us to look it over.

It was in nearly perfect shape and had the beautiful, full Taylor sound. Trey took it home, changed the strings, added some ebony bridge pins and shined it up. Zach couldn't believe that it was a Taylor and a 200 series. He beamed!

In the quiet of the night after everyone left, he came into our room last night and played "Beautiful Things," by the Gungor's. I hope I can hold that in my memory forever.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The boys and David were shopping for me at Bath and Body Works on a very busy Christmas Eve. Samuel, in his innocence, read from the label on a body lotion "fresh bosom." His much older and wiser :-) brother quickly corrected him, "that's fresh BALSAM." David said he couldn't tell if anyone laughed, he was looking for the nearest exit.

NEVER a dull moment, I tell you.

Christmas From Our House

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Christmas Surprise!

David and I anticipated his mom's arrival for a couple of weeks but held our tongues.  It was so difficult!

We left the boys about an hour before her flight was due to arrive. They didn't think anything was unusual about that since we occasionally leave alone (one of the many lovely benefits of having a teenager!). Before we arrived with her I called the house and asked them to go to the screen porch because I had something that I wanted to get to our room.  Again, with Christmas so close, it didn't arouse any suspicion.

Here's what happened. Sorry about the crazy viewing.  User error with my new camera.

We had a wonderful visit. It was rather sad to see the effects of cancer and chemo on her body. She has a CT this week and we should know more then.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Do Not Be Weary!

Oh! The hats I wear!

Not literally, like Zachary is doing (in this pic from SSI) but figuratively. I'm wife, mom, daughter, sister, and friend.  I'm also teacher, nurse, household organizer and planner, chief cook, laundress, house cleaner, taxi-driver, cheerleader and disciplinarian.

Did you just get tired reading this list? If you're a mom, you're well acquainted with these "hats" because you wear them too.

Maybe that's why one of the verses from God's word that comes to my mind most often is Galatians 6:9: And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

Like most moms, my daily schedule is already full. My body has not completely overcome its most recent setback and I tire more easily. I find myself "weary" before I begin.

I found encouragement this morning in my devotional today Jesus Today by Sarah Young:

You live in a world where weakness is often pitied-or even despised. People spend vast amounts of time, energy, and money on efforts to strengthen their bodies. They also use various stimulants to avoid or disguise weariness. However, weakness and weariness are simply part of the reality of living in a fallen world-and in a fallen body.
I (Jesus) invite you to come into my Presence confidently, with all your weariness and weakness...and assure you that as you bask in time with Me, I will use it to strengthen you spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
So today, I'm also resting in Isaiah 40:29-31 (The Lord) gives strength to the weary and increases power to the weak . Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Matters Most

When Zachary’s slender hand grasps yours
You lay aside your evening chores,
Embarking out upon a pillowed sea.
The books reclining on your knees
(Yours motherhood; his history),
Two spirits blend, his head leans on your arm.
He doesn’t have to say, “I love you, Mom.”

Seth’s plaintive cry splits pre-dawn’s calm
Needing, it seems, your loving balm.
His message, to the point: “Take me to Mom.”
Setting the steaming mug aside
You let him burrow deep, and hide,
Enveloped in the solace of your warmth.
He doesn’t have to say, “I love you, Mom.”

Sam, snuggled in the upper bunk
The drink of sleep not fully drunk
Has no idea you’re already up.
The mixing bowl, the flour and spice
He’ll see, and lisp, “O Paradithe”
And wrap two sturdy arms around your waist.
He doesn’t have to say, “I love you, Mom.”

Your husband rises every day
And views – miraculous display –
How shirts, once hampered, now hangers adorn.
Somehow his bride has taught the boys,
Delivered meals and picked up toys
Each task accomplished with a servant’s heart.
She doesn’t have to say, “I love you, Dear.”

Please let these meager words convey
Our notice of the price you pay;
Your treasure’s reinvested in our lives.
For God in gracious providence
With perfect timing, perfect sense,
Has planted you, our roots run deep – entwined.
He does not have to say we’re loved
We see His token from above
Revealed every day we live with you.
Good (early) Morning and Happy Birthday, Amy. Here's a poem I
wrote for your special day. While I'm sure you've received finer gifts, none has
been given from a heart that could love you more. I Love You.
It was my goal to write tonight, but mine's not ready yet and I found this one, written by David 4 years ago and since I've not technically celebrated my birthday (what's a birthday with NO cake??), I've decided to repost it. It's such a good reminder of the things about my life that matter most. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Place of Hope

I cannot remember a time when Easter was not my favorite holiday. In my early years maybe it was because I loved Spring so much.  Being a Pennsylvania gal, sometimes the season arrived too late for my satisfaction. At nearly the first chirp of a robin, I'd be asking my dad if there'd be any more snow.  He'd always laugh and reply that there'd probably be more. Much to my disappointment he was always right.

As my relationship with Christ grew, I loved Easter for more than just the season of the year but for the reminder of what Christ had done in my life. From death to life.  Spiritually, with the new birth but almost literally after the birth of Seth.

This year meant even more.

 I contemplated the words of  Michael Card's "Love Crucified Arose," And these words especially spoke to me.

 "Love crucified arose
And the grave became a place of hope
For the heart that sin and sorrow broke
Is beating once again"

The grave became a place of hope? I stood by my mother's bed just a few short months ago and cradled her head in my arms while she took on new life.  I'll be honest as I left her bedside and walked down the halls of that dimly lit ICU, I wasn't feeling hope-ful. Oh, in my head, I knew that her body was free of this world's pain, sorrow and fear but in my heart I felt hope-less. Alone. I dropped to a chair in the waiting room and didn't know where to go or what to do next. Lost.

I"ve been thinking about the disciples of Christ.  These were men who had given up everything and placed their hopes and dreams in a Man for whom they thought would save the world. But they'd just watched him die a horrible death. Not just the death of a common man but that of a criminal.

I'll bet they knew a little about feeling alone and lost.

In a few short days though, the disciples experienced the unbelievable--the resurrection of their Lord in physical form. I'll never see Mom in physical form again. I'll never touch her or hear her voice. But this is where faith is formed and hope is built. 2 Corinthians reminds me that when this body is destroyed, we have a heavenly body and to take courage (hope) for when we are absent from the body, we are present with the Lord. That, my friends, is when the grave becomes a place of hope.

And with that hope in place, I wanted this Easter to be a special one. It was. It didn't go exactly as planned but it was a beautiful weekend filled with family and friends.
The Balty Family Easter 2011

Easter lunch outside with David's niece and hubby and our friend, Gina

Happy Birthday, David!

I heard someone say recently that the month of May is as busy as December but she hadn’t planned for it. I can identify! May is always busy with end-of-the-year school activities then add a birthday, piano recital, and at least six baseball games a week and we wonder if we’re coming or going.

I LOVE celebrating David’s birthday but because of the above stated annual activities, it sometimes gets a little lost in the shuffle. But I really wanted this year to be different and because we obviously cannot get too much baseball, the boys and I gave him the gift of a family night at Turner Field. It was a late night and so we celebrated over two days and had cake the next night.

                             (delivering the candy bouquet we made, along with his favorite drink)
David is a lover of God, his family, and friends. I am forever grateful for the amazing parenting that he received. The boys and I are the daily beneficiaries of his stability and graciousness. We are blessed!