Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!

December 2012
Merry Christmas!
I can hardly believe it’s been another year and I have to come up with a new Christmas card—I was still basking in the success of last year’s card.
2012 has been a good year for our family! Marriage is easy, our children are angels, and life is wonderful every day! We have it together! Smooth sailing in the Desvousges home!
Now that we’ve got that out of the way…
Richard started a new job with American Family Insurance as Fields Claim Appraiser in May. He has been very busy establishing himself there and enjoys his work. He joined a hockey team called the Bullheads and enjoys his practices and games. He makes losing weight look easy, and by December 10 had removed approximately 400 tons of snow from our and our neighbors’ driveways. Some of Richard’s favorite things are silence, the dark, playing hockey or football, and texting (in that order).
Erin also made a job change this year. She left her position as Target Lady to go to work at a counseling clinic called Family Innovations. Erin also took on a leadership position with LATTE, a women’s ministry at Faith Community Church, as the leader for publicity and communications. She will be speaking at the ministry’s January event and is excited for the opportunity. Some of Erin’s favorite things are silence, waking up to clean dishes in the dishwasher, fiction books, and obedience (though, not necessarily in that order).
Shirley Jean started a new preschool this year and has made some very good friends there. Some of Shirley’s favorite things are playdates, horses, baking, and having her fingernails painted. Shirley is especially looking forward to Christmas this year and it’s fun to see her really care about the holiday. She asked me yesterday if she could write to Santa and ask if he is real. I have a feeling Santa will write back and teach her about the real reason we celebrate Christmas, even though Santa is a wonderful person, too. Shirley will be five in March. Where has the time gone?!
Richard Joseph will be three in March and literally gets cuter every single day. His vocabulary and attitude explode every few weeks and in between we deal with growth spurts that usually lead to extra clumsiness and forehead bruises. Richard got to really experience snow for the first time last week and he loved it! Even with his boots falling off in the deep snow, soaked socks and freezing fingers, he still threw a fit when it was time to come in. The boy loves an adventure! Some of Richard’s favorite things are “foo-ball!,” coloring, repeating what his sister says, and sitting on Pam (see below).
Pedro is still here. Not much new to report on him. He’s lost some weight this year and is peeing on fewer things, so he endures.
Kitty’s name changed in 2012 and he now goes by Pam. We would appreciate your respectful acknowledgement of this change when you next see him.
All in all, the Lord has been faithful and good to us in 2012. We look forward to the New Year and send many blessings your way!
With love and peace,
Richard, Erin, Shirley & Richard Desvousges

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Tuesday at Target

I was just approached by a woman in the Target parking lot. She tapped on my window after I buckled both kids in and asked me if I could help her get to a women's shelter in Minneapolis.
She told me she had 30 nights reserved for her there, but she had to get there and is there any way I could help her?
I told her I don't have much cash, but I could pay for one of her bus trips.
She said she hadn't eaten since she got off the Greyhound from New York.
I offered her the choice of any of the groceries we'd just purchased--including the Oreos!
She laughed at me and said, "No thank you. I'll just take the money."
So I gave her every penny I had--$1.95 in change.
As I drove away, I got to thinking...there's no Greyhound drop off near our Target. She laughed at my genuine offer of practical help. She approached another mother with children as soon as my window was rolled up.
I think I was fooled.
And that kinda ticks me off. Don't approach me when I've got my chicks in public. This mama hen is vulnerable in the open with her chicks.
As we neared our home and my blood pressure was nearing dangerous levels, God softened my heart. He reminded me that everyone has a story and what must hers be like that she's asking mama hens for money in a public parking lot? Did she intend for her life to take whatever path has brought her here?
In 2 Corinthians 1:1b-9 Paul writes:
For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, 2 of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.
It's so encouraging to learn that even Paul suffered discouragement and despair. If the God of mercy comforts me and comforted Paul, what right have I not to show love to a lady--"utterly burdened"--telling me lies through my car window on a drizzling Tuesday afternoon?
It irks me that she was, in all probability, lying to me...but, then again, maybe she wasn't. In truth, if I'd had more money, I would have given it to her. I guess it's perfectly providential that I had just enough to cover one bus ride. I think it's fair to deduce that she IS burdened and in some kind of trouble, so I hope my $1.95 makes a difference and somehow reminds her of the Truth: that she is loved and cherished by the God of comfort and grace.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ten on Ten

The naked brigade!
Ok, not totally naked...but how would you know?
His and Hers

Act natural, guys.

This note was waiting for me at work when I got there.
It shares fantastic news. :)

Snack time!

Deck time!

This is Jolynn's "CHEEEESE!" face.

Shirley needed a little TLC after falling off the swing.
Sometimes it's hard being four.

Oh my.

Moustache gal.

If you are interested in participating in Ten on Ten next month, click here. It's always so fun! xoxo

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Dinner Date

Tonight, I got done at work earlier than expected and texted Rich to tell him I was going to stop and get a haircut on the way home.
He wrote back and said, "Ditch the hair cut, let's meet up for dinner."
I thought, "Cool! A dinner date!"
On my way out the door, I called him, "Where do you want to meet? How about Red Robin?"
He said, "Sounds good. See you there."
Hang up.
Two minutes later he called me back, "Hey, I was kind of thinking we could eat something a little lighter."
I said, "Ok, how about Noodles?"
He said, "Nahhh."
I said, "Ok, how about somewhere like Subway? Or I'd rather eat at Davanni's."
He said, "Yeah...ok."
Hang up.
Two minutes later he called back, "Um...the kids are really whiny. Should we eat somewhere they can play?"
I said, "Like...McDonald's?"
He said, "Yeah, good idea. See you there."
Hang up.
How romantic.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

You mean like the coat?

Last night as I was finishing up my workout I asked a meathead (no, seriously) walking in if it was still raining outside.
He said, "Nah, it's just sprinkling. Otherwise I would be trenched."

It took everything in my power not to say, "Oh, would you? You don't seem the type."

Monday, April 30, 2012

Book Review

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznik
Synopsis: A boy in 1930's Paris lives among the clocks in the train station. He keeps them running and hopes no one will find him. In his spare time he tinkers with mechanical devices and learns about magic tricks and film, all while working on a secret project. Along the way he meets some interesting characters who will shape his future.
Readability: Super quick, but completely enthralling. This is essentially a children's (or juvenile) graphic novel, thought I'm not sure it fits the description perfectly...but who cares. The pictures are FANTASTIC! Anyway, it's a quick read because most of the book is pictures. When I first started reading, I had a hard time letting myself get into the pictures because I'm *such* a grown up, but once you get going, the flow is perfect.
Predictability: Well. I thought I had it all figured out. I kind of knew where we were going, until the last line, which completely floored me. Until I got to the end of the book, I kept thinking, "Ok, this is cute...what's the big deal?" And then I read the last line, which broke my heart open and crawled inside where it will stay forever and ever. It's not often that I love a book like this. Like I'll never forget it.
Couldn't Put it Down Factor: I read the whole thing in two hours. So there you have it.
Recommend it?: YES! Go get it right now. It won the Caldecott Medal and was turned into a movie for a reason. (Side note: did you know the movie Hugo was based on this novel? I had no idea until one of my co-workers asked me about it.)
Overall Rating: Five stars. LOVED IT.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Opposites Attract.

Erin: You need to relax. Stop being so Baptist.
Richard: I can't. I can't do it.
E: Think how much easier your life would be if you just let your inner David Lee Roth out.
R: I can't do it.
E: Come on. Just give me a little scream.
R: I can't do it.
E: Just one little scream. HEEEEEY YEAH!
R: I can't do it.
E: So I guess if you were in a band, you'd be the kind of guy who'd be the drummer--not really a "front man" kind of guy?
R: Um...maybe.
E: The bass player?
R: No. Too animated.
E: Backup guitar?
R: Yeah, maybe. I'm not sure, though.
E: Who, then?
R: The bus driver.
E: We are SO different.
R: Uh, YEAH.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Book Review

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
Synopsis: In post-WWII Russia, Leo discovers a string of murders, which he is compelled to solve without detection from his military superiors...because "crime doesn't exist" in Communist Russia.
Readability: Aside from the Russian names, it's not as if this one was at all difficult to follow. Much of the book was VERY difficult to read because of some pretty brutal violence. Other than that..the plot twists, the character development, the writing was all along the lines of a Nancy Drew novel.
Predictability: Ugh. I mean, seriously.
Couldn't Put it Down Factor: Well, here's the rub. The story was compelling enough that I wanted to know if it was going to work out the way I expected it to work out. Guess what: I was right.
Recommend it?: Gee whiz, what do you think? Don't bother. Disappointing at best. The story line was interesting enough. Like, interesting enough to make up a Law & Order episode, but violence for the sake of violence is so. bor. ing. And offensive.

Overall Rating: One star. For the fact that this guy managed to get it published. One star for effort.

Saturday, April 07, 2012


As we approach Easter, I find myself thinking about Peter and his denial of the Lord.
Luke 22:60-62 says: But Peter said, "Man, I do not know what you are talking about" And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, "Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times" And he went out and wept bitterly.
I'll bet he wept bitterly. Talk about an understatement. Can you imagine the weight carried in that look shared between Peter and Jesus? Poor, poor Peter. How humiliating. How disappointing. How crushing. They were friends, and Jesus even knew Peter would deny him, but Peter didn't believe it. Ye he denied the Lord any way.
Are we really so different?
My favorite thing about this story is the sweet forgiveness Peter receives later in John 21. Some of the disciples are out fishing when they realize Jesus is talking to them from the shore. Peter says, "It is the Lord!" and throws himself in the water to swim to meet Jesus standing on the shore 100 yards away. I love it. I LOVE that part. His denial didn't matter--all that mattered was the resurrected Lord waiting for him on the shore and he could. not. get. there. fast enough.
What kind of private conversation must they have had while they waited for the others to drag the net full of fish to shore? Did Peter beg for forgiveness? Did he throw himeslf at Jesus' feet? Did he embrace his friend? Did they weep? Did they laugh?
What kind of love is this, that Peter can deny the Lord and then be embraced by him as a friend a few days later?
And again, I ask, are we so different?
Will Jesus turn us away if we go running to him? Or will he wait for us--even though we have denied him in the face of his own humiliation?
Jesus said to [Thomas], "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him." (John 14:6-7)
Anyway...all this is to say: I bet Peter really gets down at the Resurrection celebration in heaven.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


I've been thinking about hate lately. In fact, I asked God to deliver me from hating someone recently. I believe that he has and will, but I also hope I can let it go. So, while I'm thinking about it, I have to ask...
Who do you hate, gentle reader?
Who hates you?
Is there a difference?
(For me, there is no difference.)
Hate can spring up so quickly from something that seems so small...envy, anger, name it. Sometimes even the tiniest seed of irritation can grow into a giant cactus in the middle of our flower garden. Nothing pushes me closer to the brink of hatred like unloading the dishwasher after someone else has loaded it. I'm not kidding. Ask me about it--I'll tell you some time.
But here's the thing--and I hope this knocks your socks off, the way it did mine--we don't have the right to hate each other. God doesn't give us that right. The only one with the power to judge is the Lord. Not me. And who am I to hate someone God loves dearly as his own? Can I claim his love--to be loved as his beloved, chosen child while hating someone all the while? Surely hating while being God's beloved are incongruous. 1 John 4:10 says, "In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." We are loved. Loved. Loved. The Bible is very clear on this. This is just one example of God's love for us among MANY. If you don't believe me, go to and type in the word love.
Anyway, back to hate. Let me lay this one from Exodus 23:4 on ya, "If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying down under its burden, you shall refrain from leaving him with it; you shall rescue it with him."
I believe what the metaphor is pointing at here is the idea that if someone who hates you is burdened or in jeopardy, you shall rescue them. If you are able to help, you may not turn away. In this way, we are bound to those we hate! Imagine that. We are already bound to them in our hearts...carrying around the burden of our hatred, but we are bound by Christ's love to help them.
What does it do to our hearts if we unburden the ones who hate us? Since, really, there is no difference between being hated and hating (at least for me. If you are able to make a distinction, you are a better man or woman than I), if we turn around and help those that we hate, what happens?
Now, I suppose there are circumstances where this won't happen or isn't possible. But I propose that there are situations where it IS possible. Where it can happen.
So, go for it. I encourage you to, "Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you." Luke 6:27-28.
I'm going to give it my honest-to-goodness best shot, and with God's grace maybe I will be able to let go of my hate and become more like him in the process.
Let me know how it works out.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

I'll take what I can get.

On Thursday night, we headed to a bar in Minneapolis to celebrate my sister's golden birthday.Upon arrival I handed the bouncer my ID.
Erin: Oh, I should tell driver's license isn't completely accurate.
Bouncer [hesitant look of fear]: What? Why?
E: Well, I weigh less than what it says. I need to get a new one.
B: Really? How much less?
E: One pound.
B: Uh...congratulations?
E: THANK YOU!!!!! That's so nice of you to notice.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

One Thousand!

Friends, today is a special day. This marks my 1000th blog post as HaikuLady. Wow. We have come a long way in the last six years! What better way to celebrate this milestone than a Ten on Ten. Enjoy a very busy day in our life!

Nobody move!

Meal planning and recipe reorganization.
(I know how to have a good time.)

There are only two things I eat ketchup on.
One of them is grilled cheese.

Spring boy!
Muddy Buddies...and none too pleased.

What's wrong with this picture?

Waiting for the return of the Man.

Daddy is home!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Confessions of a SAHM

Remember in elementary school when they taught us that if we ripped a library book not to try to fix it ourselves, but to bring it to the librarian because she had "special tools" to fix them?
Guys, that was just Scotch tape.

At any rate, I guess now you know what my special tools for book repair are. Don't tell Ramsey County.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This is real life. (Alternate title: Oh, my God! My God!)

The day before Thanksgiving, a mother and daughter came through my line. I would guess they are around fifty and seventy in age, and it is clear that they are very close and enjoy each other. We got to chatting while I rang up their order and learned a little about each other: we knew some mutual people through our churches and we are all Christians. We had some giggles and sincerely wished each other well.
They came through my line again on Christmas Eve. Same thing--exchanging more pleasantries and learning a little more about each other.
One more time, a few days later, they came through my line again, getting ready for a New Year's Eve party.
And I didn't see them again until tonight.

I was ringing up her groceries, trying to remember how I knew her, when a thought came to my mind: "She comes through with her mother." The thought was barely half-formed when the words came out of my mouth, quiet, but like a trumpet to my own ears, "HOW'S YOUR MOTHER?"
She paused, looked me square in the eye and said, "She died. I knew you were going to ask me about her and I've been dreading it, but I wanted you to know."
I literally did not know what to say. In the interest of the privacy of her pain, I won't go into the details of our conversation, but suffice it to say that there is NOTHING to say when someone is crushed by heartbreak. I hugged her, and sincerely offered anything I could give. We both cried and I didn't want to embarrass her, so I didn't prolong the conversation.
It's been almost twelve hours now, and I still keep trying to think of what I should have said to her. Trying to find the right thing to say...and the only things I can come up with are this:
1. You have been a wonderful daughter. You were a blessing to your mother until the end, and I know she loved you very much.
2. It doesn't help with the pain, but what a sweet promise we have in Jesus. Without his blood, there would be no hope. And even though the hope doesn't take away what you're feeling right now, it offers us comfort that many people don't have. Salvation is the only deliverance.

I don't even know her name.