Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Memorial Box Monday (on a Tuesday, almost Wednesday...)

As I mentioned on an earlier post, Linny at A Place Called Simplicity is challenging my faith. Linny does something called Memorial Box Monday. She has a box that she keeps small reminders in of the things God has done in her life. It is often the case that my head hits the pillow at night, and my stomach clenches up with anxiety - and oh how everything seems so much worse at night! And I know it's all going to be ok, but I wonder how much stuff I'm going to have to sacrifice and I don't want to! And yet, I know nothing is impossible for God. So on nights like this, it calms me so to read through all the posts of how God has worked in the lives of His people! He loves us! Linny's recent post was a story about an eye contact (I would highly encourage you to head over and read her post and the comments following!) God has done many things for me over the years - some, though, I have forgotten about or they've bccome hazy in my memory. Her post helped me remember a story of my own. And I guess if I had a Memorial Box, I would put a contact and a blade of grass in it. Here's why:

During my sophmore year of college, I was an RA (Resident Assistant) and a group of us were taken out late at night to a campground for training. (This was college! Crazy times!) So we are in this field with just car headlights for light. It was cold and there was a dew or frost on the ground. As we ran around playing the team-building game, someone yelled out that they'd lost a contact. Now it's dark, there are 15 or 20 of us running around on this wet/glistening grass and someone loses a contact. But they couldn't see and it wasn't like they could run home and get another pair. So we began searching in the darkness. I can't remember how long we searched - it doesn't seem like it was too long. But with soft contacts, they dry up fast and I was worried it would dry out and crack. I could remember times when as a child, myself or my brother would lose something. My mom would have us stop and pray. And God would inevitably show us where the item was. So I stopped everyone and told them we needed to pray. I was nervous, but had this strange boldness too. I was kneeling down in the grass and prayed outloud asking God to show us where that contact was - He knew!! He could show us if He chose to. As I opened my eyes, I felt like I should look at the ground to the right of me. I glanced over to my right area in front of me and saw something glistening. Now all the grass was glistening from the dew/frost/whatever it was, but I reached down and it was the contact! It was amazing! God had answered my prayer. Out of that whole field, He had made me kneel right in the correct spot and impressed on my heart to pray - not so I could get the glory for finding the contact, but so HE could! We do serve an awesome God, who cares about even the small moments of our lives. It's hard for me to comprehend and then I know He cares for the small moments and still I struggle to trust Him with the big moments. Shame on me! God is good to us - all the time, not just when He feels up to it. He always wants to take care of us and He always wants us to rely on Him. I so need reminders of that on a daily basis.

On another note, please continue to keep my Grandpa in your prayers. Although he is home from the hospital, he is very weak. He will fail and then he will rally. Pray especially for my Grandma too as she is losing her best friend ever. My heart breaks to think of it. How glad I am that they both love the Lord Jesus and have accepted the work He did on the cross for them! I know they will be reunited again, but I'm sure the time in between will be painful. So please pray for my Grams and Grandpa, and the rest of my family, too. Thank you.

Swimming, septics, and a coffee hunt...

Everything is going well here. Eme just completed her first swim class at the local Y! She loved it! There were 3 other girls in her class. I have been praying, praying, praying that she would make a good friend! I was a bit sad when we got there and out of the two girls there, one was older and one was younger. BUT God is good and another little girl came late and she is in the same grade as Eme. Yay!

We weren't sure we put her in the right class, skill-wise. Eme is a natural swimmer, but has never taken lessons. It was obvious that she wasn't as "skilled" as the other girls in her class, mechanics-wise. The teacher saw me waiting in the hall outside the locker room and stopped to chat. She told me that when she heard Eme had never taken lessons, she thought for sure they would be putting her in a lower level class. But then she saw her swim and said she is a natural and just needs help with the mechanics. She doesn't see any reason why she shouldn't be able to keep up and excel in this level! Double yay! So it was a great experience for her. Hopefully in January, we will sign the whole family up and then the little girls can take lessons too. :)

Our septic is still too full. Garr is trying to figure out how best to handle it. We aren't sure what step to take next and could really use God's wisdom on this. Thankfully there are some good friends giving good advice - just a matter of which way to go!

This morning I came out of my room to find some coffee spilled on the floor. A few feet away, there was more coffee spilled on the floor. The strange thing was there was no mug of coffee around. I kept walking and walking and walking until I got to the other side of the house (it's a big circle.) And then I laughed. And laughed and laughed. Apparently Daniel thought Rocky needed an energy boost (not!) and filled his water dish with the rest of Garr's coffee. I found the mug sitting empty next to the dish. Life is rarely boring around here! :)

Friday, October 23, 2009


***My Grandpa has congestive heart failure. His lungs were full of fluid. He has completely turned around - Praise God! And is doing great now!!

***I should have topped my Thankful List with my Husband! I am so so so blessed to have a husband who can fix things around our house and who is willing to! He is such a hard worker - spent his entire time off working on our septic and wood and helping with Daniel while I had a crazy night at Awana. He doesn't complain or whine. He just does what needs to be does and then keeps loving on his family - I don't know where he gets the energy from! I am so thankful for him!

***Our draw money finally arrived yesterday!! I was jumping up and down when that UPS truck pulled into our driveway :) After a very long wait, we have finally been reimbursed and can now continue with our house projects!

***Garr was able to rent another roto-rooter (and a generator this time) and it worked! He roto-rooted the septic lines again and so far so good!

***My knee has gotten swollen and is a bit itchy, but nothing terrible. Hopefully it will go away soon. I wish I could take some Benadryl, but unfortunately, it's kind of important that parents are awake to take care of their children. Darn! :)

God is good! All the time! Even when it doesn't seem like it, we are trusting that He has a greater plan :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Squashed Bugs and Thankfulness

You know how somedays you're the windshield and somedays you're the bug? Well, yesterday was definitely a bug day. In the morning we got the call about Grandpa. Then Garr went to pick up a load of wood (we were completely out and currently only have a fireplace for heat.) When he got home, he checked our septic to find that it was completely backed up. Now when we moved in, our septic did fail inspection. But we really thought it was fine as we've had absolutely no problems with it to date. So after getting the girls to help unload the truckload of wood, Garr headed to the home store to rent a roto-rooter. While he was gone, the girls and I stacked all the wood. After getting the electric roto-rooter set up, we found out that it didn't work. It worked for about 5 minutes and then we couldn't get it turned back on - even though we changed it's position and tried to get it closer to the outlet, etc.

While doing this, all of a sudden I felt like there was a bug up my pantleg, near my knee. I started to carefully pull up the leg of my jeans and WHAM, I got stung. The bee was still in my pantleg, so I was trying to carefully get my jeans up to get the bee out! (I seriously considered for a moment just pulling my jeans right off in the backyard to let that thing lose, but decided I better not - LOL) After pulling the leg of my jeans up, I couldn't find the bee - he was stuck in between the folds. I gave Garr a "help me!" look and he swatted it away. It was still alive at that point and Garr said he was BIG. I had forgotten how bad a bee sting hurts!

So back to the roto-rooter. We wheeled it back out to the septic (me limping along). This time Garr pushed it into the septic lines and I manually rotated the wheel. Can you say gross, disgusting job??? And everytime I thought my job was so gross, I'd look at my poor husband and see him up to his elbows in you-know-what and feel even worse for him! We must have worked those lines for 2 hours or more. And nothing. It still didn't drain.

By now, it's 5 o'clock, so all the septic people are closed. Garr decided to get the sump pump from our crawlspace and see if he can pump some of the liquid out of the tank. So he crawls under there, gets it screwed off, takes it back to the tank, ties a chain to it, lowers it in, and guess what? It barely works!

Meanwhile it is almost 6:30 and I have yet to start dinner. Garr goes to take the malfunctioning rooter back to the store while I get started on dinner. (I love this meal and I'll post the recipe later!) While making dinner, I slice the palm of my hand - a good 1 1/2 inches - not deep, more like a papercut. But boy does that sting! So I can barely use my hand and my knee still hurts like crazy from the sting and then my egg beater breaks. blah.

What a day! And this is where the "thankfulness" comes in...

I've been reading a very interesting blog named "A Place Called Simplicity." And the name really drew me in when I realized that she has 10 kids. 10 kids! A place called SIMPLICITY? Are you kidding me? And many of them are adopted with special needs. And she homeschools. And the more I read her blog, the more I realize she is a real person with a real (loud and crazy, I'm sure) family. I only have 4 very healthy kids and that is the last name I would give a blog about our family! lol So why would she name her blog that? I can't really answer for her, but I think it is because she lets God direct their lives. When you give up the reins to Someone else, there is this peace that overtakes you. Less focus on self and stuff and more focus on others. And she's thankful. Thankful for everything and in everything.

She started this thing called "Thankful Thursday." She plays this game with her children where they have to tell 10 things they are thankful for (and she strategically has them play this game when they are whiny or cranky) It brought back memories of a game I used to play with the girls when they were little, inspired by the movie, Pollyanna. I hadn't played it with the girls in a long time and during a particularily cranky school moment, I decided to start it up again. They loved it. Well, they didn't mind doing it and it did change their attitudes lol. So I've been trying to play it myself whenever I feel cranky or well, "like the bug." So all day yesterday I kept trying to come up with things to be thankful for. And actually (surprisingly!) there were a lot. And since I already told you my complaining list, here's my Thankfulness list (and it happens to be Thursday, sweet!)

1. It was a beautiful warm sunny day - mid 70s - not hot like in the summer (can you imagine doing the septic job in 90 degree heat? gross!) and also it was not raining!!

2. The kids were happy and occupied. Daniel napped (took an extra long one) while we were working with the septic and the girls played.

3. Rocky obeyed and didn't run off :)

4. Our draw hasn't come in yet, but at least we haven't spent it on house needs other than the septic thinking it was fine!

5. Garr controlled his temper! This is a big one! I've been praying for my husband and his temper (which really should be a no-no, I've realized, because God will just give him more opportunities to get mad and practice controlling his temper! lol) But really, he did great and he even mentioned it himself! (And yes, he knows I'm writing this and is fine with it lol)

6. My knee is starting to feel better and hasn't swollen up as stings have in the past.

7. My husband was right there to swat that big bee away from me!

8. The girls and I (and Garr) had a great Bible time during school yesterday morning and everyone took a turn praying. Their requests? Eme - a friend's salvation and the orphans in the world who need homes; Abby - her kitty (badly hurt her foot) and people in the world who don't have Bibles/don't have the Bible in their language and the "weird lady who won't give us money"(our draw lol); and Olivia - a friend's salvation. Oh and Garr and the kids wanted to pray for another puppy... (but that's a whole other story!) I am so proud of my girls!

9. The craft we are doing in school is actually a hit and turning out well! The kids worked on it while I read the Cameron Townsend (founder of Wycliffe Bible Translators) to them and they are loving the story!

10. Abby is psyched about Awana and has learned 3 verses and all the New Testament books this week!

11. The people at the home store DIDN'T charge us for the roto-rooter! YAY - since we did all the work! :)

12. My girls are hard workers! They helped me stack all that wood so that Garr didn't have to!

13. We had a yummy dinner and a warm, beautiful fire tonight and still got to watch 2 episodes of Little House. And they were funny, not sad!

14. I got a call and my Grandpa is doing better!!! They were able to drain some of the fluid off him and put him on O2 and he is responding well!! Praise God!

15. Finally, I'm thankful for "A Place Called Simplicity" and the challenges it has given my heart.

What are you thankful for today?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Saying good-bye

We got a call this morning that my Grandpa may be dying. He is having trouble breathing (we think his lungs are filling with fluid.) They are taking him to the hospital by ambulance. My parents are rushing home (6 hour trip.) It's hard to be so far away. We are so lucky though to have recently made the trip and celebrated Grandpa's 88th birthday with him. So blessed to have that chance to tell him again how loved he is. I am so grateful to God for the grandparents He has given me. Good, solid people who love each other, love their families, and love God. My Grandpa was never rich, but he gave generously to anyone who needed it. And I know there is a crown waiting for him in heaven. And I am SO thankful that I will see him again someday. And he can give me one of his big hugs and kisses, and say "I love ya" again. I know Grandpa has lived a long full life. I know he is going to be running and living again in heaven, as he hasn't been able to here on earth. I know he will be SO pleased to be reunited with my Aunt Thelma, who was taken away from us too early in life. But I will miss him so. And so will my children. The girls spent a good part of the morning crying, sad to be losing their great-Grandfather, worried about Great Grandma being left alone, and upset that Daniel will never really know Great Grandpa. I told them they could tell Daniel all about him. And reassured them that they will get to see Grandpa again and prayerfully, so will Daniel. But it is still SO hard to say good-bye.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Slow Cooker Chicken Taco Soup

My mom found this recipe and shared it with us last week - it is SO good and easy! It's a lot like chili, but made with chicken. We are loving it this fall!

1 onion, chopped
1 (16 ounce) can chili beans
1 (15 ounce) can black beans
1 (15 ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle beer (you can use non-alcoholic beer or substitute chicken broth)
2 (10 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained
1 (1.25 ounce) package taco seasoning
3 whole skinless, boneless chicken breasts
shredded Cheddar cheese (optional)
sour cream (optional)
crushed tortilla chips (optional)

Place the onion, chili beans, black beans, corn, tomato sauce, beer, and diced tomatoes in a slow cooker. Add taco seasoning, and stir to blend. Lay chicken breasts on top of the mixture, pressing down slightly until just covered by the other ingredients. Set slow cooker for low heat, cover, and cook for 5 hours.
Remove chicken breasts from the soup, and allow to cool long enough to be handled. Stir the shredded chicken back into the soup, and continue cooking for 2 hours. Serve topped with shredded Cheddar cheese, a dollop of sour cream, and crushed tortilla chips, if desired.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Try, Try Again :)

We are doing great! Homeschooling is great. I really enjoy it. The hardest part is getting everything done. I had in my head that we would have all this free time when we started homeschooling, but we really don't. It's tough to get everything done. I think it will get better as we go along and keep working out our routine. I have heard that the hardest part of homeschooling is staying home~ it's very close to the hardest part! :) I would say the hardest part is dealing with the attitudes you get over school work that a public school teacher wouldn't get (or maybe just wouldn't know about!) But we're coming along.

The house is coming along well. There are just a few things left to accomplish - touch ups, curtains, etc. Right now our main concern is getting some more heat! We have a wonderful fireplace in the living room that we use a lot. We are hoping to get a wood stove this week. We have awesome baseboard heat but they have some leaks - not to mention the previous owners took the fuel tank! So we need to get that replaced eventually also. I'm loving the dining room with our furniture in there. I need to start getting pictures put up!

A buddy of Garr's offered us his pool table - for free! (We have to go get it and haul it back here, but... :)) I'm really excited about it. (Garr was a bit surprised at that!) But some of my favorite memories as a child was playing pool with my cousins at my grandparents house. It will be fun to have our own. My mom's first question was "Where are you going to put it???" Which I found funny, because if you've seen the size of our house (and the amount of, er, lack of, furniture we have) you wouldn't ask that question! Anywhere we want! :) We are even considering putting it in the living room - we have this big open space with nothing there.

The animals are all doing well. Rocky is 8 months old now and 95 lbs. He continues to give us a run for our money! But overall he is a really good dog and good with the kids - he just likes to chew and visit the neighbors, which drives me crazy. :) The kitty and bunny are as sweet as ever. The gerbils are tolerable. lol

That's it for now. I need to go make some dinner and we still have some school to finish up. I'm sure we'll be finishing out our evening with an episode of Little House. We've gotten up to Season 8. Not sure what we are going to do when we finish - Avonlea maybe? Any good suggestions?