Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Creating Space

School. Packing suitcases. Unpacking boxes. Meeting vendors to fix this or install that. Get this done so that can be finished. Run here. Run there.  Oh, do you really need lunch? Right now? Hurry, hurry.

Now, hear me when I say I am SO very thankful for these things to do. I am. They are good things, productive things, helpful things. But during this time of rush I am so very thankful for the timely reminder to stop. Reflect. Pray. Give thanks.

We didn't go to an Ash Wednesday service this year and that's okay. Nothing says that we have to have or attend these services. On the flip side nothing says that we can't. I find it a lovely addition to life in the rhythm of the church calendar. A reminder that God is in the business of death and resurrection.

I digress...

In the crazy of moving our Lenten wreath made its appearance on the kitchen counter. Creating space for it took work but it was intentional. It made me think of creating space in life and my heart to be filled by Jesus. He poured out His life for His people. Be filled. It was good to have this reminder. My girls squealed when I brought it out, "Easter is coming!" I didn't prompt them. I said nothing. It was good to have this reminder.

So, we pray. We talk. We read. We reflect on the ministry of Jesus. We give thanks.

We anticipate.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Cherished Coversations | Worship the Lord

A couple of days ago I was talking to Miss L about traveling to Denver for her Grandpa Great's funeral. I told her that we would fly from Texas to Colorado on Saturday then come back Sunday afternoon. She thought about this for a bit and then asked, "How will we worship the Lord if we are traveling on Sunday." My heart leapt as I realized her observation of the pattern of the week and the importance of the Lord's day in the life of a believer. I told her we would most likely listen to a sermon online and sing together as a family. 

Husband has always made the Lord's day a priority...even while on vacation he will look into a place where we can worship with other believers. I have always appreciated that about him. We are now seeing that impression being made on our children.

"Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it."
Proverbs 22:6

Friday, January 1, 2016

Reflections | 2015

Goodness.  Two posts in all of 2015.  All the same I still like to do my reflections post even if just for myself to look back on.  I always think that I will get back to blogging...but I don't.  While the desire is there I don't want to put so much pressure on myself.  I have other things that are far more important to put my full effort into.  There are some other things that I may post later that will have a 2015 date...things I want to remember.

If I had one word for 2015 it would be...CRAZY.  The things that happened this year were not things that I would have ever anticipated happening.  Maybe the better word would be TRUST.  Maybe both?  You tell me at the end of this post, okay? HA!


      ...started on a normal enough note as we had playdates and fun times with our friends, the Kellers, who are missionaries in Africa home on furlough.

     ...was just a mere two weeks into existence when our sweet neighbor, Janeen, passed away quite unexpectedly upon returning home from a successful heart surgery. Our little cul-de-sac was in shock. We rallied around her friends and family to help with the mourning process.  More on that later.

     ...was the year Husband and I went to see Jim Gaffigan in person at a venue in Scottsdale.  I laughed until I cried.  No really. So funny. Hot Pockets. (If  you know him, you laughed)

    ...marked another year of getting to know our neighbors even more.  Janeen (mentioned above) always had a HUGE St. Patrick's day gathering at her home.  It truly was her favorite holiday.  So, along with a couple of other neighbors, we organized a HUGE party in our cul-de-sac to honor Janeen's memory.  About 250 people (some even from across the country!) showed up to raise a parting glass, release some balloons, and remember their friend.  We had fun and we were so blessed that we could enter into people's lives during their grief.

     ...was a year that reminded me how fast things change.  Four days after the above party and two days after my birthday I experienced the craziest things ever.  I couldn't speak.  No words would come.  Husband called 911.  The fire department came.  I went to the hospital (not in an ambulance) and it was finally determined that I had a mini stroke.  More on that later.

     ...had it's share of fun times as almost all of the Illinois contingent of Husband's family was in town to visit.  Little cousins having fun was probably the best part of it all.

     ...was a year I could cross off one of my big goals.  I completed a 5k!  I didn't run the whole thing and it was actually a little more than a 5K (3 miles) as it was the Pat's Run in Tempe, AZ that is 4.2 miles.  I finished in about an hour.  Husband finished well before me in about 30 minutes! (And yes, this was AFTER my mini-stroke)

     ...was the year that my girls discovered they like to hike.  We hiked some in Seattle in 2014 and they loved it.  So we took them to Sedona and what we thought was going to be a one mile trek turned into three and it was...AWESOME.  No complaining and they just kept going.  They were worn out after and promptly fell asleep in the car but they loved it.

     ...was the year that I watched friends who had longed for children have babies placed in their arms and had the most remarkable stories to tell.  They were truly labors of love and my heart is bigger for being blessed to know them.

     ...was the year that I learned to make jam.

     ...was the year that the girls and I experienced our first vacation bible study (VBS) at our church.  I never went as a kid but I got to be a tribe leader this summer.  Miss L and Miss A were in different tribes while Miss S was in the nursery tribe.  All had a blast and I am so glad that I bought the music for the week because even now they STILL love to sing along.

     ...revealed that I had a hole in my heart.  Yep, that's what the culprit was in my mini-stroke experience.  I had heart surgery to close it up and spent the rest of the year on a medication that caused some crazy bruising on my body.  At the end of the year I had a final test done and IT CLOSED.  The device sat nicely on the heart wall and all was good.  My cardiologist said I could promptly forget that I ever knew him.  Uhhh... yeah, that will be hard to do. HA!

     ...meant we started yet another year of home schooling the girls.  Miss L started 2nd grade and Miss A started kindergarten.  Miss S working on playing and being goofy and sometimes get a game on the iPad. While we have hard days there is nothing that I would rather be doing than teaching my girls.

     ...was the year Husband accepted a new job in Texas.  So we moved the same week that two of our girls had birthdays.  It was crazy. It was difficult. It was fun.  We went on the adventure that came to us and we have seen God's hand over the whole process.  We are so thankful for His provision, protection, and His peace.

     ...was the year our girls became road trip pros. We were thankful for the invention of portable DVD players. The break was sometimes needed for all.

     ...was the year that Husband and I lost 40 pounds...each.  I will say that I have put some back on since our move.  I'll work hard to correct that in due time as I had an extra 20 I wanted to lose anyway. Here's to knowing that it can be done!  It was so worth it!

     ...ended a bit like the beginning. On December 30, we got news that Husband's grandfather (lovingly called Grandpa Great by our girls) had passed the night before (December 29) at the age of 96.  He left behind his sweet wife of 74 and a half years.  The only person he loved longer than her was Jesus. We are thankful for his devotion and love for our Savior.  We will miss him and the joy he brought to so many.

Well, there you have it.  Reflection on the 2015.  Unfortunately, we start 2016 with a funeral but we also have many other adventures that lay ahead and we are ready to see what the Lord has for us.

Blessings to you and yours this new year!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pat's Run

Two years ago a day like this last Saturday would never have crossed my mind.  Never.  Husband and I had started to run so I could start losing the baby weight and help deal with stress of losing my dad a few months prior.  About two weeks in I broke my leg.  A stress fracture of serious proportions and I was subsequently diagnosed with osteopenia (the precursor to osteoporosis.)

What a crazy time.

I was just trying to heal, build bone mass back up, and gain confidence not only in myself but also in the bones that carry me along.

Finally, this last January I had enough.  I had to start doing something.  I was the heaviest I had been. Ever. Time do something about it. For my family is nothing else.  So, I started walking (Husband was still running and doing SO well) and we changed how we ate.  Good thing started happening. Husband ran in the Pat's Run  (4.2 miles) last year and wanted to do it again.  He encouraged me to do it, too.

I was scared.  For so many reasons.  But finally I said I would do it and stepped up my time working out.

My goal going into the run was to NOT have 20 minute miles.  Most of my workouts I averaged a 15-17 minute mile so I felt pretty good going into the race.  Husband and I started together but because he runs I knew I would just find him at the finish line. It was a good challenge. Husband beat his goal time of 40 minutes by 2 minutes!  I was so proud of him.  I finished in 1 hour and 7 minutes. YAY!!  I was pretty excited and may even attempt to do it again next year.

Our kids want to do the kids run next year.  That will be fun.  

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Brain is a Curious Thing or The Morning We Called 911

Wednesday morning started like any other morning. Or so I thought.  About 10 minutes after getting out of bed my vision became blurry, I was dizzy, and as I tried to say any words they wouldn't come. My husband was in the shower and I had to communicate my distress to him so I tried the best I could to say something and my failed attempts at communicating anything of significance alarmed my husband. I layed back in bed and Husband called 911.  The thoughts of a possible stroke ran though both of our minds. I kept trying to tell Husband about the alarm in the house but I could only call it the "thing" and he had to turn it off.  The things we think of in crisis, right?

The paramedics came bounding in rather quickly and started asking me questions.  I started crying because I knew the answers to their questions but could not actually say the words to answer them. For example, they asked if I knew where I was.  I did.  I knew that I was in my house but I could NOT say the word house.  However, I COULD say the numbers in my address.  Go figure.  My language started to come back to me after awhile as the paramedics checked to see if I was currently having a stroke or heart attack.  I passed their tests but they gave me the option of either taking a ride in an ambulance to the ER or get in to my primary as soon as possible.  I opted for the later.

My children were not scared during this time but found it fascinating that the fire department was in our house.  The girls informed them that our neighbor was a firefighter which one of the men tending to me actually knew.  They took the girls out into the truck let them climb around and let the siren go once.  If our neighbors were hoping to enjoy sleeping in over Spring Break that was the morning it was NOT going to happen.  HA!

I was able to get in to see a nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic (where my primary doctor is) and given orders for a complete blood work panel and an MRI of my head and neck that was completed on Thursday evening.  This morning (Friday) I was called and told that everything came back clear but they are going to send my MRI and reports over to the neurology department for a consult.

So, what does all this mean?  Well, we know that I didn't have a stroke.  I could have had a TIA (read about that here) or a possible seizure.  Yes, you can have a seizure and be fully conscious. Now we wait to hear more from the doctors and hope that the symptoms do not occur again.  I am so thankful for my husband who did not hesitate because all of my physical symptoms were that of a stroke, while rare in thirty-six year olds, are not unheard of.  I was pretty worn out after everything and I had a pretty normal day today but still tired.  It's hard to fully know if small things I experience are connected to my episode or not.  I am trying to be "normal" but also observant of what is happening with my body.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Reflections | 2014

     While many were glad to be rid of 2014 I found myself thankful for a year of healing and moving forward and basically peace.  Now, all those words have different meanings to different people.  But I would say those words for this last year.  I was thankful for an ordinary year.  Let's me be perfectly clear there were bumps, and shoves, and things that I wished we didn't have to deal with.  However, they weren't significantly life changing and in comparison to things that happened in recent past they were relatively small.  In comparison to things that many of our friends and family have endured they were merely blips on the radar.  Ordinary.  I am SO thankful for ordinary...not dull or boring...but ordinary.


...was the year we got to know our neighbors.  After about five years in this house we finally know the people that live around us.  Not just, "Hey, good to see you" know them but enough that some of them are letting us really enter into their lives with them.  We have walked through divorce, death of a parent, cancer, and more.  One has even come to a new faith in Jesus and we are hoping to be a further encouragement to them.  It's been a good year in this regard especially in a time when many just drive in their garages, close the door, and never know the people that live next door.

...was the year that we changed churches not once, but twice.  One we left on good terms and the other closed its doors.  We are not church hoppers and this situation completely drives us all bananas. We have landed in a place that seems to be a good fit for us now, while not perfect (no church is), we can be happy and bloom where we are planted.  This situation would be what I would consider a "shove" that I would prefer not to deal with.  But we must press on.

...Miss L started 1st grade and learned to read.  She made tremendous strides in her reading during our Christmas break.  More on that in another post.

...We went on vacation to Seattle for the first time since I was pregnant with Miss L.  We had such a good time there as a family.  Miss L is convinced that we should move there.  So much so that she prays for it every. night.

...was the year that we plugged in with other homeschooling families with children in the same age range as our children.  It has been fun to adventure out and learn together about variety of things. New friends with different backgrounds.  Um, no... I am not worried about socialization.  My kids will start up a conversation with just about anyone.

...was the year that we saw the end of the diaper stage in our home.  Miss S potty trained (quickly) in June and we have never looked back.  It's a new freedom and a little sad sometimes, too.  Although the toilet paper consumption has gone up exponentially, it's still cheaper than diapers.

...was the first year that I intentionally read the bible from cover to cover.  I'm sad that it was not anything that I ever did while I was in full time ministry. Sure, I studied most of the bible but I am not confident that I had read the WHOLE of the bible.  It will become a yearly endeavor from here on out.  Such a fruitful thing to do.

See? A pretty ordinary year... love it.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Microwave & Bed Buddies

We have been using our microwave a lot lately.

No, not necessiarily for food.  I try to limit that.  But all of a sudden our microwave seems to be getting a lot of use.

Why, you ask?

Bed buddies.

Bed buddies?

Yes. These little rice filled cloth bags, made by my mother-in-law, are popped into the microwave for whatever amount of time you need to get it to the right temperature. (A bit over a minute for little people so they don't burn themselves) Then you slide it to the bottom of the bed and it keeps your feet warm while you drift off to dream land.  Or if you are like Miss S you can just hold it and it will just keep you warm in general.  Sometimes I roll some essential oils over it after it comes out of the microwave... the girls love that.

So, one or two bags are usually warmed up at nap time...three when the girls go to bed...and then one or two when Husband and I go to bed.  And sometimes there is a request for one to be warmed up just for watching a movie.

That would be why our microwave is getting such use these days.