Sunday, October 25, 2009

We had some family pictures taken at the church last Saturday, and were very pleased with the way they turned out! If you're a family member that would like a copy of your own, please comment or email us and let us know what size you would like! (Merry Christmas!!)

We have had a busy last couple of months with school starting and all that entails. I was helping out quite a bit at the school but have just begun to back way down in an effort to be at home with the two boys more. Derek is quite a challenging three-year-old and really needs his Momma! Pray that I can figure out how to channel his energy!

Lauren woke up with a headache this morning, and when I questioned her as to where her head hurt, she pointed to both the front and back of her head. So, though she didn't have a fever at the time, I knew that she was legitimately ill. I'm so glad that I kept her home because she started running a fever shortly thereafter. I finally caved in around 7:00 and gave her some Motrin to help her be more comfortable because her head was hurting so badly.

Derek also has pink eye, I think. At least his one eye is making us all wince every time we look at him!

We have had four birthdays in the last month and a half and have celebrated at least half of them!

The baby is doing fine as of my last check-up (actually my first check-up) and I am scheduled to have another appointment on Thursday, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to go because the car died on me on my way home from church after children's choir. I was supposed to get home in time for Chad to be able to get to church on time, but that didn't happen. The car died at a light, and I had absolutely no power for hazards or anything, so I nearly got hit by a car from behind. Thankfully, a church member and friend stopped with his dad and took me to get a chain and pulled the car home for us! They were definitely an answer to my prayers!

I hope you all are doing well, and I will try to post a little more faithfully, but I can't make any promises at this point! :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Please Join Me in Prayer

Please pray for three families on our church. A young married man, Dan Firman, and three teen boys were on their way home from work when they were involved in a serious accident. Three of them were killed instantly and the other one is still hanging in the balances, but it is not looking good at all. Dan's wife is expecting their first child in January; his brother was two cars behind them and saw the whole thing. I'm sure he's still in shock. Two of the boys were brothers, the oldest two of 6 children. Their mother said she lost the one who took care of her (the oldest who just graduated from high school this year) and the one who made her laugh (he was going to be a junior this year).

We are having a prayer meeting at 11:00 this morning at our church. Would you join us in prayer for these families? Right now they are in the bubble of God's grace, which will hold them up and carry them through the next few days of decisions and family and funeral. The next weeks and months will be harder as day to day life tries to "settle in" unsuccessfully.

Our teenagers at our church are really having a difficult time, and I covet prayers for them. They have had quite a difficult year and seem to really be questioning how God could allow this to happen. All of these young men had superb testimonies and loved God.

Thank you for praying.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Thoughts on our Country Today

Well, you really can't click to look inside--at least not on my blog, but I thought this the easiest way to share the picture of the book I am nearly finished reading. I began it on Sunday night and have been reading it every chance I can get. Attorney David Gibbs, III recently preached at our church, and my husband purchased this book. Since I've been feeling so poorly, I really haven't been doing much reading, but this book has been calling to me ever since he let us in on a few of the details of her case during our church service.

I remember hearing about the case when it was in progress. I remember thinking that she should be allowed to live. I remember hastily offering up a token prayer or to that folks would change their minds. I remember now that I was too self-absorbed to really know or, dare I even say it, care what was truly happening in that poor woman's life.

Now I have read the entire story, and now I care. I care now, but now is a little too late. Or is it? The Terri Schaivo case was a terrible injustice, but more importantly than that, the day that Terri Schaivo died because the court ordered her feeding tube to be removed, thereby dehydrating and starving her to death, America sunk to a depth that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. We live in a scary country, right now. Our rights are being stripped away from us, one by one, while the politicians are trying to convince us that they only have our best interests in mind.

I am not now, nor will I ever be, on the political warpath. I am just a wife and a mother who has always loved her country and is now appalled at what she is becoming. What kind of America will my grandchildren live in twenty years from now if, in my lifetime, the killing of unborn children became legalized and a judge in one of the lowest courts in America ordered a perfectly healthy, disabled woman to be killed through means of dehydration/starvation because her husband, who had gone on with his life, no longer wished to care for her, even though her parents would have done anything to be able to care for her themselves?

What is our beloved country doing to itself? Where is our moral compass? Out the window with the mothers at work, I think. There is no one left at home to teach the children of America what is right and wrong, and those children are influencing our laws and policies. What can we do about it? I can stay home with my children and teach them the ways of God. And I can pray and teach my children to pray. Lining up on the streets of Washington, D.C. or outside an abortion clinic does little to change the hearts of those in power. But, we see in the book of Proverbs 21:1...

The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

Any conservative Christian these days should be concerned about the state of our country. Concerned about our children's futures. Concerned, but not worried. God is still in control, and we mothers have the ability to do that thing that gets God's attention the most--PRAY! So, dear mothers and friends, PRAY! Pray like you have never prayed before. Pray for our country.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

FOR TODAY July 18...

Outside my window...
is another fall-like day--overcast, windy and chilly.

I am thinking...
that I am ready to be done feeling sick but realize that I have ten more weeks before I'm feeling "normal" again. Maybe in 5 or 6 I'll begin to feel better...

I am thankful for...
my dear, sweet husband who is bringing me a Turkey Bacon Ranch sandwich from Arby's!

From the kitchen...
not much is going on in the kitchen on my end these days, but the three older children are making themselves bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches for lunch (after feeding the younger ones pb&J :) )
I am wearing...
a jean skirt, a short-sleeved orange sweater, and a green cardigan while being wrapped up in a down-filled blanket!

I am creating...
a new little life.

I am going...
nowhere and doing nothing. I'm such a homebody these days.

I am reading...
nothing but my Bible lately. Reading has a tendency to make my head swim.

I am hoping...
that my hubby is able to spend some time with us today.

I am hearing...
children laughing and giggling and being silly while they do their chores and eat cherries that a friend from church just dropped off.

Around the house...
things are looking pretty good. Clothing is slowly being sorted through and organized. Chad is plodding along at getting things fixed up to sell.

One of my favorite things...
a Jamocha Shake from Arby's!

A few plans for the rest of the week:
Not too much, really. Too sick to do much, so we just spend time together as a family here at the old homestead!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Potty Training Help!!!

No picture this time, but I sure do need some advice! Derek turns 3 in September, just two short months away, and he has yet to use the toilet. Every once in awhile he "accidentally" goes, such as before a bath, but not consistently. So, yesterday, we decided it was time to begin (after weeks of discussing it with him). I bought several new pairs of training pants and plastic pants and came home armed with two cushy toilet seats for the big toilets and M&Ms and AirHeads for rewards. After toilet training 5 children, you'd think I'd have a little idea of how to do this, but NOTHING seems to be working. He has not successfully gone even one time on the toilet. We finally took the training pants off, put one of the boys' shirts on him so he's "covered" and have let him run around "in the buff" so to speak. Still nothing. I'm beginning to get very frustrated at this little guy. :)

I read somewhere that children who begin talking late will also potty train late. Has anyone actually found that to be a true statement? Derek has only been talking for about 3 1/2 months or so. (if that)

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tiny, little life
Growing deep within my womb
Making me so ill.

Someday soon you’ll be
Snuggled by your family
Oh, how we’ll love you!

9 weeks, 2 days

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Two *FUN* Days at the Lake

Well, we had two truly fun days at a small little (pretty private) lake that we like to go to. The first day we (the children and mommy) went alone; the second day Daddy decided he wanted to tag along. What a special treat!

Tyler here playing in the water. He stayed in all day and ended up with a little bit of a burn on his little back despite the enormous amounts of sun block I slathered all over him! The next day he wore a shirt! :)

Brian exploring along the lake's edge.

Budge holding up his great find. Elisabeth, Budge, Brian and Daddy headed across the lake to look for wildlife. They came back with three turtles and a frog. A few minutes later, Budge found another frog.

The total wildlife catch for the day! (Within minutes of being home, the two frogs escaped!)

Budge looking for....???

Tyler "scootched" about ten feet away from me and the blanket to make his way down a slope to the water's edge. On the way back up, he lost his balance and toppled backwards. :)

Drinking from a "big boy" cup!

Meagan's and Lauren's Sand Castle

*Notice the seashell flag!

Derek holding the "big turtle."

An up close view

Brian, Big Turtle, Little Turtle
(Please disregard the legs in the background!!! lol)
Tyler wants to get in on the action!

Yes, that's a frog on his head.
We took about 100 snapshots to get just this one of the frog actually jumping!!!
Derek squishing (oops! I mean holding) the frog.
And my favorite picture of the entire two days....

Brian and Tyler
Tyler had gotten a little sand in his shorts, and Brian took him in to rinse him off.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Don't you dare bring that thing into the house!!"

That's what I heard coming out of Elisabeth's mouth from my perch on the couch after she had come running in and slammed the screen door behind her (of course waking up the baby!). "What's going on?" I demanded. Her reply? "Budge has a chipmunk in his hands!" That was the last thing I expected her to say, but that is what she said, and he was on his way into the house with it. At least he had one glove on his hand, though the thing still could have bit him. Of course, five minutes after he put the chipmunk into the box, he escaped, and we haven't seen him again. (I am so very sad about that!)

Hope you're enjoying your summer. I'll try to post more regularly.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Moment I Saw You....

I wanted to hold you
And keep you warm on a cold, grey morn'.
The moment I held you I wanted to kiss you,
And welcome you here on the day you were born.
Today our oldest turned 12. I can remember the day she was born as if it were yesterday, it seems. I remember finding out about her and going through all of the "firsts." There are so many things I remember when thinking of Elisabeth Joy...
~ I remember that she was screaming before she had completely entered the world.
~ She cried for the first 12 weeks of her life!
~ One day all of the crying ceased, and she was the happiest baby I have ever had!!
~ She has always been very content.
~ She talked very early, and one of our favorite words was "flowsh" for "flowers."
~ She has always been a caring person, looking for ways to give to others.
~ Elisabeth is happy alone or in a crowd. She's very flexible.
~ Elisabeth loves to sing.
~ Elisabeth loves babies, and she's very good with them.
The list could go on and on. The fact is, our home would never be what it is today without her. She is always giving and doing for others. If she's not taking care of one of the babies, then she is probably cleaning somewhere or playing house with her little sisters, and enjoying it. She is kind to others. She has one of the prettiest smiles I have ever seen!
Elisabeth enters 7th grade this year, and, yes, her parents are a little bit (okay, a lot) frightened. Daddy is rearranging much of his schedule to be wherever she is. I love that. I love that my man has a strong desire to protect the innocence of our daughters and sons. I love that she loves him and wants him to protect her and willingly and cheerfully goes along with everything Daddy says. She loves him with all her heart.
Her birthday was today. I can't believe she is getting so big. We went back and forth for several years about whether or not to allow the girls to get their ears pierced. Daddy said it was okay once they turned twelve, so that was one of her birthday presents--along with about 20 new (used) books!!

Practicing the Piano this Morning

Getting ready to leave on a "date" with Daddy. Daddy took her to a nice restaurant tonight to show her how special she is. Then they went for a drive. When they came home, we had ice cream cake and opened presents.

A sailor dress we bought at Easter time, but she thankfully had forgotten about it!

Nothing birthday related, but these are some of my bleeding hearts in my garden today. I love them. They might be my favorite flower, but then again, I have so many favorite flowers! :)

Tyler sharing his snack with Budge.
I am so thankful that God allowed Elisabeth to be a part of our lives. She is truly a "Joy" to have around. She is one of the hardest-working, most willing servants I have ever known. God has truly blessed our home with her presence.
Very quickly, as it is very late....

The new header of the tulips was taken in Petoskey, Michigan at a little park where the elementary school children ate lunch on the Bike-a-thon a couple of weeks ago. I am so behind on blogging. Chad asked me to make it my new header, and I really like it now that I've done it. Doesn't Meagan look so sweet? Too bad tulips don't smell as pretty as they look! :)

Sunday, May 31, 2009

New Wheels!

Chad's van has been dying a slow death these last couple of weeks, so he has been hunting for a new vehicle. He waffled back and forth about what to buy--another van, another Yukon, a truck of some kind. We needed a way for him to transport the children to school as well as having a way to transport tools for work. He finally settled on this Chevy Avalanche. He's never really had a nice car since we've been married--just "junky" work vans.

Now that we have this new truck, I am trying to tell Chad that the most logical thing for him to do once school starts is to leave the truck at home with me and the two little boys and take the Yukon with the five other school-aged children. :) Seriously, there's only three of us and 6 of them!!

Chad getting ready to leave to buy the new truck. He came to me right before he was ready and said, "I was just thinking about my mom. She would have taken a picture of me leaving to get my new truck." So, I thought he probably wanted me to do just that!!

The old beast!

All the stuff that was in Chad's van, haphazardly piled in the garage awaiting a new home!

Checking out the new wheels!

Chad with his new Chevy Avalanche!!! (oops, I mean my new Avalanche!) :)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Midnight Ramblings...

Oh, my, am I tired! I have lots of pictures to share, but that will have to come another day. I have many thoughts floating around in my head, but I haven't had the time to bring them to complete fruition, so I cannot share them today. I am falling asleep as I type this, but I miss sharing, so here I am. :)

We went straight from our week of Camp Meeting, which starts early in the morning and lasts until late at night, right into the final week of school, which is full of activities and extra duties. We have had picnics, long bike-a-thons, friends staying over while parents are away, trips to Cedar Point, and many other things going on. I can't wait until summer is here...just a couple of days and we will be able to breathe so much easier!!

We heard some fantastic sermons during camp meeting, but my favorite was the first one that I heard on Monday evening by Pastor Larry Brown from Iowa. He preached about submission in a way that I had never heard before, and it brought me under such deep conviction. Wow! I will never forget it. Someday I'll share it, but for now I just keep mulling it over and over in my mind trying to put it into practice and most often failing miserably.

Please pray for the family of a little four-year-old boy by the name of Josiah Herring who passed away this morning after a brief battle with an incurable brain tumor. Such a sad little story. I know those parents and family members must be hurting so deeply right now. I cannot imagine losing a child. The pain and emptiness and aching... But God's grace is always there when we need to help us deal with the hurt and loss. If you have children, take some extra time today to hug them and love on them. We never know what tomorrow may hold, so we need to seize the opportunities today! Opportunities to love.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

So sorry, folks. This is Camp Meeting week here at Grace Baptist, and we are so very, very busy! We've had 6 extra people in the houses, gift baskets to shop for, make, and deliver, morning and evening services to attend, activities to run, desserts to make, meals to eat, friends to fellowship with, etc. It's been fun, but exhausting. I'll fill you in on the entire experience in a few days. I hope you are all having a super week.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Some thoughts on being a wife...

I've been doing a lot of contemplating lately about marriage and being a wife. When I as a little girl (and even a big girl for that matter!), I used to dream about being married. I would dream about long walks through crunchy leaves sharing our most intimate thoughts. I would dream about beautifully clean, well-behaved, genius children who slept through the night from the day they were born and never disobeyed. I would dream about serving the Lord together with the most wonderful people in the world. I would imagine that my husband would want to spend every waking minute with me. That's what I always imagined marriage to be: two people who spent all of their time together and never tired of one another for even a second.

The truth is that we do desire to spend a great deal of time together. We occasionally are able to take long, leisurely walks together through crunchy leaves. We love one another dearly. Life, however, takes a lot of work. Much of that works take place separately from one another, which makes the times together so much sweeter. Of course, these times together occur on a daily basis, some for longer periods of time than others, but daily we have sweet fellowship.

So often, wives tend to be weak and needy. I am married to a man who serves in the ministry, meaning that he is very busy. In addition to the ministry, he spends a lot of time painting to provide for his family. There are times when he works many hours in a day, and then there are times when he can be home for several hours in the evening. I have responsibilities at home, at school, and at church. We often work together. I love my life. More importantly, I love his life and the fact that God is using him. I don't ever want that to change. And I certainly don't want to limit Chad's ministry because I am not strong enough to allow him to be gone and to be used. He takes care of me. God takes care of me. I am a happy, happy woman!

One of the perks of being married to the principal is getting to spend a week with him on the Senior Trip! We ate at a Japanese Steak House one evening, and Tyler was fussing quite a bit. The chef kept saying, "I have egg fo' you! See yo' egg?" So here's Tyler eating his very first egg ever--in a Japanese restaurant!

Getting to spend some quality time with my man and my baby at Laurel Falls in Gatlinburg, TN!

The Great Smoky Mountains

Tyler on the World's Biggest Chair at Ripley's Can You Believe It or Not!
(make sure you click on both pictures to make them larger and look at the expressions on his face!)

I hope that everything I said made some kind of sense. I'm just trying to say that as women we need to be strong, strong enough to enable our men to do what God intended them to do. After all, we were put on this earth to complete our men. That's our sole purpose in life. We are the last piece of their puzzle. My prayer for the next few weeks is to be whatever my man needs, to be his strength.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Well, I *try* not to steal too many ideas from others, but I just couldn't resist this one. Amy just had a little chat with us last night, and I loved it! Sometimes I just want to sit and chat over a hot cup of tea, or, like yesterday, a tall glass of sweet tea! Sometimes I'll sit down at the computer to "just check a few things," and half an hour later I'm still there because I get so caught up in checking to see how all of my "friends" are doing. Amy has such beautiful pictures of their spring all abloom. We here in Up North Michigan are still waiting, though we do have a few daffodils and tulips blooming. Don't you just love to see the apple trees and the weeping cherries in bloom? They are so beautiful!

The two boys and I have spent the last two evenings raking and working in the backyard. You see, somehow, we never get around to raking in the fall when you're supposed to rake and generally clean up the yard. Winter tends to take us off guard every year and before we know it, the snow has blanketed the yard in white and we can no longer see the mess that we left, so we just leave it for the spring! Terrible, isn't it? Slowly but surely the yard work is getting done, and my arms and shoulders are sooo sore, but it feels fantastic!

A couple of weeks ago we went on the Senior Trip to Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I didn't really take very many pictures because we were so busy with the baby and the "children" :), but I did take a select few.
I often allow myself to dream of simpler times--I know there was a lot more work involved in day-to-day living as far as laundry and cooking, etc. but I just mean the fact that there so few things that pulled at folks from the outside. Not such a push to do more outside of the home. We were in Cade's Cove, and there was a little house with a view.....
I can just picture my children running through that yard with the cows lowing in the background and the creek babbling (yes, there is a creek running through the left-hand side) and the mill grinding corn, which it was doing the day we visited. And my garden growing in the corner. We don't have a very big yard here, and it has been increasingly harder to be able to grow anything. I'm trying to think of who I can beg, borrow, or steal a plot of ground from, but so far I've come up empty. Maybe at church tonight I'll look around and see who might like to share their earth. ;) I have a friend that I know would do it, but she lives about an hour away, so...I think that's a little too far to keep up with weeding and so forth.
Do you drool over your flower and seed catalogs like I do? They start pouring in around January, and I safely hoard them in a drawer and pull them out and dream about what I would order if I could order anything and everything I wanted. And then I take the $25 gift certificate that they give me and order exactly $25 for free, which has really added up over the years. Last year a woman knocked on my door simply to tell me that she loves walking by my front garden every day because it's so beautiful! What deep contentment I feel when I'm pulling weeds in my flowers. This year, though, we are starting from scratch on a certain tree. We had some kind of ornamental crab that a dear friend pruned to death because she hated it, so we decided to just pull it out altogether and replace it. I'm just not sure that the replacement survived our very long, very cold winter, so I may have to replace it again. We'll see.
Tyler is 12 1/2 months old now, and I am thoroughly enjoying his babyhood. He still does not crawl, but he is getting around quite well by scootching around on his bottom. It's the funniest thing--I wish you all could see it.

Life is just so very good. God has truly blessed all of us, hasn't He? Whatever our situation in life at this very moment, we can see the evidence of His hand in all of it. Even when things don't seem to be going our way, there is a purpose. Press on. Don't give up. Persevere. Joy does come in the morning. And so do new flowers. And dew. And sunlight. And fresh starts.

I am in the planning stages of summer vacation already. I love the planning and preparation of things. Chad and I are planning a few days of vacation--just the two of us--and we have been planning. Yesterday we purchased the airfare and reserved a rental car. I'm so excited; I'm as giddy as a school girl! Then I am planning how to keep my children from forgetting everything they have learned this school year. Last year I purchased summer workbooks from Sam's Club that really seemed to help. Elisabeth told me this morning that she enjoyed doing her book and that she felt like she was several steps ahead of the other students when she went back to school in the fall.

Speaking of Elisabeth, she is turning 12 next month and officially entering the youth group, something that I'm not sure I'm terribly excited about. Chad and I have already decided that one of us will be chaperoning any activity that she attends!

Well, I guess this one-sided chat has lasted long enough. I would love to hear from you--find out what you are doing and thinking. I can tell that many people regularly check my blog, but I don't know who most of you are because you don't comment. Maybe you don't know how, or maybe you're just too busy--you just check the blog and go. Whatever your case may be, I would relish and cherish a comment from you. You are all important to me and keep me blogging!

Enjoy your day today--it's the only day you have!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Two Birthdays and a Visit

Sunday, April 19th, was Meagan's birthday and Wednesday, April 22nd, was Tyler's birthday. Because we were leaving for the Senior Trip on Sunday morning immediately after church, we decided to celebrate both birthdays on Saturday evening when my mom and her husband David were going to be visiting. We had an intense week prior to Saturday because we needed to have everyone packed for a week away from home before the company arrived, in addition to birthday preparations, paper route, Sunday morning prep, and all that good stuff. When they arrived in town, the boys and I were still doing the paper route.

After visiting for a few minutes, we walked over to the middle school behind our house to play four square. A couple of months ago I substituted at the school and taught the kids how to play. Now they love it and sometimes you'll even catch some high school students playing in the parking lot!

Here's Derek playing tether ball with David.

Grandma Smith, Lauren, and Tyler at the park

Grandma and Ty

The Birthday Girl, Meagan

The Birthday Celebration

A new princess umbrella


The end of his first cake eating experience!

Me and my mom

The gang all ready for church on Sunday morning

Chad, Amanda, Mom, David
Tyler eating his 1st birthday cake
I am so thankful for my family. I am also so incredibly thankful that God charted the course of my life. My mom and dad had me very young, and I have spent several years not even having any contact at all with my mom. At times I wished that I had a mother, but I would never trade the way that my life turned out. God had His hand on my life, and all things did indeed work out for good. I am also thankful that God has allowed me to have a relationship with my mom again, though.