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.

Enjoying Spring

My goodness, life has been so busy lately; and I don't think that it is going to slow down at all until sometime mid-June. It's crazy the last couple of months of school with end of year programs, senior trip, our church's annual camp meeting, graduations, field trips, etc.

The week before we left for the senior trip was so busy. We had school programs the two Fridays before the Senior Trip, my mom and her husband were coming for a visit the Saturday before we left, and I had to have all 9 of us packed and ready to go Sunday morning when we left for church. Needless to say, it was a crazy week. However, on the Thursday before we left, the weather was so beautiful that the three children who were home with me decided that we would just leave everything until later and go enjoy the afternoon at the park.

Everyone at home, even the dog, went to the park. Derek started out riding his new little scooter.

The sky was just so beautiful that I had to capture it forever in my memory.

Notice Derek's scooter all folded up in the bottom of the stroller--his legs gave out after about 5 minutes! :) He insisted on pushing the stroller all by himself.

Tyler's first ride in a swing. Last summer he was just tiny.

Lauren enjoyed swinging so much.

After Daddy and the children arived home from school, we all went for a bike ride and ate at Dairy Queen. Here's Tyler and Derek in the little trailer.

Isn't he sooooo handsome?!

I have so many pictures to share and stories to tell. We have been living life to the fullest these last few weeks. Please be patient as I try to get back on track!!!