Friday, August 31, 2007
The kids always have chapel every day during the first full week of school - kind of a school revival to get the year off to a good start. This year the school had in a well-known evangelist - so the church decided to have revival services with him of an evening.
Last night was "student night" and Joel got to play his trumpet in the orchestra. He played five congregational hymns and then the orchestra played "Beautiful Savior" as a special.
Our whole family, Brian's mom, and Adam and Tonya from our church went to the revival meeting. It was a really good service. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and the message. It was also nice to reconnect with some people we hadn't seen in a while.
The downside to the evening is that poor Joel ended up sitting at the dining room table at 10:45 pm with a pile of homework. I hate homework - especially on a church night!
What kid can think that late a night? Try doing 15 story problems or learning how to spell lieutenant when it's an hour past your bed time. Joel managed to get through his math and read his literature assignment before going to bed which left his Bible, Science, and History assignments waiting on him this morning.
I was supposed to get him up 45 min. early this morning to finish his work, but I didn't have the heart - and I didn't hear the alarm. Instead of getting up 45 min. early, he was now left with only 45 min. to shower, eat breakfast, and do his remaining homework.
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Don't tell Mrs. N., but I wrote his science paragraph about the pH scale for him - I hope I get an A. Joel finished his Bible assignment (which I really hope wasn't about cheating), but he had to leave before getting his history done. Hopefully he will have time before class to get that done.
Because I was doing homework, I didn't have time to make the kids' lunch - which meant I had to send money so they can eat something really nutritious like pepperoni stuffed bread sticks, chips, and a candy bar for lunch.
Which leads me to the conclusion that homework is the cause of the destruction of the family and the decline in society as a whole!
Monday, August 27, 2007
The grass isn't always greener on the other side - it sounds trite to say, but it is so very true. Unfortunately, many people leave marriages, jobs, and churches with the thought that it will be better somewhere else - not realizing that every marriage they are in, job they have, and church they attend will have some of the same elements. It is learning to deal with these elements that will help us be content with where God has us.
What we need to remember is that along with the good there will always be:
In marriage - disagreements, bad days, times of disappointment, frustrated feelings, misunderstandings, times you don't get your way or what you want, and times you feel alone;
At work - employees who don't do their share of the work and a boss who never sees that, people you don't necessarily like and definitely don't get along with, frustrating days, hard days, busy days, less recognition than you think you deserve, and the occasional feeling of "you can't pay me enough to do this;"
At church - people that frustrate you, an opinionated older person, a busybody (or two), someone struggling to understand a passage that you already understand, people who are more mature spiritually than you, baby Christians - no matter their physical age, hurt feelings, messages that you feel "aren't for you," and people that don't share your view on certain issues.
(*note - there are some things that should never be:
In marriage - abuse of any kind or infidelity;
At work - physical or emotional abuse or sexual harassment;
At church - teaching or preaching that goes contrary to the Word of God)
I don't intend to sound lackadaisical about things or come off as having the attitude that we should settle for whatever and be content with second best. In fact the exact opposite is true of how I feel.
We should strive to have the best marriage possible, to give our best at a job where we feel useful and productive, and to be an active member of a church where we can worship and serve the Lord with our whole being. But all of this doesn't just happen overnight - it takes time and commitment.
Marriage gets better with time - every aspect of it. It was God's plan for marriage to be between one man and one woman for life! He honors that decision - trust Him!
Jobs get easier the longer you stay at them - it's a proven fact.
Churches need committed Christians - people who are not only committed to Christ but also committed to the body of believers to which they have aligned!
I think a lot of the strain and stress we have in our lives we put there ourselves. We can have a much more stable and much less stressful life just by being content in our commitments.
Be married for life - weather the storms together.
Work hard because work is hard - so stick to it. I used to tell labor patients "this is why we call it labor - because it's hard work."
Love the church God has called you to - love it on good days and love it on bad days. Be wholly committed to it.
Friday, August 24, 2007
I am so thankful for a husband who values the importance of my job at home. Although, I have worked part-time (average 12-18 hours a week) outside the home for 12 of our 20 years of marriage, I still consider myself a homemaker - because that is where I truly try to keep my focus.
I was watching TV one afternoon while washing dishes and the last few minutes of Oprah were on - she was asking the question, "Can women have it all?" There was a heated debate going on about whether a woman can work a career and still care for her family.
I really don't know if "women can have it all" because I don't know what all women are looking for, but I have made some observations.
I know a woman with two teenagers who works a full-time job. She has an clean and organized home, two very respectful and well mannered children, and a loving marriage. She is faithful to church and has a true God-given gift for hospitality.
I know another woman with two children who is a stay at home mom. She has cluttered and unorganized home, two confused and rebellious children, and a rough and rocky marriage. She is unfaithful to church and always seems overwhelmed and overloaded.
I have known working moms who orchestrate every aspect of their home life like a skilled conductor. I have known stay at home moms that are distracted and self-absorbed with their own interests while their kids run around in dirty diapers and don't eat lunch until 3pm. I have also known working moms who seem to forget that they even have a family, and there are stay at home moms that are nurturing and caring for their family with love and devotion.
What's the difference?
The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.
She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
She is like the merchants' ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.
Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.
She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.
She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.
Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.
Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised.
Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.I think the difference is their focus.
As Christians instead of "fighting within the family" by playing the "I'm better than you because I stay at home/work" game, we should be exhorting one another in love to be more like Christ. For wives and moms the Bible tells us that our focus is to be on serving our families.
For working moms this may take more planning, organization, and time management. For stay at home moms this may take more self-discipline, initiative, and self-sacrifice.
Being a wife/mom who works outside the home doesn't make you bad any more than being a wife/mom who stays at home makes you good. Keeping a right focus on Biblical womanhood is the key.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Now and Then
Monday, August 20, 2007
Joel and Levi with their summer look!
They boys went today for their Tabernacle hair cuts - off the ears and off the collar. Joel lost his curls and Levi had to shave his beloved goatee and trim his sideburns. We were a little concerned that his chin would be really white compared to the rest of his tan face - Hope offered him some makeup saying she thought she could match his skin tone! Thankfully, it doesn't look like he's going to need it.
There's a meeting at school tonight to "meet and greet" the new principal, Mr. Roll (a/k/a Coach Roll of the TCM JV basketball team) and learn about other changes in staff and new school rules. It will being really odd to hear Mr. Roll say anything besides "LEVI!!!!! BOX OUT!!!"
I also made a phone call today to see about what we need to do to start the admissions process to get Megan enrolled in college - COLLEGE!!!
I think I need to go to Starbucks!
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
We announced our engagement in the paper in the spring of 1987 - my senior year. This is the engagement picture we put in the paper.
I remember most everything about that day we got our engagement pictures done. In some respects it seems like yesterday - in some respects it feels every bit of 20 years ago!
Wow, we were young - very young! This is precisely why me trying to give dating advice to my kids sometimes feels like the pot calling the kettle black - lol.
Actually, I think our 5 years of dating gives me pretty good credentials to make statements and have opinions about dating. I understand young love - that it really can happen. I also understand the hazards and pitfalls that can be a result of it.
Most of our dating was to youth group events, school events, and family events - like supper! Brian essentially dated my family - he ate a lot of meals at our table.
Likewise, Brian and I spent a lot of time with his family. His whole family was at every basketball game or football game we went to and most youth group events we attended.
The fact that we attended the same church was an important factor in our dating as well. When we got married and established our home, we knew we were on the same page with our spiritual beliefs.
Brian and I pray daily for the future mates of our children. As the kids get older that prayer gets more serious.
I remember us talking to the kids one day in the car about the fact that we pray for their future mates. I was telling each of them that I knew God had someone special picked out for each them, and that God was even now preparing someone for them just as He was preparing each of them for that person.
Joel was about 6-7 years old at the time, and I was describing to him the fact that his future wife might be just a little blonde headed 3-4 year old right then - it was then that he piped up and said, "I was hoping for a blonde!"
Monday, August 13, 2007
In honor of our anniversary, I have decided to dedicate all posts this week to "us." A little sappy I know - but 20 years is no small thing!
I love these two pictures. It was October, 1984. and I was 14 and Brian was 18. He came to my house to trick-or-treat - although minus the hat those were his normal clothes! By this time I was TOTALLY in love with him - Hawaiian shirt and all!
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Work was crazy. We had both medical oncologists, the radiation oncologist, and the psychiatrist (I probably should have made an appt. - lol) seeing patients today. To top all of that off, our cancer center was being reviewed by the American Board of Oncology. I am not sure what it all means, but I guess we "passed" their inspection and will be receiving their "gold stamp" of approval. Sounds exciting, but I was really too busy today to appreciate the honor. lol
The kids spent 8 hours at the pool today. Because it was so hot, Megan and Levi took turns guarding and swimming - every hour they would switch. By the look of Joel's pruny fingers, I think he was in the water all 8 hours - and by the look of his nose, I think he missed it with the sunscreen.
The kids have spent a lot of time together this summer - I am glad they get along so well. Yesterday I had a doctor's appt. close to the mall, so I dropped the kids off at the mall to shop for school clothes. We had already braved the blaring music at Plato's Closet and were able to get Joel several shirts and one pair of pants, but he still needed at least two more pair of khakis and a couple polo shirts. I thought I had $40 to give Joel, but ended up only having $20.
I found out later when I joined the kids at Old Navy that Megan and Levi had each given Joel $20 of their own hard earned money for him to use for school clothes. Megan had also bought his lunch at Dairy Queen! They had a productive couple hours of shopping and it sounds like they had a pretty good time doing it too. The boys even helped Megan pick out clothes at Charlotte Russe!
Brian and I both ended up getting home from work today around the same time. He helped me put together "walking tacos" and we headed for the pool to meet the kids. The last two swimmers left as we were eating supper so we ended up having the pool to ourselves the last hour. I even swam! I think it was the first time I have been in the pool all year - my white skin shows it too!
Dishes, laundry, and dirty floors are on our list to tackle tomorrow. Tonight we're eating ice cream sandwich cake, watching tv, and enjoying being together - all of us.
Levi drives a Jeep! Brian bought it for him. Levi didn't get it when he first asked for it, but he has one now. I've seen him drive it in the yard and up and down the driveway. Even better he gets to drive it on the road - something he couldn't have even dreamed of doing when he was 8 or 9.
The father provided his child with the desire of his heart in the father's appropriate timing. I think there's a lesson here from which I can benefit!
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Like Jacob, the struggling and striving are over. I am yielded.
With the morning sun came humbleness.
Do I know where God stores the snow and the hail? Can I guide the stars? Can I cause the rain to fall from the clouds? Do I hunt prey for the lions and satisfy the appetite of the lion cubs? Does the hawk fly by my wisdom? Do I know what is best for me?
What shall I answer You?
I lay my hand over my mouth. Job 40:4
With the morning sun came communion.
Brian's love for me is unwavering. What I interpreted as callousness on his part was in truth a wall. A wall I had built myself keeping him out and making it impossible for him to comfort me.
With the morning sun came hope.
My hope isn't based on two pink lines.
Than Jesus' blood and righteousness,
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly lean on Jesus' name.
When darkness veils His lovely face,
I rest on His unchanging grace,
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.
On Christ, the solid rock, I stand -
All other ground is sinking sand,
All other ground is sinking sand.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Monday morning's test made it obvious. There is no hope and never was any.
What I really don't understand is the timing of things. I never once prayed this month to be pregnant - that is until I was late. Brian had told me, "Be thankful for what you have. Enjoy your life as it is." I was doing all of that.
Why the false hope - when I wasn't even asking for anything.
Everything seems fuzzy and confusing right now. Nothing makes sense. Internally I feel a pain that is unrelenting. I feel weak and broken - physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
I feel abandoned and alone in my grief. Brian doesn't seem to share it - sometimes I really wonder if he is even capable of feeling emotion. I think the last 2 1/2 years has done nothing more than cause him to grow callous towards me.
I know the facts. I know the Biblical truths associated with prayers not being answered. I understand in my head that God said no because He loves me and He knows what is best. Why does that explanation feel so clinical right now? Why does knowing that not make the hurt go away?
When Levi was 8 or 9 while we were on our way home from church we passed a Jeep for sale in someone's yard. Levi asked us to buy him the Jeep so he could "drive it around in the yard and up and down the driveway." This was no toy Jeep that was for sale it was a real Jeep Wrangler. When we told him no, he cried and cried. He was angry all afternoon at us. He wanted the Jeep more than anything, and we said no. He didn't understand that it was because that we loved him that we told him no. Aside from not being able to afford the Jeep, we didn't want him to hurt himself or others by driving a real Jeep around in the yard when he was only 8 or 9 years old. Believe it or not, he is still a little upset about the whole thing.
I guess I didn't get the "Jeep" either.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
It's funny the things your mind starts thinking about when you're trying to fall asleep. I was lying in bed listening to Brian snore and thinking about everything from things that happened in VBS, to furniture I want to somehow convince Brian to rearrange tomorrow, to recipes I want to try, to curtains I want to make (who am I kidding - curtains I want my mom to make for me), to the scary bug I saw run across the dining room floor today, to Hershey (the cat) at the end of the bed sucking on the blanket, to the pregnancy test I didn't take Friday as planned but might take when I wake up - that is if I can ever actually fall asleep!
I'm not sure if I will take the test when I wake up or not. Brian has looked forward to sleeping in on Saturday all week, I don't want to do anything to mess that up.
I think I will wait to take it on Sunday - my 38th birthday! Maybe the pee stick will be good to me on my birthday!
Starting to hope again.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
Wait a minute, Brian just told me this was Mexico's flag - I didn't do so well in geography.
I am really enjoying doing the missionary story each evening. Tonight's story was Choco Calls - I really think the kids are starting to put things together. I think they are seeing how the skit, the lesson, the missionary story, the closing message, and the songs all fit together and are all telling the salvation message.
Levi had to work tonight basically because he waited too long to try to find a replacement. I don't know for sure that even if he would have asked earlier if anyone would have covered for him, but waiting until an hour before his shift to try to find coverage didn't help matters!
He "threw" his last two swimmers out of the pool at 7:30 pm so he could close early and drove home to change clothes. He then made his first solo trip to church. It was probably a good thing I was telling the missionary story during his drive - I didn't have time to worry about him.
We ended up with three vehicles at church tonight - Brian came straight from work in the van; Megan, Joel, and I drove the Explorer, and Levi drove the Jeep. We sent Megan and Levi home in the Jeep shortly after VBS so they could get home before dark - the pictures are from their drive home - Megan has determined to photo document her entire life! Having kids who drive really makes me aware and very thankful for the protective hand of God.
Today is day 39 of this cycle. Brian and I have decided to wait until tomorrow to test.
We are both afraid to hope.