Thoughts from me - a preacher's wife, farmer's daughter, mom, and nurse. Posts are mainly intended to help me journal the events of my life - topics will include kids, church, work, marriage, life in general,
and of course my dogs . . . and whatever else I feel compelled to write about.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Of Crusades and Leaves . . .

What long weekends are meant for - at least according to Joel.
(Joel and Caleb "down home" over the Labor Day weekend)

Once again 9pm Sunday night rolled around and I was doing homework - Joel's homework. Well, I actually wasn't doing it - more like highly encouraging and prodding him to get it done.

The kids had a four day weekend and still 9pm Sunday night found Joel doing an extensive "leaf project" that involved collecting, preserving, and cataloging 20 leaves of different varieties. Ironing leaves is not exactly how I planned to spend the remainder of my Sunday evening, and from the look on Joel's face it wasn't exactly how he planned to spend his Sunday evening either.

And not to just pick on Joel, Megan was just starting a research paper on the Crusades - a research paper that is due tomorrow morning and for which she has no tangible resources. Should be an interesting paper.

I know procrastinating has a lot to do with their predicaments, but it is also frustrating that large assignments are assigned over long weekends. I mean really, when is a boy supposed to play with his dog?

I guess home schooling the kids for 10 years has somewhat spoiled me. I have taught the same 8th grade science that Joel is now taking - I remember Megan and Levi doing the same leaf project. It was fun and they learned a lot. We collected leaves together and preserved them and cataloged them - all in one afternoon. It was an enjoyable experience, and it was done during school hours.

For the 10 years I taught the kids at home all of their school work was home work - but none of it was done late at night after church. School was done during school hours and family time was not disrupted.

Ah, the good old days.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Little things

I wasn't going to blog today because I just have soooo much cleaning to do - a result of our harried weekend. But I really needed a break - not necessarily from the cleaning but rather from the CD I was listening to while cleaning.

At the conference Brian attended, he purchased two CDs for me on being a pastor's wife - not exactly a subtle hint is it? Just kidding, since I wasn't able to attend the conference with him, I asked him to pick up any information he could that was directed toward a pastor's wife.

The CDs are good, but I just need to take them in "small bites." It has kind of been an overwhelming weekend, and I am in need of some quietness. I used to hate being alone and the house quiet, now sometimes I find myself craving the solitude.

The quietness allows me the chance to look back on how God worked in many ways this past weekend - both big and small.

God is near.

Friday I drove the kids to school and then went to Wal-mart. I had a long grocery list for the ladies retreat, I needed to get gas in the Explorer, and I had a extensive to-do list waiting on me at home. It was a strange feeling to be running around doing normal things knowing Brian was states away - it left me feeling a little alone and vulnerable.

Knowing I was feeling alone and vulnerable, God placed familiar people everywhere I went. At Starbuck's where I ate breakfast there were three home school moms I have known for years, at Wal-mart I saw a different Tabernacle mom in every isle I went down, at the gas station I even found myself at a pump next to a neighbor. God was letting me know that I was alone yet not alone.

God is the great physician (he even works on Jeeps).

As it turned out I was grateful that Levi had put the last part on the Jeep because he ended up needing to drive the Jeep this weekend. There was no room in the Explorer after I packed the piano, TV, sleeping bag, bags, . . . It ended up being a necessity that he drove Joel and himself to Troy's house. God was good and allowed the Jeep to run perfectly - not a spitter or a sputter.

God loves me.

At the ladies retreat things slowed down and it was a sweet, peaceful time. I had cell phone reception (which was a miracle considering we were literally in the middle of no where) and I was able to check in every now and then with Brian.

God is faithful.

The subject matter of the retreat was bitter sweet for Megan because for her it opened up some healing wounds. It was truly God working in her heart this weekend that brought humbleness and quiet surrender in her life. Despite the bumpy gravel roads, during the drive home she thanked me (and her dad too) for the guidance and discipline in her life and again apologized for the mistakes she had made.

God is good.

God gave Brian traveling mercies this weekend. Brian was very thankful that the laws of nature God instituted continued to be true while he was flying. Brian learned a lot at the conference, made a friend (the kids thought this was funny), ate seafood, didn't oversleep, never got lost, and arrived back home safely.

I am thankful that I serve a God that is interested in the little things as well as the big things.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Like Mother Like Son?

My heart goes out to all the single moms out there - I don't know how they do it.

Brian left early this morning (3:30 am) in order to be at the airport by 4:30 am for his 6:15 am flight. He's attending his first pastor's conference and will be gone until Saturday evening!

I miss him - and for lots of reasons.

Here are just three of the reasons I miss him:

Everything and every decision is now up to me;
there's no one to put gas in the car; and
it's hard to sleep without him.

But actually one of the main reasons I miss him is because Levi and I need him - to be our mediator.

I swear some days when I look at Levi it is like looking into a mirror. Not necessary because he looks like me (please someone tell me if I have that much facial hair), but because he is like me -

strong-willed, determined, confident - yet a little withdrawn,
and easily frustrated.

I admit, that's a set of character traits that takes some work to control.

Tonight Levi and I locked horns over the Jeep. It broke down Tuesday afternoon. Brian worked on it all day Wednesday and got all but one part put on before having to leave for his conference. Levi put the last part on this afternoon, and in his mind the Jeep is now healed of its infirmities.

However, I am just not comfortable with him driving it until Brian has test driven it and made the final decision that it is fixed. This is what Levi cannot understand.

Me -

I don't want to worry about the Jeep breaking down on the side of the road;
I trust Levi's workmanship on putting the last part on, but I'm not so sure what was fixed is the Jeep's only problem;
I would rather drive the kids to school and pick them up than worry about him driving them there.

Levi -

He is confident the Jeep will not break down on the side of the road;
He is certain that these parts fixed the problem;
He doesn't understand why I worry.

I had to laugh tonight because all the while I was explaining my side of things, I totally understood how he felt. I could see his jaw twitch and his nose flair as he listened to my explanation of things.

I understand that he is reaching the age where a boy needs opportunities to be a man - this is an important process. I want him to desire to be responsible and independent.

But in the end, our conversation ended with, "The Jeep is going nowhere this weekend, because I am the mom and I said so."

With that he kissed me goodnight, and I watched my twin go upstairs.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday, Monday . . .

Some Monday mornings just need a little help.

This morning finds me with a sink full of dirty dishes, Scooby pee on the linoleum, laundry backed up, Hershey in a hateful mood because he's out of catfood, and the realization that I forgot to turn in my time sheet for work last week.

It was nice to find these funny stories in my inbox - thanks to my mother-in-law.

A three-year-old boy went with his dad to see a litter of kittens. On returning home, he breathlessly informed his mother, "There were 2 boy kittens and 2 girl kittens." "How did you know?" his mother asked. "Daddy picked them up and looked underneath," he replied. "I think it's printed on the bottom."

Another three-year-old put his shoes on by himself. His mother noticed that the left shoe was on the right foot She said, "Son, your shoes are on the wrong feet." He looked up at her with a raised brow and said, "Don't kid me, Mom. They're the only feet I got!"

On the first day of school, about mid morning, the kindergarten teacher said, "If anyone has to go to the bathroom, hold up two fingers." A little voice from the back of the room asked, "How will that help?"

A mother and her young son returned from the grocery store and began putting away the groceries. The boy opened the box of animal crackers and spread them all over the table. "What are you doing?" his mother asked. "The box says not to eat them if the seal is broken," the boy explained. "I'm looking for the seal."

A mother was preparing pancakes for her sons, Kevin, five, and Ryan, three. The boys began to argue over who would get the first pancake. Their mother saw the opportunity for a moral lesson. "If Jesus were sitting here, He would say, "Let my brother have the first pancake. I can wait." Kevin turned to his younger brother and said, "Ryan, you be Jesus."

A father was at the beach with his children when his four-year-old son ran up to him, grabbed his hand, and led him to the shore, where a seagull lay dead in the sand. "Daddy, what happened to him?" the son asked. "He died and went to Heaven," the dad replied. The boy thought a moment and then said, "Did God throw him back down?"

After the church service a little boy told the pastor, "When I grow up, I'm going to give you some money." "Well, thank you," the pastor replied, "but why?" "Because my daddy says you're the poorest preacher we've ever had."

A wife invited some people to dinner. At the table, she turned to their six-year-old daughter and said, "Would you like to say the blessing?" "I wouldn't know what to say," the girl replied. "Just say what you hear Mommy say," the wife answered. The daughter bowed her head and said, "Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner?"

A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read, "The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt." His son asked, "What happened to the flea?"

An acquaintance of mine who is a physician told this story about her then-four-year-old daughter. On the way to preschool, the doctor had left her stethoscope on the car seat, and her little girl picked it up and began playing with it. Be still, my heart, thought my friend, my daughter wants to follow in my footsteps! Then the child spoke into the instrument: "Welcome to McDonald's. May I take your order?"

Friday, September 14, 2007

Living Green - God's Way

We try to "live green":

Use supplemental wood heat - from fallen trees even!
Try not to use a lot of paper products (ie. paper plates, cups . . .)
Keep electricity use as low as possible - turn lights off, keep thermostat turned down
Plant trees
Use a reel mower instead of gas mower

Ways we don't "live green":

Drive a SUV - or we'd never be able to get up our hill in the winter
Keep our hot water heater turned up - I like to be able to make hot chocolate with tap water:)
Don't recycle - I plan on starting as soon as the garage gets cleaned out!

I love animals - I always have.

Hershey - one of the many cats we have bottle fed.

As a kid I raised several litters of orphaned baby pigs. As an adult I have bottle fed at least 6 kittens. I even tried to get certified by the state to rehabilitate injured wildlife - what a hoot!

Wouldn't you know the day the conservation officer came to check out our property to see if we "had the proper facilities" to care for injured wildlife, our outside dog, Sam, showed up with his "kill of the day" which happened to be our state bird! I don't think we left a real good impression on the conservation officer.

Come to find out I probably could have adopted a baby with less red tape than it would take to legally care for a wounded or orphaned raccoon. So I gave up on that venture.

The point is I think that as Christians we should take care of God's creation. In Genesis 1:28 it says that God told Adam and Eve to subdue it. This means to study and explore it. I think you can take from that that we are to have an appreciation for all of God's creation.

Adam naming the animals - Creation Museum.

Genesis 1:28 also says that Adam and Eve were to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. J. Vernon McGee put it this way, "Adam was not just a gardener to cut the grass. Man was created to rule this earth." We are to have dominion which means we are above the animals.

However, this is not the view of everyone. Here is an excerpt from an article I read online today:

Oh, if we all just disappeared. According to The World Without Us, Alan Weisman's strangely comforting vision of human annihiliation, the Earth would be a lot better off. In his doomsday scenario, freshwater floods would course through the New York subway system, ailanthus roots would heave up sidewalks, and a parade of coyotes, bears, and deer would eventually trot across the George Washington Bridge and repopulate Manhattan. Nature lovers can take solace in the idea that the planet will thrive once we've finally destroyed ourselves with global warming. But Weisman takes the fantasy one step further: Let's not wait for climate change, he says. Let's start depopulating right now. Instead of burning down our numbers with oil and gas, we might follow the advice of the founder of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, who tells Weisman that everyone in the world should stop having kids all at once. Weisman isn't up for quite so drastic a measure, but he makes his own pitch, moderate in comparison: Let's cut the birth rate to one child per couple, for a few generations at least. The population would dwindle by about 5 billion people over the next century, he says, ensuring the habitability of the Earth for the 1.6 billion who remained. At that point, they could all reap the rewards of a more spacious planet, sharing in "the growing joy of watching the world daily became more wonderful." It seems like a notion from the fringe, but Weisman's book has become a mainstream best seller. Could population control be the next big thing in green culture?

This is the kind of thinking that comes out of a society that embraces the teaching of evolution. How tragic that we in America have become that society.

This type of thinking clearly contradicts the truth found in the Bible. God's Word tells us in Psalm 127:3-5 Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord; and the fruit of the womb is his reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

The church and we as individual Christians are partly to blame for our society's view on the sanctity of life. How many good, Bible based churches are silent on the matter of abortion. How many of us as Christians buy into the lie of "us 4 and no more" when it comes to our families - afraid that God won't provide if we have more than our token 2 kids.

We bought the lie after 3 kids. I remember distinctly our family physician sitting in my hospital room holding Joel and asking Brian and I (age 28 and 24 respectively) what we were going to do to "keep this from happening again." She was serious - before discharge we needed to have a plan. So when Joel was 3 months old, Levi was 3 1/2, and Megan was 4 1/2 Brian had a vasectomy - 100% covered by insurance. This proved to be a decision that has brought much heartache into our family and a decision that has cost thousands of dollars to try to correct.

In Sunday school we are studying the book of Joshua. The last two Sundays we have learned how God called the Israelites to be different, set apart - a peculiar people. As Christians we have that same calling. We are to be different from the world - we are to have a different mind set.

We are to value life - unborn life, young life, old life. The world doesn't and that fact is becoming increasingly more obvious.

We are to care for God's creation, but we are to worship the Creator not the creation. We also need to keep into perspective that people have souls - animals do not.

It is past time for Christians to stand up and proclaim the truth. I fear that the world we have helped mold with our indifference will prove to be an inhospitable place for our children.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Waiting is something I don't do very well - in fact, I really don't know very many people who can wait well. We live in a microwave world where if it takes more than 30 seconds - it's too long to wait.

If I have a question for Brian while he's at work, I email him. If I have to wait more than 2 minutes to get a response, I wonder "What's the hold up?" - what's he doing working? How quickly I forget that I used to have to wait until he called me on his lunch break or, worse yet, until he got home from work to talk to him.

Waiting on the Lord is hard too. It is easy to get tired of waiting on God to provide a need or want, answer a prayer, or open up an opportunity to serve. In the middle of waiting it is tempting to provide the need or want our self, come up with our own answer, or give up on serving - thereby robbing our self of the blessing that would have come from waiting on God and allowing him to provide our needs and wants, answer our prayers, and open up opportunities of service.

We are told to wait on the Lord - and not waiting is disobedience.
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him . . . Psalms 37:7a

At church on Sunday night, I had the church kids downstairs. One of the things we did was listen to the tape White Fangs in a Dark Hole. I love this tape - it has such a clear message of salvation, in fact, it was after listening to this tape several years ago that Joel got saved.

The theme of the tape is obedience and the high cost of disobedience. After we listened to the tape, I was talking to the kids about obedience. We talked about how the boy in the tape was disobedient and how this almost cost him his life and the lives of others. We talked about how the rescue dogs in the tape were obedient to their master and followed his every command.

I asked one boy in particular if he was obedient - his answer to me was, "Well, not all of us are obedient." When I asked him why he wasn't obedient he said, "Well, you know, all we like sheep have gone astray."

Disobedience has a high cost - not waiting has a high cost. Not waiting for material things results in debt. Not waiting for the right relationship results in heartache, unhappy marriages, and broken homes. Not waiting for God to lead results in going the wrong direction.

True, all we like sheep have gone astray. However, I don't want this to be an excuse for me, but rather a reminder that it is my nature to want to go my own way.

I need to daily surrender my will and obey God - which includes waiting on Him.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Beam of Light

What is happening to moms these days? This morning while I was getting ready for work I heard a TV report of yet another mom leaving her baby in the car in the blistering heat. This mom left her baby in the car for eight hours while she was at work claiming that she "was distracted and forgot that her baby was in the car."

Come on - I mean really, can you possibly forget your kids in the car. Did these moms not get the "beam of light?"

After Megan was born, Brian left the delivery room to go tell everyone that "it's a Megan." While he was gone it happened. A beam of light from the heavens shown down on me and gave me my mom powers. I now had eyes in the back of my head and the ability to see through doors. I was given the ability to know when my kids are hungry, cold, or constipated even if they don't yet realize these things. Most importantly, I was given a cord that attached my heart to theirs.

I thought this was standard for all moms - obviously I was mistaken.

I can understand being distracted and forgetting things but not kids!! I was running late to work one day - distracted by the things I needed to get done, and I left a candy bar in the car. You know - it didn't take me eight hours to remember that I had left it in there! Distracted and in a hurry, I have left the curling iron on only to have it dawn on me half way to church that I had left it on.

There's usually a nagging feeling you get when something has been left undone. I thought this was just part of being a responsible person.

As a nurse I do a lot of repetitive things - important things that I routinely do. I start IVs, I give medicine, I draw blood . . . every time I work. Being distracted can have devastating results. For that very reason, I purposely make mental notes to myself as I am doing these things so that later if I get that "nagging feeling" wondering if I did or didn't do something I will have a memory of doing it.

There's a reason why I do this. A few years ago when I was working in OB we had an expectant mom die - she did not die at our hospital, but she died within hours of her being transferred to a larger hospital's high risk OB unit. She had been my patient - I admitted her, treated her, and transferred her. The news of her death was devastating to me.

I immediately replayed every moment I had spent with her - I mentally retraced every action I had done. I needed confirmation in my mind that everything I had done was done correctly.

I remember standing in the shower (for some reason running water comforts me) praying - no beseeching - the Lord for Him to let me have vivid memory of every thing I had done. I needed to be able to remember doing all of the little steps - priming her IV tubing, checking the medication before I gave it. . .

As I stood in the shower, the Lord answered my prayer and I was able to vividly remember every aspect of the care I had given her as her nurse. I remembered the IV fluid dripping from the end of the tubing into the trash can, I remembered standing in the nurses station getting her medicine out and reading the label and comparing it to the order. . . Remembering all of these little things was vital to my sanity.

I always make mental notes of things - at work and at home. On Sundays I will often announce, "I'm unplugging my curling iron." Or I walk out the door and announce, "I locked the door." I don't want to sit through church wondering if my curling iron is going to ignite my hairspray bottle and start a fire or worry if the door was left unlocked therefore making it susceptible to blowing open allowing Scooby to make his escape.

Brian and I often end up at places with two vehicles. When we are on our way home we always announce who is in our car, "I've got the boys - or I've got Megan." It's a habit we formed when the kids were small and something we do to this day.

God graciously gave Brian and me three kids - our hearts are knitted to theirs. We want to care for them to the best of our ability. I don't want to be a distracted mom caught up in my own interests - because the result of that can be devastating.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Down Home

Watching the parade - waiting for candy

We enjoyed another Labor Day weekend "down home" for Brian's family reunion. Unlike the last few years, we decided to leave Friday after school and stay the full three nights - coming home on Monday.

It was a nice leisurely weekend with a lot of food and family. I'm sure the video Levi shot of the famous "chicken on bedsprings" totally engulfed in flames will make youtube later this week - I will be sure to post a link when that happens. Aside from the fire and Aunt Pearl's minor medical emergency, it was a pretty uneventful weekend.

The kids always enjoy hooking up with second cousins. This year instead of ultimate frisbee, they played softball. Joel and Caleb were inseparable and everybody got along!

Reading headstones dating back to the Revolutionary War -
moments before this picture I saw Bigfoot go behind a tree.
I am not kidding!! We walked out in the woods for a while to
try to catch another glimpse - didn't see him again.
Really - out of the corner of my eye I saw Bigfoot!!
At least I think I did!

A significant part of the weekend is always spent listening to old family stories - usually while standing over some one's grave in the cemetery. As colorful as it is, I'm glad the kids know their heritage. It's nice to see that even though we only go "down home" once a year, the kids really feel a deep rooted connection there.

Brian standing in front of the church where the family cemetery is located.

One of Brian's relatives who "shot a man for killin' his pa!"
He lived hard and died young.
But I guess there's an old, old lady in the nursing home
who remembers
this man helping her when she
was badly hurt as a young girl.

He supposedly rode for help and saved her life.
I think she had a
crush on him after that.
Rumor has it that her eyes still light up when she talks about him!

It was a little shocking for me this year to see how frail Brian's aunts and uncles are looking, and there was talk about how Linda (Brian's cousin) was turning 50 this year. The second cousins that were in high school a few years ago are now married and there are a few third cousins now.

All of this reminded me of the Statler Bros. song daddy sings, You Can't Go Home Anymore.

But you can't go home to the good times -
you can't go home anymore

Roy's all crippled up now Kathleen can hardly see
Freddy's off somewhere to fight a war
But you can't go home to the good times -
you can't go home anymore

Everything has changed and who were there to blame
Gone far that you just can't go home

Time marches on and time changes everything. This year, I think, really brought home the realization that the face of the reunion is changing - a new generation is coming up and the older generation one by one is going home to be with the Lord.