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.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Top 10 Christmas Presents

Leave it to Brian to bring me out of my blogging hiatus! While not being a member of the "boys' toy club" means I wasn't officially "tagged" to participate, reading the Brians' (What My Dad Saw- Yesterville Toy Room)posts on Top 10 Christmas Presents made me do some reminiscing . . . .

#10 Play Kitchen

While this is not exactly what our play kitchen looked like, it is pretty close. I have vivid memories of playing with our kitchen with my sister. The sink really worked! You could put water in a pan below the "sink" and the faucet would somehow magically pump it out - kind of recycling it. What was even more amazing was that Mother would actually LET US put water in the sink! Many hours of my childhood were spent playing "wife and mom." I guess it paid off!

#9 The book Giant Stories

While I don't really remember unwrapping this book at Christmas, I think it was a Christmas present. Even if it wasn't, this book is hands-down one of my all time favorite books. I am pretty sure it was a book my mom ordered from The Weekly Reader. The pictures were awesome and stories were just a little scary. I would love to have this book again!

#8 Fisher Price Dollhouse

My sister and I played with this dollhouse for years. What a classic! Role playing at its best. We bought Megan the 90's version of the Fisher Price dollhouse and she spent hours upon hours playing with hers. This has to be one of the all time best toys Fisher Price ever made.

#7 Sunshine Family Dollhouse

While not the Fisher Price dollhouse, the Sunshine Family dollhouse ranks high with me because it was such a surprise for me. I saw it in the JC Penney catalog and fell in love. I never dreamed that I would actually get it for Christmas! Pure 1970s fashion and theme - the Sunshine Family was the original "green" family and I LOVED them!

#6 Colorform set

I can still smell them! I loved my Colorforms. So much fun and creativity and reuseability! Great toy. Why don't they still smell the same?

#5 Super Jock

While not a real sports fan, I can remember wanting this toy REALLY badly. It was probably 1977 or 1978. My sister and my dad and I played with this toy a lot. It even survived long enough for my little brother to eventually end up playing with it.

#4 My doll Stephanie

While not a huge doll fan, I do still love MY first doll. Purchased, as most of our toys were, from the JC Penney catalog, this doll is big with kind of crazy wild blonde hair and sleepy eyes - you know the kind where her eye lids close when you lay her down. She even cries when you move her back and forth - can anyone say "shaken baby syndrome." lol The crazy thing about Stephanie is her name. I named her Stephanie - why? I don't know. I don't like that name and never have. Sorry to all the Stephanies of the world.

#3 Yellow Housecoat

This was a beautiful yellow robe/housecoat brought back from Florida for me by my mother's parents. I am quite sure that this housecoat singlehandedly started my love affair with bed clothes! It was nothing shy of beautiful and I felt so special when I had it on.

#2 Dusty and Nugget

This is the only toy I really remember asking - no begging for from my parents. I truly thought I would die if I didn't get this toy for Christmas. I am certain that is was the TV commercial than ran during the Brady Bunch that hooked me. Dusty looked amazing and Nugget - well, he looked real. That year my mom ordered a lot of stuff from JC Penney's. Enough stuff that she had a large box full of Christmas presents in their bedroom covered with a quilt. I am more than embarassed to admit that one day while under my older sister's not-so-watchful eye, I sneaked a peak under the quilt. Seeing Dusty and Nugget in the box was too much for my 8 year old self control. I spent the better part of the afternoon playing with them - neatly putting them back in the box before my parents got home. I hope my mother doesn't read my blog.

#1 Emergency MEGO Playset

Considering Emergency was my FAVORITE TV show, this toy was my FAVORITE toy. John Gage and Roy DeSoto were amazing! And while the MEGO company didn't do that great of a job capturing their awesomeness, I played with this set quite a lot. Rampart, This is Squad 51!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Home today!

My girl is coming home today!

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Tonight is one of those nights that if truth be told I should probably be spanked and sent to bed without supper.

I miss my girl. She has been at camp for nearly 2 weeks, and I need her home.

I love my boys, but they never do the dishes.

Scooby peed and pooped under the table, and my mop is worn out from overuse. But lucky for me, Brian and Joel just went to Walmart to buy me a new one.

My legs hurt. I am tired of being diabetic, and I want a candy bar.

See what I mean. Spank me and send me to bed!

Monday, July 20, 2009

40 years ago!

40 years ago today -
Apollo 11 landed on the moon
and I was due to be born!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Look - Inside and Out

I have been thinking a lot lately about a lot of things. The big 4-0 is approaching and I have started getting all reflective - but in a good way.

I am changing a lot of things - this blog included. When I have more time, I will elaborate more. But right now the technical aspect of changing "Thoughts of a Preacher's Wife" are taking most of my available free time.

So for now here are a few of the things I have been pondering - in bullet form:

  • Work - new job? I actually sent out two resumes! Why did I do this - I hate change!
  • Home - rearranging/getting ready for winter. Sounds primitive I know, but last winter was hard in so many ways. I am taking my cues from Proverbs 31.
  • Kids - lots of thoughts about the kids growing up and the new challenges they face. Exciting yet scary! These are the thoughts that keep me awake at night.
  • Me - entering a new decade! Redefining myself. I am determined to be a new, better me!
  • Church - new convictions about my leadership with the kids. Doctrine - it's all about doctrine. Building our house on the rock.
  • Health - eating and cooking healthier more consistently. I truly believe we are killing ourselves with our diet. That is going to stop!
I am thankful for the transformation God has brought me through. I don't know if it hurts a caterpillar to turn into a butterfly, but I am thankful for my recent growth and change despite the pain.

God is good and His love is perfect.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Zucchini Bread

Zucchini is a small summer squash. The zucchini can be yellow, green or light green, and generally has a similar shape to a ridged cucumber.

In a culinary context, zucchini is treated as a vegetable, which means it is usually cooked and presented as a savory dish or accompaniment. Botanically, however, the zucchini is an immature fruit, being the swollen ovary of the female zucchini flower.

Interesting. I don't like squash - but I love fried zucchini and zucchini bread. Go figure.

Zucchini Bread - by Aunt Jannie

3 eggs

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups zucchini (peeled and grated)

3 cups flour

1 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Grease and flour two 9x5x2 loaf pans. Mix all ingredients, pour into loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Serve warm with butter. Enjoy!

Friday, May 15, 2009


Joel reminding me that HIS graduation isn't that far away!
Wow! Time flies when you're having fun!!

Joel's latest fascination.

I am better with this than I was with the Marines.
The Coast Guard does fit his personality a lot better.
Joel is a saver and not a killer.

But we are a LOOOOONG way away from an ocean!

Happy Hope!

He is on his way home!
I am happy!!
I am sure Hope is happy!!!

P.S. Isn't my mother-in-law an AMAZING photographer!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Yet another self potrait

Levi and gang on their senior trip.
He said they got lost and ended up walking 20 miles.

He sent me this picture this morning.
What I can tell from this picture:
they must have found a sale on blue-blocker shades,
nobody was wearing sunscreen, and
they look like they are having fun!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

More Self Portraits

Megan and Adam

Car Troubles

The Explorer during happier times.

Bad news today.

Our Explorer is dead - died the big one, kicked the bucket, bought the farm.

I am having a hard time coming to terms with it.

We have four vehicles and we need four vehicles. The Explorer, while not without its faults, was our best vehicle.

Now it is gone.

I am trying to look at the positive things:

1. Megan wasn't hurt when it stopped running while she was driving it last night.
2. Adam was there to push it into an empty parking lot.
3. The parking lot happened to be pushing distance to an auto shop.
4. The Explorer didn't quit on Megan while we were states away from her a couple weeks ago.
5. My parents who rarely go to G*** were literally blocks away from Megan last night when she had trouble. Although we nor she knew it at the time, how awesome that God had in place safeguards and help for her.
6. We hadn't put new tires on it yet.
7. It did not break down on Levi and Hope late at night when they were on their way home from prom (Levi was planning on driving it tonight) leaving them stranded on a dark, curvy road. Oh my, that could have been bad for many reasons!

I am really trying to think of 10 positive things, but I am having trouble.

8. It did not break down on Levi and Hope late at night leaving them stranded on a dark, curvy road with nothing but state forest around them. I know I already mentioned that, but I think it bears being mentioned again.
9. It needed cleaned out anyway.

This is getting lame.

10. Our insurance will be cheaper without it.

Self Portrait

Levi and Hope at The Seasons for prom.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

His Life

Levi wrote this for his Senior English class.
He entitled it "My Life."

Walking on a small bridge that stretched over Young’s Creek on County Road 400 South, my girlfriend Hope and I stopped to skip rocks and listen to the flowing water echo under the bridge. It was spring and the water was a little higher than is typical due to the rain the night before. Sitting there on the bridge we had fun imagining that one day we would be sitting on a bridge that I had designed, because in a few short months I would be going to school to learn how to design infrastructures such as this bridge. Why did I want to do this? It is the job the sums up most of my eclectic interests. How did I know this? How did I become who I am today? It is who I am. It is my story.

I was home-schooled by my mom up until my freshman year of high school. She is still my favorite teacher to this day. My parents decided to send me to TCM my freshman year so that I would be able to get involved in music and sports.

Growing up I have always been known as the guy who has sporadic interests and was called the jack of all trades. There is no surprise that I became this way. My dad’s interests are just as sporadic as mine are. My parents have always supported me no matter what I had a desire to do. Well except if it was dangerous, then my dad would try it first to make sure it was “safe.” Personally, I think he just wanted to try it as bad as I did. I know he would confess to that if you asked him.

My interests varied all the way from rock climbing and dirt biking to building hydrogen fuel cells and converting used vegetable oil into bio-diesel. My parents have always supported me, and they have never told me that something was too hard for me to figure out or too hard for me to do.

My house and yard were the best a young teenage boy could ever ask for. It has dirt-bike trails all the way around it and through it with berms and jumps. My dad even bought a quad-axle load of dirt and borrowed my grandpa’s skid-steer so we would build some bigger jumps and taller berms for our corners.

The yard has a one hundred and fifty foot zip-line across it, a home-made fort, and it is full of trees. One summer my brother Joel and I camped in our yard for an entire week.

When I was thirteen I decided that I wanted to learn how to weld. I have lost three pairs of pants and two shirts to fire since that decision. I went as far as to take an adult welding class my junior year at Central Nine Career Center. My classmates, all twenty to thirty years older than me, always offered to rub me down with asbestos before class started.

I have always loved engines. You can probably thank my Uncle Danny for that one. By the time I was thirteen, I had rebuilt three dirt bike engines and a three wheeler engine. Ok, the three wheeler engine had to be rebuilt twice, but that is only because a friend didn’t believe in shifting out of third.

When I was fifteen my dad bought me a 1975 Ford F-100 with a three hundred cubic inch straight six. It barely ran, but after a couple of weekends I was yanking branches out of trees that we needed cut down and roasting tires on back roads.

My parents have tried their hardest to make sure that I was well-rounded. My mom has taught me more than I can write in this chapter. She has taught me about everything from cooking and cleaning to rearranging and school work. My dad has always been there for me as well. He has taught me how to do anything and everything you could imagine around the house and how to stand even when others are falling. Their influences and support has shaped me into who I am today.

When I was eight years old I realized that I was a sinner and I had broken God’s laws. At that moment I made the most important decision in my life. I cried out for God to save me. That decision gave me the desire to change the path that I was traveling.

All my life I have known that I wanted a job that I could work with my hands and use my head. The summer after my freshman year I got a job as a lifeguard at the Painted Hills’ pool. I made four rescues that summer and applied enough band-aids to supply a third world country. I have worked there and at the YMCA pool for the last four years.

This year, my senior year, I have been working with my Uncle Danny at the machine shop where he works. I try to work every Saturday from six am to about noon. I really enjoy the work that is done up there and it seems as if they are always faced with a new challenge. I typically drive the fork lift helping Danny get parts in and out of his lathe. I also deburr a lot of parts (knocking off sharp edges and corners with a grinder or a file). Recently I have been shown how to run a few machines such as the lathe, mill, and the bandsaw.

Working at the machine shop has opened me up to the world of precision and fabrication. That is why I have decided to become a civil engineer. I am going to school to get my Associate’s Degree in civil engineering which will allow me to design bridges, roads, and other infrastructures.

I feel like the experiences that I have gone through and the instruction and support of my parents have prepared me for the world ahead. With God on my side and the support of friends and family, I am not scared to step out into the real world. I am ready to go out, make a stand, and make a difference. Someday maybe you can sit on my bridge.

I love that boy!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Super Hero

Me as a Super Hero.
This is pretty much what I look like when I go to work.
Only I don't wear my underpants on the outside. Well, not usually.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Joel!

What Joel should still look like . . .

but he doesn't!

Happy 15th Birthday Joel! Love Mom

Monday, March 23, 2009

Becoming Diabetic

Having grown up in a family strewn with diabetics, I am quite familiar with diabetes or "sugar die-beetus" as my grandparents called it. I hate the word because of what mental images it produces for me.

I see my dad's Uncle John who was missing an arm and a leg from "sugar die-beetus." I was present at a reunion he was at when I was a toddler, so all of my memories of him are from a single snapshot taken that day.

Type II diabetes or adult onset diabetes has a stigma associated with it of fat, doughnut eating, Pepsi downing, couch potatoes who would rather eat than breathe. At least this is how I feel people look at us. Yes, I am now in the ranks of "us."

Although Type II diabetes IS associated with lifestyle (ie. overweight, sedentary lifestyle) there is also a huge genetic component. And although you can change your lifestyle, you certainly can't change your genes.

The way I look at it, I was destined to become diabetic. I may have been able to delay the onset by 10 or 20 years, but it was knocking on my door.

I had gestational diabetes at age 20 when I was pregnant with Megan and again at age 24 when I was pregnant with Joel. I was in nursing school when I was pregnant with Joel and we were learning to use the glucometer. We had to test ourself. My blood sugar was 324. I told my class mates my meter was broken.

Fast forward 15 years and a lot of denial later.

Around Thanksgiving I began to become concerned that my legs were swelling. Nurses stand a lot. It was not unusual to have edema at the end of the work day, but it was usually resolved by morning. Not so any more. The edema was sticking around morning, noon, and night.

I also noticed that I was not urinating very much. Nurses are notorious for "holding it" all day. I vowed to drink more, pee more, and try to sit more at work.

Enter the Christmas season and all of the goodies associated with it. We were inundated at work with homemade candies, cookies, and cakes. I tried to stay out of them without much success.

A day or two after Christmas I was in a meeting at work. Toward the end of the meeting I began to have a really bad pain in my right side - a flank pain. When I stood up and walked out of the room the pain became severe, taking my breath away and almost causing me to pass out. It was severe for about an hour and bothersome for a couple days. No fever, no chills - just pain.

I still don't know what that pain was but it turned me into a different person. From that day and for the next 6 weeks, I urinated like a different person. You know, peed like a Russian race horse and all of those other famous urination metaphors.

And talk about thirsty. At work I do patient assessments every day and one of the questions I ask is, "Have you had any excessive thirst or urination?" I now know how to describe excessive thirst and urination. It is excessive. If you have it, you know it.

All I thought about was drinking. Water, milk, tea, coke, windshield wiper fluid . . . it didn't matter. I drank the remainder of drinks left in the car while I was driving - not even caring whose they were or how old they were. During this time my most valued possession was my white plastic cup kept in the bathroom for me to drink out of when I was up every two hours urinating.

Yes, I said up every two hours to pee. Sometimes I would have to pee so bad that despite running to the bathroom, I found myself mopping the floor. Probably way TMI - but my point is the next time you are at the doctor's office and a nurse asks you if you have excessive thirst or urination don't worry that you do and you just aren't aware. You will know.

The reason uncontrolled blood sugar causes excessive thirst and urination is because the body is trying to correct itself. We are fearfully and wonderfully made and God designed our bodies to want to be in a state of homeostasis. A state of balance. When blood sugar is high the body tries to dilute the sugar out of the blood - thus making you desire/need to take in more fluids in an attempt to filter the sugar out through the kidneys. Awesome.

Because of this I was peeing pure sugar. Okay, probably not pure sugar, but I am sure I could have given Kool-Aid a run for their money. Bacteria loves sugar. Put two and two together and that makes one killer yeast infection.

This was actually my final clue that something was wrong. Not that the excessive thirst and urination weren't clues enough - and the 10 pound weight loss without trying. But I knew that the only thing that causes repeat yeast infections was diabetes. The denial was over.

February 13th Joel had a basketball game and then a lock-in at church. It was 9:50 pm as we were driving past CVS. I pulled in telling Joel he could pick out some snacks to take to the lock-in. I walked back to the pharmacy and and the pharmacist helped me pick out a glucometer and all the trappings that go with it. We left the store at 9:58 pm.

It wasn't until 4:30 pm February 14th that I got up enough nerve to test. 367 was the reading. There was no more denying. Brian took me to the hospital where they drew labs, gave me a liter of fluids, a prescription for Metformin 500 mg BID, and a diagnosis of diabetes.


I have been thinking about my blog lately. Thinking about taking it in a different direction. A lot has changed in this head of mine since starting Thoughts of Preacher's Wife.

When I started the blog I was a . . .

Thirty-something wife, mom, and nurse who really doesn't have time to be blogging. I just wanted a way to chronicle everyday life - both good and bad. Lots of new things going on in my life - new church, new to being the Pastor's wife, new to having teenagers, new to not homeschooling, new to infertility, new to blogging.

First of all let me address the "thirty-something wife, mom, and nurse." To be truthful, if my age were a price tag I would be $39.99.

But that is just the first of the problems with that description.

I have been a Pastor's wife at Cornerstone Church for soon to be four years! Megan will be 20 in November - no longer a teenager! I haven't home schooled in three years! I have been infertile for longer than I care to think about. And like me, this blog is no spring chicken.

There are a lot of new things going on in my life . . .

- I am a newly diagnosed diabetic (Okay, I admit that was painful to write);
- I will be entering a new decade of life this summer (More painful, much more painful.);
- I am adapting to life with adult children (Talk about pain!)
- I am discovering the world of healthy eating and exercise;
- I am embracing my new love of bowls, especially nesting bowls, old dishes, and cheap furniture finds at Trader Baker's (It helps with the pain.);
- and I am finally coming to terms with the fact that God blessed me with three children, two dogs, and two cats and that may be all I get. Well, maybe the dog thing is negotiable.

The whole infertility thing which is the real reason I started this blog is still with me. I don't know if it will ever fully go away. It is kind of like hemorrhoids - painful, always there. Okay, maybe not hemorrhoids. More like a bruise. A deep bruise that doesn't show on the outside but one that is painful when just the right or wrong pressure is applied.

I admit that a lot of my desire/need to have another child was an attempt to replace or rather replenish the three that were growing up so fast. I couldn't imagine my life existing outside of their lives.

My thoughts sunk so low as to even think God cruel for not "understanding my desires" and "fulfilling my needs." I still don't understand God's ways, but as God told Job, "I am not a man. My thoughts and ways are not like yours."

Amazingly, I have learned that my growing kids do still need me. I was reminded of this as I was mopping puke off the floor in Joel's room last week.

God works in mysterious ways.

Free Time

Who would think that the down turn in the economy would effect nursing!

I showed up to work this morning only to find out that the doctor moved today's clinic patients to Thursday because there were only five patients scheduled for today. I guess he had better things to do than come in for five patients.

Being a PRN (as needed) nurse - I was the expendable employee today.

I have never worked full-time as a nurse. When I first graduated from nursing school I took a part-time evening shift job in a great hospital on their Cardiac Step Down Unit. After four years I changed hospitals and took another part-time evening shift job in a not as great hospital this time on a med-surg unit. Working part-time (actually I called it part-part-time/usually 32 hours in a two-week pay period) allowed me to still technically qualify as a stay-at-home mom and yet feel like I was contributing to the household. Working part-time also gave me paid vacation but it required that I work every other weekend.

After a year of missing every once a month Patch Club performance at church, I decided to take a leap of faith and go from part-time to PRN. I stayed at this PRN status during the five years I worked in OB, and I remain PRN now that I am in oncology. During this time, I have come to expect peaks and flows in staffing, and I realize that full-time and part-time employees get first dibs when the hours get short. My hours although usually very dependable are not guaranteed.

Thus, I am unexpectedly home today.

Considering the fact that I am awake, dressed, and presentable I decided to weigh my options of what to do with my day.

I could . . .

- forget the fact that I am awake, dressed, and presentable and climb back into bed and sleep until the kids get home from school;
- send lurid texts to Brian and seduce him into coming home and joining me for the above;
- opt to spend a few hours on the couch under a blanket with Scooby watching worthless daytime TV;
- start a cleaning project;
- go shopping at Old Time Pottery for nesting bowls and Mexican restaurant style dishes for Joel's birthday dinner (the bowls are merely a new addiction of mine - hey, better than Little Debbies);
- spend the day blogging and emptying my head of all of the random thoughts circulating around.

Although spending the day in bed does sound tempting I am quite certain Brian would not heed to my texts. I didn't say he wouldn't enjoy them - but in the end he would say something about the mortgage, electric bill, and Levi's Jeep's ever empty gas tank being what keeps him on the straight and narrow and ultimately a good boy who can't come home in the middle of the day.

I would start a new cleaning project - like tackle the mound of clothes in Joel's room. But how can Joel learn responsibility if I am always cleaning his room? Whew! I am glad I thought of that.

I would love to go shopping for nesting bowls and Mexican dishes, but feel the shopper's remorse I would suffer after spending money while missing a day's pay would just be too great to bear. Who am I kidding? I just don't feel like driving to town by myself.

While I am sure I will spend some time today on the couch with Scooby, it looks like my day is going to be spent emptying my head of random thoughts.

I feel lighter already!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

All in the Family

Family - there's just something about that blood connection.

There are 18 of us cousins on my dad's side of the family. When we were little we were close, but now as adults we rarely see each other.

Jerry - He starts the list of cousins. Jerry is now 50 and not it great health. He is the oldest cousin and was born on July 11
Cathy - She is Jerry, Laurie, and Jimmy's sister - I haven't seen her in years.
Larry - He lives close to my parents. Larry used to help Daddy farm and spent a lot of time with us when I was in high school.
Laurie - She has done a lot in her life. She was a nun for a while and now is a teacher at a Catholic high school. Laurie is a great mom to her two boys one of which has severe disabilities.
Cheri - She married Mike who is a big-time farmer a few hours a way. Cheri home schools her 6 kids who are all successful in all they do. No - I am serious, they really are.
Lisa - She is a chemist at Eli Lilly's and a single mom to Jonathon whom she adopted from Russia. Lisa has recently taken a leave from work to home school Jonathon and spend more time with her mom, Aunt Ann, who has Alzheimer's and is in a nursing home.
Diane - My sister.
Jimmy - He is a 3rd generation farmer. Daddy helps him farm now that he is retired.
Steve - He is my most notorious cousin. Steve has grown up a lot and now has a great wife and three kids. His son Dallas is just like him, and we are all enjoying that! Steve drives a school bus where he's known as Porter; however, it's still hard for me not to call him Stevie.
Tracy - She is 6 months younger than me but is a grandma - not necessarily by her choosing. She is sweet and hard working. I am glad to see her in a great relationship now.
Billy - I haven't seen Billy in years. His is the son of Aunt Mary whom no one has seen in years although she lives just a short drive away. I heard Billy got married not too long ago. He dated a girl for years and years and she died of cancer; it took him a long time to get over that.
David (Shannon) - He is a fireman and doesn't live that far away. He has a beautiful wife and two kids.
Missy - She is the daughter of Aunt Jeannie who died at 33 from breast cancer when Missy was just 10. Missy married Jerome who is a mortician/funeral director and semi-pro wrestler! She has one son and still lives in her hometown.
Toby - He is Tracy's brother. Toby has a wife named Charity and two kids. He served in the military for a while. I haven't seen him for 4-5 years now.
Chris - He is the other son of Aunt Mary. I can't even remember the last time I saw Chris. I am sure he wouldn't recognize me at all, in fact, I don't know if he ever even knew who I was. I heard he looks just like his dad. I think he is a teacher and tennis coach.
Doug - He is Missy's brother. Doug races motorcycles and has a pretty wife and two adorable boys. I am pretty certain that he is in business with his dad.
Danny - My brother. Youngest cousin and was born on July 11 just like the oldest cousin.

My parents host a family reunion every August, but unfortunately, not every one comes. It has been years since we have all been together collectively as a family.

But despite not seeing each other often, when we do we are definitely still family.

This is a picture of Joel and my cousin Tracy's daughter, Ciara. They are both freshman in high school. TCM played Ciara's school on Friday night. Joel played and Ciara cheered. Although they don't even know each other, I think you can tell they are family.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Samuel Robin

How do you reward years of faithful service? Well, in Sam's case you let him sleep on the couch when the windchill is -27 degrees.

Sam is our faithful first dog. He is 12 years old and has spent 11 of those twelve years outside guarding "the Lodge."

The story of how we got Sam is a little bittersweet for me. You see, Brian had been adamant about the fact that we were not to get a dog. He didn't want one - not yet. We were planning on moving in a year or so and Brian wanted to wait until we had more room for a dog.

Actually I might have just made all of that up. The fact was Brian didn't want a dog - he just didn't like dogs. A fact that would later change - but I digress.

Anyway, the problem was that I really wanted a dog. I wanted a dog now.

One weekend, Megan and I had to run to Walmart for some screws for a dresser Brian was putting together. As we walked into the store we passed a box of "free puppies." That's where we saw Sam. Instead of smiling at the puppies as we passed them by - we stopped and fell in love.

Megan and I agreed to do our shopping and while in the store pray about whether we should take one of those adorable free puppies. I realize now that praying about whether I should blatantly disobey my husband doesn't exactly line up with Scripture.

Needless to say, after five minutes of shopping and "praying" Megan and I had both come to the conclusion that we should take one of the puppies home. We picked a puppy originally named "Adam."

He was so small and sweet. He fit on Megan's little 6 year old lap and she wrapped him in her sweater. You would think we would be ecstatic that we finally had our puppy - but instead we both cried all the way home.

We knew we had disobeyed. We knew we were in the wrong. We should have just turned around and taken little "Adam" back to Walmart, but we didn't. We took him home.

Brian was upset, but even worse than that he was disappointed. It was the first time I had out and out disobeyed his request. And to top it off, I had dragged Megan into my disobedience.

"Adam" who we renamed Sam was everything Brian didn't want in a dog. He pooped on the floor, constantly chewed on things - especially shoes, wouldn't stay in the yard, dug under the fence, and Megan and Levi grew to be afraid of him and his needle sharp puppy teeth.

"Dog Whisperer" Joel, who was only 2 at the time, would wrestle Sam and and carry him around. And I would try to defend Sam's actions and make excuses for his behavior.

It was a rough couple months.

I finally apologized to Brian for my disobedience and asked him to forgive me and swore I would never blatantly disobey him again. We did end up moving and Sam became an outside dog. Things immediately improved and Sam became our beloved mole-hunting, guard dog.

He has served our family well. Brian loves him and appreciates his service to our family.

Sam is old and deaf now. He has arthritis and he smells bad. But I still love him and the lesson I learned from getting him is worth me giving up the couch for a few days.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Fruit of the Spirit's Not a Watermelon

I was meeting Megan at the Verizon Store to upgrade her phone. We knew she was eligible for an upgrade in January. Her phone had been giving her fits and she was more than ready for a new one.

I listened to one of my favorite radio preacher's on the way to the Verizon store. He was preaching on the fruit of the spirit. It was a very good message, and as he preached I was reflecting on my own life wondering if my walk with the Lord was producing visible fruit.

Enter the store.

Sales Clerk: May I help you.

Megan: I'm here to upgrade my phone.

Sales Clerk: What's your cell phone number.

Megan: **************

Sales Clerk: Oh, I'm sorry. You are not eligible for an upgrade until January 23.

Me: What! January 23. That is just one week away. We drove all the way from ****ville just for this upgrade. (Patience?)

Sales Clerk: I'm sorry, ma'am. There's nothing I can do about it.

Me: Well, we need a phone today. Not in a week. We have five cell phones with Verizon, and pay a whopping monthly bill. We need a new phone today. (Peace?)

Sales Clerk: Well, I am sorry, but I can't do that. It is a strict company policy.

Me: Her phone isn't working right. It is going to be -27 degrees tonight and she is going to be driving home from a late class. She needs a phone that works!!!!! (Gentleness?)

Sales Clerk: I'll tell you what I will do. This is a one time deal. I will give her a new battery to get her by for another week.

Me: Okay. Thank you. [walking away to allow Megan to finish the transaction] (Self control? maybe)

It was at this moment that I became sensitive to the Holy Spirit's conviction. Would this sales clerk now be receptive to me witnessing to her or inviting her to church. I doubt it.

I could hear Angel singing:

The fruit of the spirit's not a watermelon.
The fruit of the spirit's not a watermelon.
If you want to be a watermelon, you might as well cheer it.
But you can't be a fruit of the spirit.

For the fruit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control . . .
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness,
faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.