30 June 2009

Home Again

After our flight out to California, I was sure I never wanted to fly with Bethany again. Fortunately Bethany was a different child on our return flight.

Bethany slept the entire second flight. It was awesome. We landed at 1145pm. Grabbed our bags and was headed to my van (along side some kind strangers who agreed I shouldn't walk by myself) to my van. Paid $126 for parking, peeled my contacts out, put my glasses on and was head down the highway towards home by 1215am.

The 3 hour drive was shortened a bit. Even then it was a LONG drive home. By Rochester I was struggling to keep my eyes open and had about 80 miles to go. But I couldn't stop then. With lots and lots of prayer, begging God to keep me awake, and with a little help from cold water on my face, I stayed awake and pulled into my inlaws driveway at 3am.

I snuggled Bethany up to Scott in his bed before climbing under some blankets on the basement couch. Scott woke once and was half way up the stairs when I called him and he had to snuggle me for a few minutes. Bright and early at 7am, the construction crew was pounding away. Four hours of sleep and I could have used at least four more. But who cares, I was [almost] home.

After home-made waffles, I managed to hide back downstairs for a brief nap before Scott found me and woke me up. We left my inlaws and went straight to the clinic so I could see my hubby. Oh how sweet it was to be together as a family again!

27 June 2009

Living to the Fullest

Any time I come home, it seems like a mad rush to see all the people I need and want to see. Last September when we we're home for 15 days, we took it slowly. That is so not the case this time. I'm physically in Kingsburg for 5 days and it has gone so quickly. There's so many people I want to see, places I want to stop, pools I want to swim in (it's hot here). But bringing a 2 year old with me [Happy Birthday Bethany] forces me to slow down a bit.

Wednesday and Thursday I spent the whole day with family. Friday I spent the day with some close friends and made a quick trip to the Fair Trade store in Reedley with my Grandma. This morning I stopped to visit various family members before bringing Bethany back to Ashley's for a nap. This quiet time has been fun to blog and iron my dress for sarah's wedding tonight... if I manage to find the iron. I'm hoping for a quick tanning session in the hot sun before Bethany wakes up. We'll see if I get that accomplished.

Tomorrow will be church and hanging out with friends. I have been so blessed to spend time with some old friends that I don't keep in contact with very often. As I sat down this afternoon I was thinking about all the people I still want to see and my mom called to ask my plans for tomorrow. She's hoping our family can gather again. I think that would be great but also want to see those I've not yet seen. The days are full and I know I won't get to see everyone before I leave.

I've loved being near convenience and only driving 5 minutes to a Walgreens where I also happened to pick up a new Fresno State shirt. And only driving a few miles to stop in at my Grandma's for breakfast with her. I love that. Thank you Ryan and Eunice for encouraging me to come out here even though it wasn't in my plans!

24 June 2009

For Ryan since it was too big to email

video

65th Anniv. Pics

I didn't have my camera out most of the weekend but I did catch a few pics worth sharing.







Makin' Cookies

This morning we woke earlier than I hoped and went to my Nanny's house. The word is out to everyone now that I'm in CA so it was no surprise. However, Great Gram was surprised to see me there right away this morning and really surprised to see little Bethany. Of course, Bethany jumped right up to the counter to help Great Gram make cookies (even though Gram was making raisin pie). The two of them had a blast and I'm guessing that the ingredients and therefore the pie won't be quite perfect. It may even have a smidge of a taste of oreo here and there. But the two of them had fun and I even heard Great Gram say that this just made her day.
I'm so glad for the opportunity to be here. Today the family gathers at 4pm to have a celebration of life service for my Uncle James. It will be good to see those who can make it.
Also to note, I couldn't wait to really surprise Kristine so I did call her last night from my dad's cell phone. She was still surprised to make the connection with my voice and the local number but not as surprised as if I'd knocked on her front door.

I'm HERE

Well I made it to CA just fine. As I was driving up to Minneapolis to the airport, I was thinking that it was really no big deal to travel alone with an almost 2 year old. There was no reason things shouldn't go smoothly. Boy was I wrong!



Just after noon we stopped in Rochester to grab a few things at Target (including a restraint/leash for Bethany) and drive thru at McD's. Bethany proceeded to eat a few fries and throw the rest on the floor.



We arrived at the airport and I had to circle it once since I took the wrong lane. It was hot outside (97 and humid) so we rushed inside and got to the ticket counter where Bethany threw the first of many huge fits. She didn't like the monkey on her back that was her leash thingy. I didn't trust her without it. I ended up holding her while fumbling through my bag to check in. At this point, she pee'd through her full diaper and soaked her cute new bermuda shorts and my cute new shirt. Right there at the check in I laid her on the floor and changed her, leaving her in her diaper and me with a soaked shirt. Note to self: next time bring an extra pair of clothes for myself too! I debated on buying a new shirt but figured I was spending enough money so I pulled out the wet wipes and tried to clean my shirt.

Bethany was hungry but she had the opportunity to eat and I'd pitched her food. I also wanted to wait till we got on the airplane to feed her and occupy her that way for a while. Boarding the plane was a mess. She screamed and cried. She wanted her daddy. She didn't want on the airplane. She wanted a nutrigrain bar. She didn't want the bar. She crumbled it everywhere and finally began to eat it. She had snot and bar smeared everywhere (not that I cared about my shirt now). I felt bad for the passengers all within 5-10 rows of us. She never napped.

The layover proved similar. She wanted a hamburger. No, she wanted a sandwich. She wouldn't eat the sandwich. She doesn't like craisins but she really does love them and finally ate some. She wanted the snack mix that the girl across from us was eating. The girl was willing to share but I was a mean mommy. Boarding our second flight wasn't as bad. She only cried for the first 40 minutes and it wasn't hysterical like the first flight. She wanted juice but we were in the last row and the flight attendant started at the first row. It was a long few minutes of waiting. Bethany was mean to everyone and even then two people took pictures of that cute litle girl they sat by. Odd, I didn't think she was being cute at all!!! About 20 minutes before we landed, she finally crashed. I carried her limp body all through the airport and held her while getting the car. She was grumpy with Grandpa Danny who was only trying to help.

Thank you dad for meeting us at the airport. I wish it wasn't so late and we could have grabbed a bite to eat with you.

We made it to Ashley's around 1030. And Bethany stayed asleep. She was finally peaceful!

Thank you Ashley for letting me crash your house last minute.

21 June 2009

Long Few Days

It's been a long few days.

We began with a celebration for Ryan's Grandparents:
- Late to their house Friday afternoon after 2 stops that took way longer than needed.
- Scott slept 12 hours that night - with a little help from our friend Ben A Dryl.
- Saturday the whole family and we had a nice meal in town.
- Got to meet Eric's special friend Amanda. We think she's special too.
- Mom called to say that they were losing my Uncle James - he had surgery on Wednesday and never breathed on his own again after that.
- Family left and we headed downstairs and snuggled on the twin air mattress for a while digesting the coming loss of my Uncle.
- Mom is leaving to CA (yes, she just returned from there) to be there for her sister.


We wake up before 6 to our son needing a potty break. He happened to burp up a little substance and told us he threw up in his mouth. I wish that was the only interruption to our morning plans.


Just after 6 I awoke again to what I thought was Scott throwing up. It wasn't. He was having a SEIZURE. Yes, another seizure. Ryan dealt with Scott while I ran up and called 911 after a little hesitation. Scott and I took our second trip to Blank's Children's Hospital via ambulance. He was fine but I was floored because he wasn't supposed to have another seizure; he's supposed to grow out of this random-no-explanation seizure. They think it was a febrile seizure even though his temp went down right away. He shows for having some kind of infection (they think strep throat) thus the seizure.

So while we were supposed to be in church with the whole family, we were in the emergency room. We left Blanks and met my parents (who are on their way to CA) at Panera Bread while we got a bite to eat. We got back to the celebration just in time for a quick shower and lunch. We got to visit with family a while more before everyone left.

We had plans of being home for the closing program for VBS. But are ways aren't always God's ways. And He ultimately has the plan in His hands. So, we're taking the advice of the doctor and are remaining here for 24 hours to make sure another doesn't occur. During this time, we're having fun hanging out with family some more.

Thank you Lord for a healthy son!

18 June 2009

GUITAR

About a month ago one of my girlfriends was selling her guitar and it came with one free lesson from her (guitar lesson teaching) husbad.  I mentioned to Ryan that I would love to learn how to play guitar.  Thought it sounded like fun, I have other priorities for the money I've saved and would rather remodel the living room. 
 
Nothing else was said.
 
Until last night.
 
We were about 2 hours over due for bed time and both tired.  Ryan mentioned that he had something for me since he didn't buy me an anniversary gift and asked if I wanted it then or later.  Duh, of course I want it now.  He turned off the light and laid a Big Baby Taylor guitar in my lap.  I was so surprised.  Taylor is a nice (which also means expensive) brand.  He bought it used on ebay.  It's not in perfect condition but it is more than I would need.  Ryan had been in kahootz with Shane (the guitar teacher) about the whole deal.  He'd been watching them on ebay for the past month.  Sunday while out on calls, he stopped at the clinic to check his bid.  He was beat out by 55 cents and with only a few minutes left, he upped his bid and bought me a guitar.  Sweet deal. 
 
Now I just need to find time and money in the budget to get guitar lessons...
 
This morning Michelle sent me a text message saying she wasn't working out.  I was fine with that and spent that time instead making my hubby breakfast in bed.  Scrambled eggs with guacamole... umm good. 
 
Thanks love for the guitar!




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17 June 2009

Live Like That

Last night during the intro of our Vacation Bible School with the Boomerang Express located Down Under, there was a short video clip located in and around the harbor in Sydney. While I was thoroughly enjoying the views, the question came to mind if I could live there and still live like Jesus. I've been thinking a lot recently about living more like Jesus and was glad that it came to mind without my direct persuasion. Could I live in a big city, a beautiful city, and still live like Jesus? I entertained that thought for a few moments when I concluded that I didn't think so.

Random thought, I know.

A short while later, we had finished the intro and our bible study time before moving to our music and missions time. Each night during the missions time, they focus on a missionary around the world. Last night's focus was a missionary here in the states, working in Wyoming or Montana. The missionary had moved there to start a church. But because it was so rural and people had chores to do plus a long drive to town, they didn't attend church. This guy started Cowboy Church. No dressing up. Boots and jeans. Sometimes clean, sometimes straight from chores. Nothing fancy. Just every day people with the same goal in mind meeting together. As I watched the brief video, the same thought as earlier occurred to me. Without even having to think about it, I could answer my own question.

I could certainly live like that!

Funny how those thoughts occur and how those things happen. It's been so good to see how God has been working in my life. To see how I happen to cross paths with the perfect people, how I happen, to read a certain book of the bible, and how it all happens to be bringing me closer to God. Thank you Lord for happening to have Your hand in those situations.

15 June 2009

Repentance

Saturday we took our neighbor with us to the park in town for a fun-filled kick-off for Vacation Bible School. It went well and the boys did wonderfully together (much better these days than the first time they socialized this spring). They were tired when it was time to go home. On the way out of town, Aaron started crying. Of course I asked to see what was wrong. Apparently Scott told Aaron that he was going to put him in jail. Aaron didn't like that idea and cried (he's not a wimpy kid, it had to have been that he was tired). I assured Aaron that Scott would not put him in jail and by the time we got to Aaron's, he was done crying.

That night when Scott prayed, he remembered little Aaron without my prompting. He was sorry that he told Aaron that he'd put him in jail and said he wouldn't put Aaron in jail. He was thankful for his family, some church friends, and his neighbor, Aaron. What a sweet kid I [sometimes] have.

Cartwheel

Not sure how it happened this morning but while Ryan was gone working out, I was laying in bed reading my bible.  It was ~615am.  I heard someone coming up the stairs and knew it was the dog and it wasn't heavy enough steps to be Ryan.  Should I be concerned???  It was Scott.  I figured he'd went down stairs to find me and come back up.  When I asked him about it, he informed me that daddy let him watch Mary Poppins this morning.  What time did that kid get up???  Thank you honey for letting me sleep since I feel like I got no sleep all night! 
 
I'm not sure if it was on Mary Poppins or something else but Scott began asking me about cartwheels and was trying to do them in the living room.  With a little assistance, he managed back up.  And much to his surprise, I showed him that mommy could do a cartwheel too.  Glad you weren't there because it was embarrassing.  It was by no means a cartwheel that I would have done back in the day!  In fact, I didn't even get my legs straight up in the air.  Maybe mommy needs to go back to gymnastics and take Scott along!



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09 June 2009

Thank you Michelle

This morning while working out, I was complaining to my buddies about Ryan being gone a lot lately which has left me doing the solo parenting and putting kids to bed most nights. The past 2 1/2 weeks have also been random schedules because my mom is gone and others are filling in with kid duty. Last night particularly was rough though. I couldn't get Bethany to bed with screaming. I would let her scream for a while before going back in her room. My efforts to soothe her worked until I would place her back in her bed. Tired and with a long list of house chores to accomplish, I was frustrated with Bethany's lack of sleeping. This went from 815 to midnight. At midnight I rolled over and she was out. I was thankful since I knew my alarm would be going off in 5 1/2 hours. Just 5 minutes later Scott walked in the room because he was scared. I thought "seriously, can a tired mom get any sleep tonight?" I finally got him settled in Bethany's bed and carried her limp body in their to snuggle with him. I was so tempted to go downstairs and start cleaning but I knew I needed my sleep!

All that to preface my conversation with my buddies this morning. As I was sharing my story, Michelle shared something interesting with me. As we seek to live like Jesus lived (which isn't easy in our culture), she reminded me that some of Jesus' followers were married. They were gone doing ministry with Jesus which means that they weren't home to tuck their kids in bed at night. When she was really struggling with her husband being gone most nights, she thought about this and it made it easier to deal with. God called them to serve and minister and they weren't able to tuck their kids into bed each night. I had never thought of that. Though I want to be like Christ, I struggle to look to the bible for those kinds of things. I'm so thankful that Michelle shared that with me and a refreshing thought... even though that wasn't what I wanted to hear, it was what I needed to hear.

***Disclaimer***
I'm not saying that its acceptable for husbands/dads to be gone every night all the time. I think there's a difference between those guys out gratifying themselves and being out for ministry/service. I also understand that there needs to be a balance in life and I'm glad to know that Ryan's VBS train building will be short lived since VBS starts on Saturday!

08 June 2009

Weekend Report

I spent Friday night and Saturday morning at Beulahland Bible Camp hanging out with the Mexico City team. It was great to bond with old and new friends while we did some cultural presentations, shared what God's doing in our lives, prayed with our partners and studied God's Word. It was exciting to hear two of our team mates express a desire to be baptized. Both of them had been baptized at a young age but want to be baptized now as a public statement regarding their faith. What a cool end to our time together.

At noon Ryan, the kids, and our friend Elaine met me at the camp for a picnic and fishing. It was cold and rainy but we were prepared for lunch and Scott was determined to fish. It was a light rain so we managed that but were cold. Scott caught a big fish right away but after that Elaine was the only one who caught fish. As an international student from Malaysia, this was her first fishing experience and she loved it. I also paddled around the big pond with the kids and they loved it but my quads didn't!

Saturday night we did a quick run to Ryan's folks and grabbed some pizza in town before getting to their house. We ate our "diet" pizza [I think thin crust pizza is like being on a diet cause I love bread] had a quick tour of the remodel project, helped them move some things, showed them the waiting child list for adoption and picked a little girl that I want to get some more information about, stopped at WallyWorld on our way home and got in bed late.

Sunday was a full day at the church. I was home at 3pm and had a lazy afternoon with the family. Ryan left to work on the train that he and a few guys are building for vacation bible school, and eventually I got the wild indians in bed. [I seriously wonder how differently they would act if they didn't have sugar in their diet.] I popped two tylen0l pm's and headed to bed!

05 June 2009

Birth Blessing

Did a field visit the other day to survey for a watering system for a field being grazed by long horn cattle. They have those in Iowa... who knew! Anyway, about 3/4 through the survey, we came upon a mama cow with a brand new baby calf. We did not see the birth of the calf but within minutes we were there and aware of this very good momma cow. She was cleaning her calf up and very protective as she watched our every move and we made sure to keep our distance. It was so fun to watch the first few minutes of life for the baby calf. We watched her try to stand multiple times before she finally succeeded, all the while the momma cow licking her and keeping watch. What a cool thing to see!

Oh and I must mention other fun details of the survey. Our summer student tore her jeans on the barbed wire fence as we crossed into the pasture. Also, half way through the survey, it hit me that we should have left a truck at the bottom of the hill. For those who've heard Iowa is flat, don't be deceived. This hill was by no means flat!!! Yes, it would have made sense for me to go back at that point and get the truck but I didn't. Instead, I volunteered to walk all the way back up when we were done surveying. I wish I had the measurements but I'm guessing it was at least 20% slope (think really steep road in the mountains) and 500 yards. I started out jogging, that didn't last long! I walked forward a while till my calves burned and then backwards a while till my thighs burned. I was sore from working out the day before so I continued up the hill, panting, until I got to the top. Oh how glorious! I quenched my dry mouth with water and drove down to pick up my coworkers. As I drove back up the hill to drop off the rest of the crew at their truck, I saw a guy running down the hill and was quite humbled when I recalled seeing him run up it while we surveyed. Whew, it was a lot of work to walk up the hill, let alone RUN.

02 June 2009

Mexico Update

For those who want to know a Mexico City update:
  • I'm currently taking a spanish class and listening to podcasted spanish lessons.
  • I have raised all my financial support for the trip. If you feel the need, you can give to the general group fund or to our adoption.
  • We're meeting semi-regularly to get the details worked out about the trip. Please pray for those details.
  • Concern for safety. Really, I don't watch the news so I'm not real aware of the issues going on in Mexico. From what I understand, the issues are at the border crossings and border towns. Since we are flying into Mexico City, we understand that it shouldn't be a problem.
  • Prayer is essential for our group as we prepare until we get back home. If you have not already let me know that you would be praying for me, and you are willing to do so, please let me know ASAP. I would love to know that people are praying for me. Beyond that, I'm also required to have a list of 20 people praying for me so if you would pray for me, that's one less person I have to ask (aka beg). Thanks.

Full of it today

I've been lacking in posting lately, mostly because of my hectic schedule. Here's another quick update based on this post from a month ago:
  • I'm finished in one of the two offices I have to audit. It only took me 2/3 of the expected time. They've changed the process a bit so I don't know if I'll get so luck in the next office. For now, I'm enjoying being in my own office, especially since its my coworker buddy's last week here. I'm supposed to be here for 3 weeks but I might get an early start on the next office so I don't feel like I'm in limbo here.
  • I got my passport back two weeks ago. I was really confused with the US Govt envelope since I wasn't expecting anything from my employer.
  • Newspaper articles were done. Our small town paper was very generous in doing an article. I wish I could share the article with you but I don't have access to their old files.
  • Tonight is round 2 of my HepB shot. We'll see how sore my arm is tomorrow.
  • My new nephew is adorable. I hope my parents are enjoying getting to hold and kiss on him while they're out there for a few weeks.

I can do it

Last night while at the warehouse where Ryan was working on the VBS set, I rattled off the words of one of Scott's children's books. Chris got a kick out of the story and I'm not sure he noticed that I had it memorized. Ryan on the other hand gave me a look and told Chris and me that I should be able to memorize whole books of the bible because I've got a good memory. I thought that was funny since Ryan is the one with an incredible memory. I can do numbers, not stories, unless they rhyme and are children's books.

I went home last night and read through Hebrews 11-12. The 11th chapter talks about the things people did because they had the faith. That got me thinking about our ongoing adoption stuff. Then it got me thinking about Ryan's comment from earlier. I've thought more than once lately about my need to hide God's Word in my heart - to learn and memorize and know scripture. But I rarely do it. So I'm gonna try what Ryan suggested. Only I'm going to tone it down quite a bit to one chapter to begin with. I'm going to work on memorizing Hebrews 11 and wee what comes of that. God will bless my efforts, I know, but I'm excited to see how thinking about the faith of others will impact my own life. Anyone wanna join me???

Sent to a friend

I was emailing a friend today and sent him this. It pretty much sums up my life right now, I think.


Ryan got offerred a sweet job only it was ND. I don't think my skin is thick enough for that kinda of cold weather. We didn't consider the job at all. I'm wishing we would have.

Life is good otherwise. Still trucking along with the little ones.

Heading to Mexico City in August for a missions trip. Learning spanish again - I have forgotten a bunch!

Still in the beginning stages of the adoption process and wishing there weren't so many options. Saving money for that.

Playing with the kids. Wishing Scott would understand that pooping in the toilet is normal.

Dreaming about homeschooling the kids. Working 830-5.

Working out 2 mornings a week and thinking about running a few of the other mornings. Still wondering why that extra skin won't go away around my gut... Doesn't it know that I don't want to need that extra area in the future?

Trying to simplify my life. Struggling to not want to keep up with the Joneses.

01 June 2009

Lavish Love

It was a fun by busy and tiring weekend. I spent Saturday with some of the ladies from Postville pampering and loving on them while some friends watched their kiddos. It was a much needed day of relaxation for some women who are in the midst of chaos following the immigration raid last year. These women were wonderful and I enjoyed getting to know them a little bit.

Life is busy as usual. Spending evenings playing with the kiddos and trying to cut out the row of shrubs along the driveway. It's tedious work but it needs to be done. I'm cutting out the dead stalks, smashing the nasty beetles that survived the winter after feasting on my once gorgeous shrubs last year, and leaving the tender new growth. What a reminder of God's love. I hadn't thought of it till just now. That pruning process with God reveals the good, new and fresh growth. May those remaining little twigs remind me of God while I remember to stomp out the evil that destroys and sucks the life out of me!

I've been reading in Hebrews lately. To be honest, I struggle having a consistent quiet time with God. I know that getting to know someone means spending time but I feel like I have so much going on. Funny how we can find time for what's important yet rush through quiet time in 5 minutes. I've been late to work several times lately because I'm enjoying my time in the Word. I know I need to get back to journaling which focuses my attention more on what God is trying to teach me through the passage. I'm so thakful for a God who's outside of time and wants to know me regardless of my sporadic time with Him. I'm also thankful that I serve a God who cares enough to want to know me and for me to know Him more deeply than I allow time for!

In light of speaking of love (not the original intent of this post), my folks are in CA lavishing love on our family out there. I'm a bit jealous. But mostly I miss my mom and Ralph. Especially their willingness and ability to easily care for my children!