Something to hold on to...

"Today I am one day nearer home than ever before. One day nearer the dawning when the fog will lift, mysteries clear, and all question marks straighten up into exclamation points!
 I shall see the King!"     Vance Havner

Friday, June 29, 2007

One month down...

Oldest son left for Amsterdam exactly one month ago today. He has already learned much, met many people, and has left his comfort zone behind. I must say that I am so very happy for him and the things he has done so far. For those that know his timid nature, he has really stepped up and has taken on various duties much unlike him. He has taught a small group Bible study, has worked the reception desk, and is meeting and hanging out with many new friends. When I think of how rich his life will be after this experience it makes my heart truly happy.

On the other hand, I really am missing him. I am blessed to have very close relationships with both of my boys. They are becoming amazing young gentlemen that I enjoy spending time with. This communication age that we are in has really helped, in that it has always been so easy to email, phone, or instant message them. Oldest and I seem to catch each other online about every other day. There is a seven-hour time difference from here to Amsterdam, so that makes conversations interesting. I usually start by saying “good morning”, then I realize it is not morning for him.

He has not taken many digital photos as of yet. I was hoping to post a few pictures every now and then to show you all some amazing sites of the Netherlands. He did take a bike ride to the beach about a week ago and shot this picture on his way. Can’t really prove it is from Amsterdam though. He has a thing for miniature horses; they make him laugh, so it was natural for him to take this picture. I will post some other pictures when they come my way.

Technically he has 5 more months to go, but is already thinking he might try to stay longer. I say, go for it. He is living one of his dreams right now, and there are not many of us who truly get to accomplish that.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Date Night

Tonight was “date night”, but of a different type. Youngest son and I went out for the evening. Husband is away on a church elder field trip of sorts, so that left youngest and I alone for the night. While I am busy reading “To Kill A Mockingbird” and really wanted to finish it tonight and move on to another classic, I decided a night out with youngest would be wise. We went out to eat and then to the movie, “Evan Almighty”. Now, I will say that I had reservations about this movie and was afraid that it might compromise my beliefs, but on the contrary, it reinforced them. It is a delightful, fun, movie that has many lessons to remind us of how God wants us to live. Go see it.

I was also very thankful to spend the evening with youngest. He is such a neat guy. I know there won’t be a lot of date nights in our future (at least not with each other) , so I am grateful for these moment we do have.

And the Award for "Most Experienced Aunt" goes to...

With the addition of Farm Wife’s new Bitsy into the family, and in the tradition of Farm Wife’s animal count, I thought I would stop and do my own tally. Mine, however is the tally of nieces and nephews. Sad to say, I cannot just come up with this number off the top of my head. I actually had to plot a crude graph on paper and put tally marks under all of husband’s siblings and mine. Here goes:

Husband’s Side:

3 Nieces
3 Nephews

3 Great Nieces
4 Great Nephews

My Side:

12 Nieces
9 Nephews

17 Great Nieces
12 Great Nephews

1 Great-Great Niece

Grand total of Nieces and Nephews for Husband and I ………..64 !! Plus, I am pleased to say that one of my nieces is expecting in late November! We might even hit 100 before you know it!

I think I should have a new title, like Most Supreme Aunt, or Greatest of All Aunts, Most Experienced Aunt. Surely there is a title more fitting to be had than just “Aunt”.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Fruits of my labor

This is the earlier described dining room table and my newly designed dining room to accomodate my church pew which was a birthday gift from husband a couple of years ago. My sister decided we should actually use it for seating.

They sure are cute when they are little

I know these creatures can be a gardener's nightmare. However, when youngest son found this last night before mowing, we sure did enjoy it for a few miutes before releasing it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I am not a good stripper

Well, let me explain.

For the past week I have been working on our antique dining room table. It was getting quite sad looking and needed sanded, stained, and a few coats of polyurethane. I was getting along peachy until I noticed that one half of the table lacked the luster and shine of the other half. Panic set in and I was about to wonder if I had messed the table up forever. Thanks to the wise counsel of a brother-in-law and my friendly neighborhood paint store I am now well on my way to a beautiful table. For those taking notes, I believe you should always do business with the neighborhood father and son businesses when possible. My particular guys are brilliant when it comes to anything pertaining to wood or paint and have saved me on several occasions. Some may think that the prices in these small stores are too high compared to the “mega-marts” out there, but you will never match their knowledge and customer service. The man GAVE me enough of a product to use which was the remedy to my problem. Last week he worked until he could blend a stain color, which matched my antique table exactly.

So, thanks to those smarter that me, I am learning to strip, and re-finish, and eventually my projects will be completed.

Friday, June 22, 2007

EXTRAordinary life

It has been hard to come back to blogging after experiencing the pain that my friend has gone through this last week. I feel guilty knowing that my life has changed little in the last week, while hers will never be the same.

I will say this; we all take way too much for granted. Part of me thinks that my everyday life is not worthy of writing about; while another part of me now realizes that my everyday life is not only worthy of writing about, but also worthy of celebrating. We all need to come to this realization and enjoy every part of our lives.

I have had a good week. I have spent each day with cherished family or friends. The events of this past week have helped me to realize just how important those moments have been.

Sunday was Father's day, and while my own Father has been gone for many years, I have an incredible relationship with my Father-in-law. We spent Sunday at their house and were reminded of the gift we have been given. My husband has always had a precious relationship with his parents and I am bleessed to have married into this.

On Monday night I went out to eat with my amazing group of girlfriends. How fortunate I am to have this circle of friends. We are not able to get together often, yet when we do, we have loads of fun. The eight of us all belong to the same church and share our faith. We are truly sisters.

Tuesday afternoon, I spent lying on a raft in the pool of one of those friends. Just soaking up some sun, catching up on family, and laying aside the cares of this world.

On Wednesday, My sister, brother, and sister-in-law came to visit. I do not get to see this brother and his wife enough. Every time I do though, I am reminded of the miracle in his life. He is a heart transplant recipient. While he is nearly 70 years old, his heart is much younger. He recently celebrated his 7th "birthday". The four of us met another brother for lunch and had a wonderful visit.

Thursday found me having lunch again, this time with my dear friend and co-worker. She is the teacher in the class where I assist. I have been truly blessed by being able to work along side of her for the last 10 years. Not everyone can be as lucky as I to be able to not only get along with, but to cherish the person you work the closest with.

Then, on Thursday afternoon my friend Chrissy came to visit. We just sat for an hour and a half in my living room talking. She has a long road ahead of her and I still ask for prayers for her. I am reminded every time I am near her what an amazing young woman she is.

Today, Friday, I spent the morning with my husband and youngest son going to yard sales. Okay, I know that is not for everyone, but it is something we like. There seems to be buried treasure waiting to be found, and we enjoy the thrill of the hunt.

This evening, his best friend from college is spending the night; we all went out to eat. I love it when my boys have friends over. I try to spoil them and make them feel truly at home.

Tomorrow, I will travel the one-hour to my sister’s and to go to a ladies’ brunch at her church. I will also get to see my niece and spend time with each of them.

You see, I am so very blessed. God has put incredible people in my “ordinary” life, and spending time with them will never seem ordinary again.

Now, I realize that we are not always able to have a week where we are free for lunches, visits, lounging in a pool or trekking around to yard sales. I also realize that my having the summer off from work makes this type of week possible. I just ask that when these moments present themselves that you intentionally be in the moment. Enjoy the company of those dear to you while you can.

I urge you all to take stock of the relationships you have in your life. Make it a point to spend time with those you can, and to call those you can’t spend time with. Do not take anyone or anything in your life for granted.

I also must take advantage of this moment and ask that you also take stock of the relationship you have with the Lord. If this most important relationship is not where it should be, then do what you can now to make it right. I know that it is my relationship with God that enhances all of my other relationships. He makes my “ordinary” life extraordinary!

Friday, June 15, 2007

For Chrissy with love

Tonight was an extremely sad night. We spent the evening at the funeral home for an 18-year-old young man. Seeing the pain in the eyes of his mom, dad, and sister was something that will be etched in my mind for a long time. More than possibly 100 schoolmates came in groups of 3-5 into the funeral home. Big burly boys were reduced to tears in a matter of minutes. They just stood for over an hour, almost a huddled mass of teenagers; silent and staring, and then every few moments, breaking this silence, someone would erupt into deep piercing sobs.

In another room a video played on a loop to repeat throughout the night. Images of this young man’s life were visible for all to watch. Eighteen years compressed into a few minutes. Those that knew him would laugh, cry, and remember him well. Those who never met him, but knew the family, would watch and wish for more. Wishing for the lost chance to know the boy behind the photographs.

My eyes would sometimes gravitate over to where the mom was standing, and at times I did not know what kept her on her feet. Then I would see the daughter, holding her mother's face in her hands and comforting her. This daughter worked the room, being brave and strong and supportive for everyone, for her mom, for her dad, and for her brother's best friend. She is an amazing girl. Some might wonder what is it that keeps her going? But I know the answer to that one. She is totally and completely in love with Jesus and it just oozes out of her. She is just doing what Jesus would do, what Jesus did do actually, because even with His own heart breaking at the death of His friend, Lazarus, Jesus comforted others.

I am so fortunate to have her in my life. You see, she is one of “my” girls. Most every Wednesday night during the school year, she was one of the girls who graced my home with her wisdom, her passion for the Lord, and her laughter. That infectious laughter is silent for the moment. She has suffered the terrible loss of her only sibling, her brother. He was just a little over a year older than her, and they were best friends. She loved him completely and unconditionally.

When I lay down to sleep tonight I know my mind will be filled with images of this evening. Of grief in a room so thick you could nearly see it lingering in the air. Of teenagers facing the horrible fact that death does not care if you are eighty or eighteen. Of a mother and a father grieving so deeply in the loss of their firstborn, their only son. Of friends searching for the right words and realizing that there are no right words. Of hugs that were so tight that you knew they were not only hugging bodies, but hugging their souls as well. And, of a girl, much too young to suffer such a loss.

My mind will be filled with prayers for this family as well. I ask you to pray for them also. Tomorrow morning they will see this boy’s face for the last time on this earth. They will say their goodbyes and their tomorrows will never be the same. They will need strength from many and the boundless love of God to carry them through.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Summer Job?

I love summer.

I am off work, but in many ways I work harder.

I have started right in this morning doing all sorts of things. So far today I have:

~Woke up early with husband, fixed him some toast and saw him off to work
~Made the bed.
~Ironed 8 pieces of my clothing (Last week I re- configured my closet and added a lower bar- twice the room for clothes, and since it is all fresh and nice inside with new paint I am motivated to keep my clothes nice as well.)
~Started the dishwasher...boy, that was hard work- ha!
~Walked outside for 25 minutes
~Put two coats of polyurethane on my newly re-stained dining room table (it was getting ugly looking. Third coat will go on later today.
~Watered all my plants
~Washed the car, only to discover there is a problem with a rear window, it has fallen and can’t get up! (Nice thing to discover when you are washing the car!)

Soon, husband will be home for lunch, then I am going out to lunch with girlfriends, and afterwards I am taking 5 skirts that I can once again wear to Mother in Law’s house. She will help me mark them because I have decided I no longer like the long skirt length. I am just too short. I am going to have them marked just at the knee, but not over.
I love it when I am highly motivated!

** Just to let you know, oldest son is doing great in Amsterdam! He is meeting lots of people and doing great things. This is just what he needed to get out of his shell a bit! He was thrown in with a bunch of kids near his age and no one knew each other. It is easier for him to meet people like that when they are all "equal" and no cliques or groups are already established. Continue to pray for him. I am praying that he is having the time of his life and that God stretches him in many ways. I do wish he would email some pictures or update his sites. So far, I have no proof that he is really in Amsterdamthough, he could be in New Jersey for all I know!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Girl's Day Out

Today I traveled the one-hour drive to my hometown to visit my sister and my niece, who is expecting her first child. We spent the day first going to resale shops, because we are all bargain hunters and are trying to make the most of our money. At two shops I managed to purchase a total of 5 items. Now that both my sister and I have lost weight, shopping for clothing is once again fun. Well, except for the fact that we are so close to the same size right now, that it makes finding the best bargain a trick. Especially when you both spy the same item at the same time. Finding a top for 3.49 seemed like a fantastic buy. It was a fantastic buy, until after our tasty lunch when we went to Kohl’s and found that their clearance sale blew the resale shop’s prices out of the water. Tee shirts for $2.40, before an additional 15% off, and slacks for $3.60! I am quite happy right now at the amount of clothing I purchased with very little damage to our budget!

It was a good day: good shopping, good lunch, and good visiting. These past few days have been full of wonderful visits with family that I just do not see enough. My summer is turning out just fine. I am missing oldest son though while he is away, but I am so happy for him that it takes the edge off.

Youngest son is in a happy place right now as well. His new computer speakers arrived today and provide quite a nice sound. He is working this summer with his dad, but really needs an additional job.

Well, a short post for now, but I at least am posting. Must figure out supper.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Remember me?

I am the world’s worst blogger. I did start with good intentions. Maybe now that school is out (did you hear me scream yippee?) I will do this with some regularity.

So, at this point the major events that I had been awaiting have passed. Oldest son has graduated college, actually walking in the ceremonies from two colleges on the same day, and receiving two degrees. The graduation party was wonderful with many good friends coming to see him and wish him well. He also has left for his trip to Amsterdam. We took him to the airport on Tuesday, and while I held it together during our goodbyes, I did start crying immediately afterwards. Ironically, God provided a diversion though when we got lost in the airport as we were trying to leave. And I have only cried once since then. The communication age has been a huge blessing though, as we have emailed a few times and instant messaged as well. He is doing well, adjusting to his position and is anxiously awaiting a bike, which will be provided for him when one is available.

Youngest son is home for the summer and has worked hard to get his room just how he likes it, including all 300 plus books which he has collected. Somehow my boys have acquired the collecting gene, which is not necessarily a good thing when you long for less clutter. Although, I am not really referring to their collections as clutter.

So, please hang in with me. I will get back into this blogging and just might surprise you all with my words of wisdom.