Monday, November 22, 2010

Many Things to be Thankful For

One of our 2 wonderful ministers asked me to give a testimony on thanksgiving yesterday as it was Thanksgiving Sunday.  After trying to come up with an equally appropriate Thanksgiving post for heer, I will just share what I shared there yesterday.

One of my most favorite Thanksgiving memories is of eating at a Waffle Hut in Metropolis IL.  We usually spend Thanksgiving with my husband's father and family in Metropolis.  That is quite the drive from here (about 3 hrs).  This particular year we had eaten a quick lunch with my family and headed off as part of a "caravan" with my husband's little brother and family (from Quad Cities - they broke their drive into 2 days).  Anyway, we get to Metropolis, get checked in to our hotel rooms and decide to order pizza for supper.  However, nothing was open.  No pizza places, no fast food, no slow food....nothing.  My sil Michelle and I were frantic trying to figure out how to feed 3 little kids (my 2 oldest and their oldest).  Finally, we got ahold of the Waffle Hut.  I think they thought we were funny with how relieved I was that they were open.  It was late, well after 7 p.m.  I was thankful that they were serving stuff other than waffles.  LOL  The place was busy with truckers and travelers.  A very kind couple at a nearby table spent time entertaining the kids with jokes and quarter tricks.  My oldest boys still remember it. 

We've had a rough couple of months.  Through everything we have a lot of stuff to be thankful for.  Here is just a short list:

1.  our friends  When I thought that my world had fallen apart and I had nobody left, my friends, our friends, were there.  With hugs, kind words, thoughtful actions.  God used the people in my life to remind me that I wasn't alone. 

2.  my husband  Norman is such a wonderful husband.  Patient, kind and loving to me and the kids and throughout this whole situation and before, he has been a testament to mercy and grace.  We are not perfect and I know that he isn't either, but he has shown great strength in the face of adversity.  He is my whole world and I don't know what I would do without him. 

3.  my children  As I said yesterday, some we worked hard to get and some showed up when we were least expecting it, but they are all so precious to me.  Several days in the last couple of months they are the reason that I got up in the morning....their smiles and laughs kept me going.  This stuff isn't easy for them either but they have the ability to make each day a little easier for me.  I believe that God always knows what He is doing when he places children in a family :)

4.  my Father God  The people on earth will fail you, but I have a perfect Father in heaven.  He knows how to comfort me, how to teach me and how to forgive me.  No matter what.  I am thankful that He shows His love through His word and through the actions of others.

5.  my Saviour Jesus  Jesus took all the wrong things I have done and will do; all the pain, suffering and punishment I deserve, and bore it all for me.  That is true love.  I can never repay such an offering but hope to grow more like Jesus every day.

6.  my relationship with God  In trials, there are 2 ways to go, forward and backward.  I believe that God has used and is using our current circumstances to draw us nearer to Him.  I can honestly say that I believe my relationship with God is 100% stronger than it was.  God works through all circumstances and I am so thankful for that.  I don't have to know the future, I just have to know who is with me on the journey.

There are so many other things to be thankful for.  I encourage all of you to look at your lives and this past year (or 2 or 3) and thank God for the gifts He has given to you.  Sometimes you won't even know it was a gift until you can look back. 

Enjoy your family this Thanksgiving.  We have a busy week so I probably won't be posting again until next week.  Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

I Talk Too Much

One of my earliest memories is of my Mom telling me to be quiet.  I was 5 or 6 and had just come home from school.  I asked her when I was allowed to talk.....I had to be quiet at school, on the bus, at the dinner table....when could I talk.  LOL 

The truth is, I was/am a very shy person.  It takes a lot for me to stick my neck out there in social situations and I am by far 100% better than I was.  As a child, social situations literally made me sick.  I can remember going days at school and on the bus where I didn't speak to anyone.  I did have friends, and I did talk to them, but I often felt left out of conversations that they were having with others.  A snide or sarcastic comment from anyone would shut me up for a week.  A cousin told me once that if I couldn't sing the song right, to not sing it at all (in her defense I was singing Johnny Cash and I am a soprano).......I still occassionally doubt my ability to sing (I am not Miley Cyrus by any stretch of the imagination, but I can carry a tune).  Getting in front of people to sing, speak or play flute was the worst kind of torture.

In high school, at a parent teacher conference my freshman year, Mr. Buttemeyer told my mom that I was an introvert and that she needed to get me some help.  My mom didn't see where that was a problem, but she came home and told me I needed to talk more.  LOL  Now my mom seemed to me to be the popular girl in school, always knew everyone and could carry on lengthy conversations with people she had just met.....I envied her swavy in social situations.  Her telling me to talk more was like a cheetah telling a turtle to run just wasn't going to happen. 

But I did try harder.  Acquired myself a larger group of friends made up of many guys.  I find guys much easier to talk to.  If they don't like you, don't want to talk to you, or think you are stupid, they will just tell you.  You don't have to wonder "do they think I sound stupid", "do I look like I just got out of bed"....for the most part they will let you know without you even having to ask.  I still, to this day, have trouble dealing with females.  Maybe it is the comparison factor.  I worry about what my hair looks like, whether my socks match and whether or not I am wearing baby food before I ever manage to say hello.  And God forbid, that she be someone in a tailored suit with pefect hair.....I am already out of my league before I even started.

All this to say, I discovered after high school, when I met dh and his family for the first time, that people believed me to be stuck up.  I was astounded, because I was as far away from stuck up as a person could be.  I would do anything (almost) to be included and accepted.  Apparently I gave off that impression know, since I very rarely spoke.  LOL  It is a miracle I ever met anyone in my entire life.  So I tried harder.  A smile seemed to break the ice often so I used it.  It became easier to make small talk with other people.  I discovered that most people weren't judging me, they were just trying to live their lives as best they could.

My oldest son, Lee, has never met a stranger (neither has dh for that matter).....he drug me out of my shell a little more.  The things I would have avoided doing, he loved to do......the places I didn't want to go, he did, and guilted me into it.  Most people who see me now would never believe that I was so shy as I child/teenager/young adult.  I'm not perfect in my approach to social situations though.  I often ask who will be at a function so I know if there is someone there I already "know" and can latch onto.  If I see an acquaintance in town, sometimes I don't go up and say hi....."what if they don't remember me, what if they don't care to talk to me....etc".  I have these conversations with myself all the time!  And then I think, "what if they were thinking the same things?"  We could have made a connection and didn't.....because of fear!  What a deal that would be. 

If you are a close personal friend.....I apologize.  Not because I don't love you....I do!.....but because I talk.  A lot.  I have a ton of things to say and if you are "lucky" enough to be someone I will freely talk to, you will be the one who gets to hear all the things that ramble around in my brain.  It can sometimes be an ugly place in there!  I also love to listen and want to hear about all the ugly things that are rambling around in your brain. 

Remember when we were teenagers and would just drive around all night talking?  I yearn for those days back....not for the youth or lack of responsibilities, but because of the connections that were made in the sharing of hopes, dreams and futures.  Laughing about some little thing that happened that day. 

I write, here and on facebook, because that is almost like being able to sit down with a cup of coffe/tea/coke/cold beer and talking to you for hours on end.  You share your struggles/hopes/dreams/laughs and I will share mine.  For all the hours I spend writing, what I am really hoping to do is make a connection with someone.  Mainly you :) 

I hope that you have a great day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Another day in the Neighborhood

I could sit here and list off the stuff I managed to get done today but lets suffice it to say that there was much done and much undone :)  I think that is how it goes.  Another day of loving and serving my family is almost over and I have much to be grateful for.

On facebook I and several friends have been listing something every day that we are thankful for.  Today, I was (and still am!) thankful for coffee.  I wrote that with tongue-in-cheek because I have been out of coffee for the past 2 days.  I'm not an addict (yet) but it sure helps me get going in the morning.  Other days my thanksgiving has been directed toward my husband, children and friends......most importantly my God and His word.  No matter our circumstance in life (and ours aren't what we would hope they would be at this moment) there is always something to be thankful for.  I find it helps with contentment to think daily of our blessings. 

Bear ran with me to the post office.  Today a sub for the sub was working.  LOL  Our postmistress was sick and our substitute postmistress is on maternity leave.  So there was a very nice lady that we didn't know working the counter.  She was very helpful with my package.  When we got ready to leave Bear wanted to give her a hug.  He likes to hug everyone.  I told him he would have to blow her a kiss, so he did and a hug too.  He is the sweetest little fella. 

I've been knitting lots lately.  Mostly for sale.  I have some project ideas in my head for some stuff for me and Abby though.  After Christmas I think, when the orders slow down, I will see about getting some of that stuff started.  I have also started a denim quilt for Lee.  I hope to do one for each of the children over the next year.  I love having a creative outlet to express myself.  It is nice, also, to keep my hands busy during stressful times. 

Well, I guess that is all I have to say for tonight.  Have sweet dreams, my friends!


If you want to see persistance in action, please come see Abigail.  This little girl is the picture of persistance.  She has just spent 15 minutes on the living room floor trying to roll over inches from Bear's Bob the Builder crane.  She was trying to reach her binky.  When she finally got rolled over (how exactly she fit in that spot, I am not sure) she decided to play with her plastic rings instead.....but that was her choice and she made it.  I guess after all that work she had earned the right to decide what to play with.

I wonder how persistant I am in doing what God wants me to do.  Often I start out with gusto, but end up with a wimper......I get tired, I can't see the end of the line.  I want results RIGHT NOW and get frustrated working with nothing to show for it.  I wonder how often I miss the blessing of the journey.  I also find it interesting to think that oftentimes at the end of the journey there may be a better toy than the one I began reaching for (just ask Abby).  I've got to keep going!  Keep working, keep reaching and never give up. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Listening to Myself Think

I am dangerous if I get to thinking for a while....real dangerous.  You are lucky that it doesn't happen very often. 

For many years I struggled just to get the basics done and often times wondered what all the fuss was about with colorful curtains, a "dressed" bed, throw pillows and blankets, fancy towels, etc.  I had enough trouble keeping food on the table and clothes clean....there wasn't any money for anything extra.  I always equated "pretty" with "money".  We didn't have money to make or buy fancy throw pillows, or nice curtains, bed sets, beautiful pictures for the walls. 

We still don't have any money and if we do manage to come across some, we tend to spend it making memories rather than on things (or on things to make memories with LOL).  I am learning though, that pretty can be achieved easily with things on hand. 

I am not God's gift to fact, there is a whole nother world above my standard of housekeeping, but in all honesty, I try my best with what I have.  I try to make things pretty and I try not to spend all my time fussing at the kids about the messes.  The messes will clean up sometime....the memories, I hope, will last forever.  It is hard.  Some days I just want to scream.  You can tell when I've reached my limit.  I figure one day, in about 18 years, my decorating.....will be up to some kind of societal standard.  At this point, I don't really care. 

Acquiring things isn't a very good goal to have.  LOL  I am beginning to understand that as I started to pack....we have so much junk.  Some of it is reasonable stuff that we have used or will use in the future.  Some things need to be kept for future generations.  Most of what I have a tendency to acquire doesn't meet any of those criteria though.  I have already gotten rid of loads of stuff and hope to get rid of more....MY stuff :)  I'm trying very hard to leave everyone elses junk alone. 

As I am packing, and grouching, I am trying to think of those pioneer women, who moved everything they needed in a covered wagon......all the food, clothing and household supplies they would need to reach their destination and set up house once they got there.  Can you imagine?  Our favorite saying while packing for a trip is "there's always a walmart if we forget something".  No stores, no way to get things if you forgot it or ran out on the way.  Those women were something!  I believe that most lived happy, fullfilling lives out there with their families....making a future for themselves and the ones they loved.  Maybe you could just drop us out in the middle of nowhere to live in a little log cabin.....make sure to pack our TV, laptop and cell phones please :)

Aren't you glad I don't think very often?  I guess there isn't really a point to this post.  You can call it a "getting to know me" post.  This is how I think.  When I have the time and energy to do it.

Have a great evening! 

Monday, November 15, 2010


Last year, Norman bought me a new queen size mattress set (moving up from a full size).  It was a good purchasing decision because we barely have enough room in our bed now.  The older boys went to 180 Saturday night.  Bear doesn't like to sleep in his and Greg's room alone.  So I wake up in the middle of the night to find on the top 3/4 of the bed (from south to north): Norman, Bear, me and Abby (in her cosleeper - thank goodness).  On MY half of the bottom 1/4 of the bed is Sadie and Tiger.  I had no blankets.  It was cold.  I didn't freeze.  It is a miracle :)

After Norman went to work yesterday I laid back down with the babies to get Abby back to sleep.  It is bliss to be snuggled in a warm bed with 2 babies :)  They are bed hogs though so I got up after she went back to sleep.  I had the honor of snuggling her back to sleep again this morning.  I think that is the best way to start a day.

We ran out of coffee yesterday.....going shopping tomorrow.  So I am indulging in some delicious hot cocoa to warm me tea is brewing for the caffeine later.  The last load of laundry is in the dryer and I am getting ready to take Lee to the bus stop.  Today is a "home day".  I love "home days".  The older I get the less I like to run around like a crazy person.  I remember when I hated to stay home.  Maybe God changed my attitude. 

Lots of household tasks to do today....and lots of playing, snuggling, and reading as well.  I sure do love my kids. 

Have a great day friends!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Life Happens

I'm here :)  Just been busy.

My extended family imploded, causing a lot of issues for us.  By God's grace, mercy and great friends we are making it through.  We are, however, going to be moving.  When we moved in here 7 years ago, I swore we would never move again.  I will never, ever say that again.  I hate to move, with a passion.  We "settled" here....acquired stuff I never dreamed of needing to move.....acquired 2 more children and all their "stuff".....but it is what it is....I will manage and I know we will be better for it in the end.

Packing, or planning to pack has become a part of every day here.  For the most part we have all the seasonal stuff and collectibles packed up and in storage to be dealt with later.  We will be spending Christmas here (I believe anyway) so I am thinking about holiday decorating.  Thinking of new traditions for the kids.  Mentally busy.

Abby moves her walker....and rolls all over the living room.  That is keeping me busy.  Cleaning and decluttering to keep the house ready to "show" keeps me busy.  School planning, playing with Bear, knitting for sale and gifts.....all keep me busy.

I have found, though, that during this time I have found extra time to spend with God, His word and His spirit.  I am learning so much about my God and expectations, my attitudes, my deficiencies and making new goals for myself.  I am so glad that I haven't walked through the last 8 weeks alone....God has been carrying me and has sent others to walk with me along the way.

My little family is so great!  I always knew that, but we have "pulled ranks" and are really enjoying each other, learning about each other......we are here for each other. 

Well, my baby is fussing so I'm going to try to put her back to sleep.  I hope to post more.  Love you, friends!