Monday, September 29, 2008

Directing Traffic

Several weeks ago we took a little road trip, to Chicago, with some friends. This was going to be a fun filled weekend with just grown-ups. And you know what...I absolutely love Chicago so this was like joy two times over.

Last summer we took a white water rafting trip with these same friends. It was the adventure of a lifetime! Let's just say if I had to go through crisis, these friends were the ones to be with!
Let me just give you a brief explanation. Jason had just purchased an older motor home 3 weeks before the big rafting event. Now so that we could all be in one vehicle we thought it might be fun to take this. Jason was skeptical saying, "I don't know how this thing will run but if your up for the adventure I'll do it".
It seemed wonderful we would have a kitchen for our snacks, a bed (However bouncy it may be)for naps and of course a Toilet for well you know what.

The trip out went with out incident. We stayed at our hotel in a small, little sticky town.(this is no lie, the whole town was sticky! Everywhere we went anything we would touch was sticky!) And the hotel was okay except that right at the place I needed to stand at the sink and mirror there was an overhead drip that happened about every oh, seconds, Drip. I found that if I crammed right up to the cabinet I could avoid it almost entirely.
The next morning we took off after our huge breakfast in the lounge which consisted of frozen meat patties and round circles that we thought were supposed to be eggs.
We were on our way up and down the hills of Pennsylvania. On one large hill Jason realized the temperature gauge was going up fast but there was nothing he could do. As we reached the top of the hill he thought he was home free but not today....Today the radiator would blow.
As we came down that hill, 15 miles from our destination we saw lots of steam rolling out of the hood.
God was so good to us that day! I could tell you how it all played out but that isn't really the message of my blog today. Just to summarize a very, very, long day after 10 hours of intense labor by the 4 guys in our group and one very interesting radiator guy named Delegado we had a radiator that worked and we were scheduled to ride the rapids the next day.
We got into the motor home right at dark and guess what 2 minutes later it started pouring down rain!
Sunday..... We would attempt round two. We would just have to get back a little later then expected. We took a different route and YEAH we made it to OHIOPYLE. After signing off that the rafting company shall not be held responsible for any injury or death We watched a video that scared us with some facts about how many deaths there had been in this river and instructions on what to do in the event that our raft should tip. We set out on our big adventure!

This is our friends Ed and Julie with us in our cute little rafting outfits.

This picture was taken right before we nearly drowned to death.

You see we thought we could do this thing. After all our middle school youth had come here the year before and we still see them every Sunday! There is a place in this river called Dimple Rock. The video had particularly precautioned us about Dimple Rock. People get sucked into this large rock and get held under so they absolutely can't get out.

We had a couple kayak's that were serving as our "unofficial" tour guides.
Julie named them "Thing 1" and "Thing 2". We got quite a laugh out of these two fellows who seemed to have just emerged to help us personally get down the river(we must have looked like complete moron's).
They told us that if we happen to dump they will wait at the bottom to help us.

Well here we are rounding the corner to Dimple Rock. The big boys in our boat were feeling somewhat overly confident(i think the word "cocky" may have been thrown around). All of a sudden the water swept us up right against that rock and flipped us upside down in the water.

Some of my thoughts: "I am going to drown, I am going to drown. What if we all drown?! I can't see anyone else, are we all stuck under here? Oh my goodness what about the kids? What if the kids were out here with us? Thank you Jesus they are not here! Oh air! Gulp, I just swallowed a gallon of water! Turn, feet first, feet first, OUCH! I just hit a rock,Gulp, more water, OUCH! OUCH! OUCH! I can't see Jason, oh please God let Jason be okay! Where is everyone? Feet first, feet first".....
When I finally got down into calmer, deeper water here came my little "thing 2" buddy. "Grab on he said I will take you to that big rock over there". I was safe! Here came my dear drenched guy floating up too. I pulled my violently shaking body out onto the rock not before realizing I had peed my pants! (GROSS) I have never felt so completely out of control!

I stood on that rock shaking for at least 15 solid minutes. But guess what? We weren't done ! We still had about a 30 more minutes to go down the river! By the way our friends made it out too. They had surfaced up on top I just could not see them. And our friends in the other raft? They floated through Dimple Rock like 4 champion rafters! We did make it down the rest of the way but I was a little more grumpy and a lot less certain that I was cut out for these Big Adventure trips!
Needless to say there is a certain amount of bonding that takes place in times like these. You know what I mean don't you!
We decided to make this an annual event. And that takes me back to the beginning of my original story. Back to Chicago... We planned on going to Chicago for 2 nights. We wanted to go to a White Sox game, take a sunset tour of the city, on bikes and then play a new game called Whirley Ball.(This is a game of bumper cars, little la cross nets and basketball hoops combined...Try it sometime-it's a Hoot!)

We took off on Friday afternoon so we could get into the city in time for Dinner. As we were approaching Chicago we had to cross the skyline bridge. The van we were riding in suddenly lost power.

Now let me remind you, we are on a bridge, in the fast lane, and there is no shoulder on either side. Cars are just flying.

We get 3/4 of the way up and the van stops completely. Of course we have flashers on but we can't get off the road. Here we sit, essentially waiting to be smashed from behind! Ed said "I am getting out of here". So that's him in the picture directing traffic away from our van.

Jason and Conrad got another fuse out and put it in. Within 5 minutes we are moving. But as we got to the top of the hill we lost power again. At least we could coast now, and that's what we did right down into the toll plaza McDonalds. Safe!

You know what?? Those guys tried three more fuses and they would just blow. That first one was the only one that worked! Does that smell like a mighty hand of protection to you? It really did to us! Jason talked to a mechanic from home who walked him through some steps and my husband "The mr. fix it guy", made that van run! We could still have a wonderful weekend!

As I was looking at the picture of "Directing Traffic" again this week. It hit me that this is what life can feel like. Sometimes I am just speeding along and then suddenly without warning I am brought to a screeching halt! It's in these times I am really tempted to :
1. Be afraid
2. Be jealous of the people that seem to still be cruising past me.
3. Go into self pity mode and wonder Why me?
God has a way of shaking up my world. Of stretching me and making me ask questions that didn't seem all that important before. It Makes me realize how much I need him. And shows me that I am not sufficient on my own.
God also loves me and protects me from the impending danger. Even if it doesn't always turn out like this story did. He knows what's best for me. His greatest desire is to see me in close relationship with if I need an emergency stop now and then, I just need to realize; He is still in control.

We went on to have a great time together. Here are a couple more shots of the weekend

Here we are at Ed DeBevick's later that, nothing like coming to a joint that is intentionally rude to you. Conrad,Deb,Dawn,Ken,Ed,Julie,Me and Jason

And the White Socks from a birds eye view...

And here are Ed and Jason on our night tour of the city...The strong warrior, Body Builders that they are.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Its my party and I'll smile if I want to

So the day was perfect. It was just as I hoped. Malaina was excited to see everyone arrive. Especially her cousins. She loves her cousins. They are her best friends. I am so glad she has been so blessed with cousins on both sides whom she shares so much in common with.

We ate our fajitas and candy....too much candy! Isn't that a requirement at a birthday party? My kids think so. The evening was mixed with emotion for me. Going back and forth between I am so thankful for my precious little girl to I can't believe I am really hosting a party for my "teen".

This is Malaina's grandpa. He has given Malaina a legacy to follow. I respect him so much. He has been a stable rock all my life. Even when life didn't always happen the way he expected he handled himself in a way I can look up to. I am glad Malaina has a father who she too can look to for stability. Here she is sharing a hug and some tears with her daddy.

And here we are praying our prayers of blessing over her sweet head.

What a wonderful privilege to have a daughter who really wants to do what's right. I look at her and can't believe how lucky I am to have her. Not that she's perfect. But she really hasn't given me trouble. In fact sometimes I think she handles certain situations in a more positive way then I do. I remember when she was just a wee little girl people used to be amazed at how she could talk. She would memorize Bible stories off her tapes and quote them word for word in front of church. If you would have asked her back then what she wants to be when she grows up she would have told you " a prophet". And as she has grown so has her love for Jesus. There is an authenticity about her love for God and others that is just so amazing.

I know that she will be someone great! Not because of the profession she chooses or fame but because she loves to serve. She used to play with her brothers these little make believe games and you know who she always wanted to be? The servant...That always amazed me!

Well, let's usher in young womanhood.....but still I see some of the little girl in there. I probably always will right?

Here is a song I wrote for her:

Dancin' and twirling stealing my heart. You are my little girl.

Makeup and barbies, ribbons and bows,

Giggles and sunshine you are.

But that's not all

You are so much more!

You are beautiful from your head to your toes

From the inside out, you are beautiful

and no one else can take that away.

God gave you a heart that is beautiful.

Softball and soccer, readin' and praying

make believe games that you play

You're growing so quickly into a lady

Into a woman of Faith.

Know that you are loved,

Where ever you may go.

You are beautiful, from your head to your toes

From the inside out, you are beautiful

No one else can take that away

God gave you a heart and it's beautiful


what you do does not define how special you are

a masterpiece a grand design, you're lovely in His eyes.

You are beautiful, beautiful you are!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Coming of Age

This weekend we will celebrate my sweet Malaina's "coming of age" party. Jews have Ba MIT's Va's but my family has a tradition of our own.

Thanks to my big brother Jim and his lovely wife Shirley who have paved a way for us. Everyone comes with a letter written to the pubescent birthday person. It is a letter of encouragement, Blessing and usually involves a Bible Verse. Everyone reads their letters, and then we gather round and lay hands and pray for the child.

It is really a neat tradition and I am so thankful I had such great models to follow.
I think it is especially wonderful that during the fragile days of Jr. High and High School Malaina will have something tangible to look back on and feel loved.

Of course there is always food involved. Malaina has chosen Fajitas, and all that goes with them. Instead of a cake, she would like homemade cookie,ice cream sandwiches.

We will pray for no rain because we are quite a tribe when we're all together!

grandma,grandpa and 17 grand kids

Monday, September 22, 2008

Church camping

What a weekend. What a life! I feel blessed beyond imagination to be surrounded by such a great community of people! We had such a good time with the rest of you campers this weekend! I will be honest, I am not always so jazzed about BIG group camping because... I don't know just because but this year I just loved the time we had with all of you! I was doubly excited when our good friends Ed and Julie showed up (no one told ME they were coming...I guess I need to be more persistent in my questions) Here are our girls together.

I was most amazed and impressed by all the families with young children. You guys Rock! I mean how brave is that to bring babies and toddlers when everyone knows you would have had a most legit excuse to stay home. I applaud you, you get the medal of honor!

And good for Sophia, she learned to ride her bike all by herself this weekend. She had been practicing this summer until she scraped her knee one time, and then it was all over. But she most courageously tried again right before we went home on Sunday...Yeah Sophie!

The boys had a wonderful time chuckin' acorns at each other! "You boys better be careful, someone could lose an eye!"
We came home with two new friends:

Slow Fannie and Steady Freddy,

These are Micah's pets.

Camping has become much more simple since these guys are more independent. Maybe that's why I enjoy it more. I don't feel the stress of making sure they are safe and not plunging in the lake. Maybe this is the bonus of this season of life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Sophia with her new teacher

Sophie: "Mommy,I was thinking that if you want me to stay home with you sometimes we could just tell my teacher I am sick".

Me:"No honey, that wouldn't be honest".

Sophie:"What does honest mean?"

Me:"It means we don't tell the teacher we are sick if we aren't, but thanks for looking out for me".

Micah and Sophie like to out smart each other with riddles.
Sophie : "Why do people live in houses?"
Micah : "ahhh, because boxes would be uncomfortable?"
Sophie very smartly:"no, because its too cold outside".

To everything there is a season. Ecc 3:1

I met this really great guy in Ohio and we were "friends" for almost a year. We happened to live beside each other and I happened not to have a car so he took me for rides in his car. We fought a lot back in those days, you know, the flirting kind of fighting. He was ruthless and I never thought we could be more then car mates (just ask my roommate). But we ended up falling in love. Do you remember when your hands touched for the first time-the tingles up the spine! Or how about your first kiss? I thought I might pass out! The eyes, we could just say everything with our eyes!He was so charming! SO Cute! What's a girl to do? I knew it was the real thing after our first real "fight". I really wanted to break up with him and move on but I knew that if I did he would never come looking for me - he was too sure of himself. I didn't think he needed me that much! I knew I couldn't live without him.
We married and in 18 months we were expecting our first baby. Malaina came into the world in September. This month 13 years ago that precious face made her entrance and I became a mommy. Several thoughts that night...This is not a short term arrangement;She is the most beautiful baby ever; she will be walking down the aisle in no time at all(in fact Jason woke up in the middle of this particular sobbing fit). We brought her home and I remember just holding her for hours and staring at her face, listening to her breathe. Afraid to blink. I also remember lots of sleepless nights rocking her,humming,praying my breasts would quit hurting!! Life had changed for good. And Somehow I felt complete.
We moved to Louisville,KY when she was 6 months. While there we proudly added little Jalen to our family. I remember thinking "Whew, the pressure is off, I've got Jason his boy". What a fun time in life this was. A 2 year old and baby boy. Everything was new, exciting,and I savored the time with these two little people. Jalen was such a great baby. Slept through the night by 5 weeks. He smiled constantly! I wore hats on him a lot mainly because his head was large, bald and one ear had a mind of its own(just like his mamma's)Life was good...
I missed home a lot though, so after 2 years we moved to Indiana. That was 10 years ago.
Our second Sunday back we attended the church that we still attend today. The church was brand new. So there were lots of ideas and learning curves. We have gone through our ups and downs, struggles and victories. We believe this is what God has in mind for us. We love the people at our church. The first Sunday I was there I remember feeling like I was home. My thoughts on this: Church is not for perfect people, just fallen, broken, people who realize they need a Savior.

Jalen was 7 months when we moved back. We always wanted 4 children and within a year and a half we had our big boy Micah. This was the most emotional birth for me because with the first two I had been heavily sedated. Micah was a naturallll. He came out red and screaming. The boy knew from the start that the guy who yells loudest eats first. And he ate. For his first 3 years he would eat whatever anyone gave him. His love language was definitely food. Micah started talking at about 2 and he has kept us laughing ever since.
At this point in my life I now had a 4 year old, 2 year old and newborn. I seriously wondered if I could make it through some days. I don't remember a lot of the details of that first year. What happened? I remember someone telling me during this time "Just remember, the days are long but the years are short". How true those words are!
My 29th year of life was shaky...I was so dreading that BIG 30 that I wasn't sure if there would actually be life after it. All my insecurities about myself seemed to surface. All of a sudden a spotlight was turned on and I just had lots to deal with..Yucky stuff that I didn't realize was even lurking. Wondering if I had made a mistake with this marriage and mothering thing. Asking more questions then I had answers for. Wishing I had finished college. Wondering if music would ever play a significant role in my life again.Feeling guilty for my feelings. Yeah, guilt,lots of guilt.
And then guess what, I got pregnant. We had just made an offer on a home in the country. We needed space. I needed space! After 7 months we finally were able to work a deal and we dug into the biggest project of our lives. We ripped our new old house a part. Mostly Jason ripped, I painted, and fell through holes in the floor. Let me just say I had no time to sit around wondering about my life. Sophia was born 3 weeks after we moved in. 5 days 0verdue. Oh my sweet, Sophie. What a blessing after such an emotional pregnancy. We were so pleased. Two of each...No one plans that...She was the delight of all. From the beginning Sophia has known who she is and what she wants. Her name means "queenly one" and she lives up to that name better then any one I know. She did everything first...rolled,crawled,walked she will not be left behind!

And now, 5 years later I am saying goodbye to my baby girl as She skips off for her first full day of Kindergarten. What happened? Now people are asking "What do you do all day"? For 13 years that didn't seem optional for me. Life was centered around caring for babies, toddlers or preschoolers. And now, I have options. Oh believe me, I still spend lots of time organizing their schedules. They just don't need bottles and diaper changes any more. Yes indeed that season has ended. And I have a sting in my heart every time I think of it.

Not only that but Malaina will be a teenager this month. I am waaaaaaay too young to have a teen. Everything seems to be changing again. Isn't that funny how life does that to us. We just get used to our "normal" and then suddenly we have to learn a new "normal". One thing that I take great comfort in is knowing that when everything changes, one thing always stays the same and that is the love of my heavenly Father. I am so glad he isn't seasonal!
I wrote this song the week Sophie left for school.

On Christ the Solid rock, I place my confidence
when all around is shaky ground, and nothing is secure
Here I will take my stand, knowing I am in the hands
of the one who will never let me go.

And like the flowers of the field that fade away
seasons will come and then go
There is only one thing that always will remain
the love the Father has for his own.

When I am tried by fire, when disappointment, grief and loss
seem too much for me to bear.
Then I will reach for you, you hear my cry for help
You rescue me, and restore my hope again.

Just like the flowers of the field that fade away
seasons will come and then go
There is only one thing that always will remain
the love the Father has for his own.