Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Our 2009 Christmas Letter

The following is this years Christmas letter, just in case you won't be getting a Christmas card from us this year. I finally got my cards sent out on Monday. Nothing like waiting til the last minute!


December 2009

Greetings of Christmas and New Years!

I often laugh at myself when I sit down to write our Christmas letter. I am always running behind during the holiday season. Here it is the 19th of December and we just yesterday began our Christmas shopping and I am just now writing this letter to all of you, our most loved friends and family. Which, of course, is why I included a New Years greeting above. It's all due to either over working or tardiness. Narrowing it all down to which the blame is deserved, is entirely too much guess work...

What a wonderful year here at our house! Many ups and some downs. A rollercoaster year for sure. Our son Joshua turned two years old in October. He is not one to bore his audiences. He is always talking and getting into "man" things. Josh can typically be found with one of several things in his hand: a flashlight, a screwdriver, a truck or a pen. This summer he so lovingly drew a mural across my lower kitchen cabinets, which caused a flurry of Internet research to find a way to remove permanent marker from wood. Thankful I am for toothpaste... It just so happens to be a "cure all". A little scrubbing and a bit of elbow grease removed most, if not all, remnants of his artistry. Joshua's speech continues to astound not only Adam and I, but other members of our family as well. He has an almost complete range of vocabulary and can carry on a nice conversation with us. So, if and when you come and visit, please season your speech with salt and keep in mind that our small child can and will repeat every word he hears you speak. Another thing people find fascinating about Josh is his size and weight. Yes, he weighs a ton. And yes, he is in the 95th percentile on the growth chart. He also will tell me at times, "I have big hands." Which he does. Our most current struggle with Josh is food. After eating anything and everything for the past two years, Josh has decided that he doesn't like supper. We are currently using several different means of manipulation to get him to eat without complaining or saying, "Me no like it." Don't you worry. I have already stated that Josh is plenty healthy and will not starve due to our manipulation tactics. We are also working on potty-training. If I could get complete family support, I think he could be diaper-free (daytime) by New Years.

Adam continues to work for LMC out of Avon, NY. Heating and Air Conditioning is his cup-o-tea. To me it is just pipes, vents and a lot of hot air. That's why I leave it all to him. He drives a company van here and there and tries to get home in time for dinner. This year, during his spare time, Adam refinished a room in our basement. He drywalled, painted, put down laminate flooring, and redid the stairs, with a bit of help from my Dad and a pinch of help from me. I was more than happy to do the tiling around the wood stove but I have yet to finish painting the stairs. Maybe by Christmas.... (ha-ha)

This past April, Adam and I were hit by a drunk driver while driving to Nashville. We ended up rolling our SUV and totaling our vehicle, leaving us stranded just outside of Louisville, KY. I believe God uses times like that to draw you, not only closer to Him, but closer together as a couple. God was so good to us and protected us through the whole incident. We walked away with four staples in Adam's head and 33 stitches in my forearm and, after renting another vehicle, we continued on our way to Nashville. Many thanks to our family and close friends for your prayers over the course of that weekend.

Another highlight of the year was the ten day missions trip I was privileged to take part in this summer. A group of nine from our church flew to El Salvador to minister to a group of boys and various area churches. It was amazing. We passed out gospel tracts to nearly every person we saw on the street and taught Bible stories to the kids who attended the after-school program at the orphanage where we stayed. I was so blessed and God is still using the experience to work in my heart.

This year also brought to pass the most difficult thing I have ever had to endure, which is saying good-bye to someone I love dearly, though it be only temporary. On September 28, my dear Grandpa went to be with Jesus, after being diagnosed with lung cancer only four weeks prior. Those last four weeks were, and will be forever, so precious to us. We soaked up every moment we could with Grandpa and he continued to shower us with stories and wisdom and his favorite scriptures. The night before he died, I whispered in his ear that if I didn't see him again here, I would see him there (meaning heaven) and he answered in a resounding, "Yes!" The first thing he had been able to say for several hours. What a comfort that is to me. I'm looking forward to our reunion someday.

So there you have a brief synopsis of our year. May the next year have more ups and more glorious meetings with my Saviour. I love my Jesus dearly and I pray that this year you will grow to know Him like you never had before. He is the true reason why we celebrate this Christmas. Because of Jesus, I can confidently assure you that I will see my Grandpa again, though not on this earth. Because of Jesus, I am free. My debt is paid, because of a little Child born so long ago. May God bless you all in the up coming year! Good wishes from us to you!

With all our love,

Adam, Bethany and Josh

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fascination

Josh loves Christmas. He doesn't know what it is about or even Who it celebrates. He is unaware that he has Christmas presents waiting for him in the closet. He doesn't know that we will go to our Grandparents house and spend precious time with family. But Joshua does know that the Christmas lights decorating our neighbors' houses are beautiful, that the Christmas tree is stunning when the lights are on (and that they should be on during every waking hour), and that Jingle Bells, Frosty the Snowman, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer make good dancing songs. This December is going by very quickly and although I haven't had much time to do extra special things, the special Christmas things we have done have been fun. Cutting down our Christmas tree together as a family and then decorating it, driving through town admiring the Christmas lights, and listening to the festive songs on the road. Josh has taken it all in with amazement and enjoyment. With the joy and wonder of a small child.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Workin'

"Where are you going?" "I'm going to work."

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Have A Seat

Last night, we had our friend Mr. "H" over for supper. His family is in NJ, in the process of moving back to NY, after being gone for 6 years. Mr. "H" was my youth group leader growing up and father to one of my bff's . We figured he could use some company for supper, especially since eating out by one's self, would get old quick. Josh thought he was pretty good for playing with. This is how Josh thinks: After supper, Josh took Mr. "H" downstairs where he showed him his cars. Josh says, "You wanna play toys Mista Hista?" "Okay, I'll play cars," replies Mr. "H", standing over Josh admiring his cars from a distance. Josh says, "You wanna sit down Mista Hista?" He was pretty sure Mista Hista made a cool guy to play cars with.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Potty Talk

Potty-training... I didn't know those words could make me smile so broadly. Josh has been wonderful this week. I really am thinking he may be diaper free by Christmas. He has stayed dry almost all week! I am amazed... For a while there, it would seem like he would go a day or two really well, but as soon (literally within a half-hour) as I put a pull up on him, he would pee in it! It was rather frustrating. Well, the same thing happened this past Monday, and I had had enough. I decided he was going in underpants so he would really know the difference of being dry and being wet. He did okay for about an hour or maybe even two, but then he let loose all over the floor. And not just a little bit. And boy, did I make a big deal out of that pee. (Really, I expected it to happen, but he needed to know that it was not okay anymore!) Since that day, I could count on one hand the amount of times he has had a wet diaper/pull up/underpants. He has even stayed dry at least two nights this week. Now I have to figure out how to get it into his head, that he needs to poop on the potty too. This is a harder task, I think. Any suggestions? Josh has been so pleased with himself that he has been a big boy this week. He loves how it makes everyone happy. Daddy is happy, Momma is happy, Uncle Joe is happy, Cat is happy, Gramma is happy, Lange is happy... (Yes, this is his list of happy people.) I will be so, so happy when my little, uh, I mean big boy poops on the potty too. To think that it has been almost a year since he first peed on the potty... Last Christmas day. (I know, that makes it really easy to remember.) What a big boy he is getting to be. *smile*

Visiting Friends

A couple Saturday's back, we were able to meet with some good friends of ours from Binghamton. I've been friends with Stephanie since we went to summer camp as kids, but we don't see each other often since we live three hours away. But they were in town over Thanksgiving, so we met up that weekend, with our little families to spend some time together. After some lunch at Applebee's, we went to the mall to go window shopping. We had to stop in front of the giant Christmas tree for a photo op. I wish we lived closer so our boys could be best buddies growing up, even if they are a year and a half apart!!

Midmorning Madness?

It seems I am always a week behind, but I wanted to write all about my Thanksgiving weekend adventures. This is the very first year that I have ever gone "Black Friday" shopping. My friend Emily convinced me to go out with her early, early in the morning. I got out of bed at 2:40am in order to meet her at her house by 3:45. (She lives 20 minutes-ish away.) That gave me enough time to shower and feel like a real person before leaving home. The plan was to get to the outlet mall at 4 am, between the midnight rush and the morning rush. It worked like a charm. There were people, but not the mobs of people you typically hear about on "Black Friday". There were good sales and I would definitely do it again next year. We hit Old Navy first, before I made the rounds to the little kid clothing stores. I was able to get Josh several things he needed and even a few things for myself (and Adam too). The excitement of going out early, in the dark, to go Christmas shopping was the most fun. Made me feel young and rambunctious again. :) Too bad I didn't get a photo with me in it. Then again, maybe it's better that way...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful Thursday Thirteen

I haven't done a Thursday 13 in eons. But it seems strangely appropriate for today. Can't put my finger on exactly why...

1) I am thankful for my little family. A crying boy and my hard-working hubby. It has been such a blessing watching my little boy grow older this past year. Hearing him learn to talk and want to be more like his Daddy.

2) I am thankful that Joe has been able to stay with us for a whole year now. I have enjoyed getting to know him a bit better and it's nice to have someone around to talk to when Adam is not.

3) Strange as it may seem, I am thankful for the car accident we were in back in April. Not only did God keep us safe, but He also protected everyone who was driving on the Thruway, where the drunk driver was headed when he hit us.

4) In addition to looking out for our immediate safety during our car accident, God had other purposes in allowing us to be involved. We were made aware that Adam had high blood pressure, and since then he has been able to get that under control, and now I have a much handsomer, healthier husband due to that fact.

5) I am thankful that God allowed me to be a part of our church's mission trip to El Salvador. What an amazing experience!

6) I am thankful for the things that God has shown me about myself this year, allowing me to seek Him more and grow in my Spiritual walk with Him.

7) I am thankful for the mini vacations we were able to go on this past year. Places like Nashville and the Adirondack's, not including little day trips to Buffalo. It's good to spend time with my family.

8) Speaking of family, I am so thankful for my many brothers and my sister. For my parents, Grandparents, and my in-laws. And how God has used them to influence my life and help mold me into the woman I am.

9) I am thankful that my brother Jim was able to take a two-month-long sabbatical from MN this summer and come spend time with us. I'm sure he is forever grateful for the time he was able to spend in NY this year.

10) I am thankful for advanced notice. I would've liked more time, but the four weeks He did give us knowing that Grandpa had advanced cancer was blessing so we were able to prepare ourselves.

11) I am thankful for my Grandpa. I miss him so much and I expect tears today. I am thankful for his love for us, his example to us, his hugs, his jokes, his unending love of Jesus, his hardworking nature, his wisdom, his smell... I am thankful for his legacy.

12) I am thankful that Grandpa was so thin, because then I can wear his shirts. I am also thankful for our common love of gardening. It gives us one more thing in common and will help me to feel connected through the years to come.

13) I am thankful that my hope is in Jesus Christ and that heaven is waiting for me someday. I can't wait to see my Grandpa again.

So that's 13 of my "thankfuls". May God bless you all on this Thanksgiving Day! (And remember to be thankful.)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

House-Sweet-Home

Seems that, this week, I have been getting around to it. For instance, I got around to hanging up some pictures in Josh's room. I got around to moving my piano. I got around to washing my window casings with bleach (they were oh, so moldy!). And I also got around to staining the railing and spindles on our basement stairway. Getting all this extra stuff done around the house just makes me feel, oh, so productive! I like it! Makes me wants to get more stuff done. Like last night, I scraped paint of the window panes of the pretty window I want to hang on my wall. This is the next project I am aiming to complete. Making my house more like a home is my goal. Well honestly, my real goal is to actually complete the projects I had set out to do a long time ago. Hello home make-over!
My heart is burdened. It is a sad day in the neighborhood. "Pass me not, oh gentle Savior, heed my humble cry. While on others thou art calling, do not pass me by."

Friday, November 20, 2009

God Knows...

I love God's timing. He sees the whole picture and knows what His children need and when they are going to need it. This week I needed a kick in the pants, but instead God gave me something different.

For the past week, there had been some pretty serious contention in my house. Between my love and myself. It was yucky. I hated it. I hated him. I didn't like him, not one bit. And he didn't like me either. (Face it people. We've been married nearly four years and if you've been married for any length of time, you've got to admit it. There are times when you just. don't. like. your. spouse.) He informed me on Wednesday evening that on Thursday, his Dad needed us to go to Buffalo with him. There wasn't any options. No getting out of it. We were going, even if there were previously scheduled things to attend to. Like worship practice. It's always every-other Thursday. Well, now I couldn't go. *grumble-grumble-grumble* I didn't want to go to Buffalo. Thankfully I held my tongue. Thursday. We drop Josh off at Mom and Dad's house. He's beeping the horn at me while I get Josh settled inside. It's just after 5 and I think Adam is just being a jerk. (Yes, that's the inner workings of my mind when there is contention. Don't you like knowing what a horrible wife I really can be? Aren't you glad YOU aren't married to me?) .The two hour drive to Buffalo was pretty quiet. I think I even dozed off for a while. After all, it was dark and quiet. Perfect for snoozing. Sports Talk Radio was on and that is extraordinarily boring, even if there is a big hype around the Buffalo Bill's head coach being fired. I think I actually felt a little less grumpy after snoozing. (2 points for me...) Adam had said his cousin Kevin, from Orchard Park, had some band thing we were going to. After stopping for some Mighty Taco, we got back on the Thruway. Hmm.... "Is this the way we usually take to Orchard Park?" Adam smirks. "We are not going to Orchard Park." "Where are we going?" "To the HSBC Arena." More smirks. I'm confused."Kevin's band thing is at HSBC Arena?" I'm wondering to myself, are we really going to a Sabre's game? Cause I'm not dressed for that! I'll be cold! (Hockey games are cold.) Adam reply's, "The Rockette's are at the HSBC Arena." "Kevin's playing for the Rockette's?" Sometimes I'm really good at being stupid. "No, Kevin is not playing for the Rockette's." He rolls his eyes. Unknown to me, my friend Wilson had convinced Adam to buy tickets for the Radio City Christmas Show weeks earlier. She had no idea that Adam and I were going to be in serious need of a date night. And not just any date night, a special date night. Boy, was I surprised. And tickled. My husband had bought tickets to an extraordinary show, like nothing I had ever seen, just for me. What a guy! The thick-walled exterior of my heart melted away as I took Adam's hand. Together we ran through the rain hand in hand toward the arena. We weren't too terribly late and as we took our seats the Rockette's came out onto stage. Boy, they were good. True to form, the dancing was in perfect time and choreographed beautifully. For an hour and a half, we sat mesmerized and at the end, the real Christmas story was told. Tears welled up in my eyes. I was so glad they didn't leave out the best part of Christmas. And I was so glad that God knew that I would need some hubby time this week. I am so thankful. And I guess Adam isn't such a bad guy after all...

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Meeting an Old Friend

I wish I was more devoted. Facebook preoccupies my online time. Not that it is excruciatingly fun at the moment. When I declare myself to be in a facebook fast, I blog more. Perhaps I should facebook fast more often?

Last night we moved my piano from Joshua's bedroom to the living room. We redid our basement and took a couch down there, clearing a space for the piano to go into. I very rarely played the piano when it was in Josh's room, but after Josh was in bed last night, I was able to sit down and play for the first time in a long time. I have missed it. I used to play quite often before I got married. When Adam and I got married we lived in an apartment where our neighbor didn't like it too noisy. So I got out of the habit of playing. Yes, my fingers are quite rusty now, as it has been nearly four years since I played regularly. But I plan on sitting down to play much more often, now that it is more obviously situated. I can't wait to get to know those notes again.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Josh's Birthday Party

For Josh's 2nd birthday, I got a little excited and threw a mini birthday party. We had four friends over the Saturday following his birthday. We played games, ate some mac n' cheese for lunch, decorated cookies and played. Well, parents enjoyed watching the kid fun. I wish I had caught a shot of Josh trying to pop a balloon. THAT was hilarious! Enjoy the slide show.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Huff n Puff... The Video Version

So, with some help from my Mom, here's Josh's birthday song from Thursday night. "I'll huff and I'll puff and I'll blow your house down!" Okay, maybe just blow out the candle.

Huff n' Puff

Why can't I upload movies onto blogger? Is anyone else having this problem?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Getting Ready

It's just about that time of night where I begin to feel like turning in. Sleep is creeping into my bones and the urge to lie down and shut my eyes becomes stronger with each passing moment. We saw this little boy at the grocery store a week or two ago and it reminded me of a photo my Mom had of one of my brothers, taken many years ago. He looked so peaceful and sweet, I couldn't help but take a photo of him.

My brain is also tired tonight. I've been thinking all day. We have invited some friends over for a little birthday party tomorrow. Four little children between 2 and 4 are coming over to play with Josh and celebrate his birthday with him. I am trying to get my act together and at least put on a good show of being organized and prepared. The thing that makes it most difficult is that we have been remodeling our basement and it is just about done (with the exception of painting the stairs). My focus has been mostly on getting the basement ready to hold a mini party and keeping it and the rest of the house clean. Our guests will arrive tomorrow at 11 o'clock and before the 11'th hour, I must roll, cut and bake pumpkin cookies and put lunch together. I think it is a doable task, as long as I get enough sleep in the mean time. So, now I shall turn in and hopefully sleep as peacefully as the little boy who slept during his mother's grocery store visit. (Don'cha just want to pinch his fat little cheeks?)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Two Years

Six short days ago it was my birthday. But enough about me...

Today we celebrated two wonderful years. Two years ago this evening, I was lying in a hospital bed with my arms around a new baby, struck with love and disbelief. I was a new Mommy. His name was Joshua. And he was beautiful.

Today he is just as handsome, but so much more boy. He helped me clean the house this morning, in preparation of his birthday celebration. I swept and he vacuumed the dirt piles. He's getting so big... That boy. This evening two sets of Grandparents showed up at our door, one of them bearing an ice cream cake. :) I had made some apple crisp too. Josh was very anxious to see what the packages were all about, especially the one with the truck on top. When I say he's so much more boy, it's because he's all about the boy stuff. Forget about the shirts and underwear that Mommy got for him, it's the trucks and the tools that are the important stuff. Especially the tools. Josh wouldn't go to bed this evening without his new tools. All three of his "real" tools. Saws that work and a real drill too. Boy, he couldn't get into that package fast enough! Grandma Jo and Uncle Andy bought Josh some "rainy day" movies... Bob the Builder and Veggie Tales, two of the town favorites. He'll be singing "Silly Songs with Larry" before I know it... He went to bed singing "Happy birthday to you". Happy as a clam, or rather a big boy.

And then he puked. Gross. Maybe I could blame it on too much cake, if he didn't have a slight fever as well. Hopefully he'll be all good tomorrow, because Mommy has been planning on having a few little friends over on Saturday to play. Oh dear...

I love you Josh! I am so glad that God sent you to us and have been enjoying your company so, so, much these past two years. I don't know what I'd do without you!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A New Dog in the Family

This evening I found myself at the local animal shelter, Lollypop Farm. My In-laws are looking for a new dog and, although I'm not entirely sure why, they are seeking my approval on their new pet. Perhaps it is because I was not very found of their last dog who, in all honesty, was not very fond of me either. And they want our little family all to blend nicely, with no quarreling family members, even if that includes me and their dog. We looked at two different dogs and both times, my Father-in-law looked at me and said, "Well, what do you think?" I don't really like being put in the position of "picking out" someone else's dog for them. After all, what if the one I approve of turns out to be bad? So, I tried to be open-minded about the whole process, while being honest at the same time. One dog made me nervous, with all it's rambunctious bouncing and the other proved itself to be much calmer and more family friendly. Adam had brought Molly along, and after an additional "test for compatibility," we're pretty sure that dog #2 is a match. Bob and Joanne go to pick up their new dog tomorrow and here's hoping for a good companion for them. (P.S. That is a picture of Molly, not the new dog.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Farm Market Sort of Day

I was going to clean my house today. At least that is what I had in mind before I climbed out of bed and found the sky to be, oh so blue, outside today. The outdoors look rather inviting, so I threw any plans I had made to stay in and clean, right in the garbage. I called my Mom and practically dragged her and the girls she babysits to the farm market. It was the perfect sort of fall day for playing. The farm market has all sorts of "playing" things. There is a wooden train, a wooden castle and a wooden big-wheeler. I'm not sure which Josh liked best, the train or the big-wheeler. The sand box was a big hit. I think the three kids (or should I say four?) spent the most time digging in there, making castles and footprints. Josh and I took a walk in the maze with Grandma, but Josh didn't care for the "flowers" that hung low in his face. (The flowers were actually the long grass bending down into his line of vision, which kept hitting him in the face.) I let him lead the way through the maze, and a"maze"ingly enough, we actually found the exit. I am so glad we didn't stay at home all day on such a beautiful sunny day. I really need to make more of an effort to get out in the sun throughout the year. There is so much for us to enjoy around here! And the house can always be cleaned later... Or not. ;)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Ol' Blue

I think I have a problem. I have this favorite pair of jeans... They were hand-me-downs, but none-the-less, I feel as if they have been with me for years. I feel at home and just right when I wear these jeans. But the last time I put them on, Josh took quite a fancy to them. He liked how he could put his hands on my knees and took the time to point out every single hole to me. We counted the holes together... There were six. It seems that each time I put them on, a new hole sprouts across my thighs. *Sigh* Perhaps it really is time to dispose of the ol' blue denim, but when I think of it, I imagine how nice they look under my sleeveless blue plaid dress, or how I need a good pair of jeans to use when stacking wood, or how I wouldn't have anything to wear my purple striped leggings with if I got rid of them, or... Maybe what I really need, is someone to sneak in and throw them out when I am not looking. (No, I am not giving you permission!)

A Birthday Party

A couple weeks ago we went to a 1st birthday party in honor of Adam's little 2nd cousin. The birthday boy gave such a nice party! He played toys, threw his gifts on the floor, plastered his face with birthday cake and charmed all the guests. All in all, it was a nice relaxing afternoon spent visiting relatives, but we were surprised by how much older the birthday boy looked than expected...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Jam is the Thing That I Love Most


"Jam on biscuits, jam on toast, jam is the thing that I love most. I. Love. Jam." (Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban) I think Josh can relate. This was breakfast this morning. And after breakfast, he went right into the tub.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I am a bad blogger. I haven't felt like blogging this week. Maybe I will upload my week-old pictures tomorrow and blog then. We'll see. Keep your fingers crossed.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'll Be Seeing You

He said, "This is the time of weeping, but joy comes in the morning." That was last night. I kissed his forehead and told him that if I didn't get to see him again here, I would see him there. "Yes!" was his reply. That was the most clearly spoken word I had heard him speak all day. I lingered by his bedside, not wanting to leave. I said, "I am going home now Grandpa." His reply, in his usual teasing manner, was, "No, you have to stay with me." He was weak and tired and we could barely make out his words. But his love for us and for his Savior was still evident. I was afraid that last night was the last time I would see him, this side of eternity. It was the last time we spoke to each other. Before I left, I gave him one last kiss and heard him whisper the words, "I love you, dear." Just like always. Jesus came to bring my Grandpa home this morning. We were gathered around him, his wife, his girls, my Dad (as Grandpa put it on Thursday, like his own flesh and blood), a few of his grandchildren. As Grandpa breathed his last, the sun broke through the clouds and came streaming into the window. It's funny how God did that for us. Five minutes later it was raining again. And Grandpa was gone. To be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8

I'll see you there Grandpa. I love you too.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The March of Time

My brain feels empty. Not that I don't have anything to think about. Cause there is a lot on my mind. I have found myself with more spare time these, having let go of my restaurant hours and working every other Friday at daycare. It is a very good time to have "extra"time, with Grandpa being sick. I love being able to go visit my Grandparents on Thursdays and being able to help my Mom watch "her" girls so she can go visit too. Like today for instance. I am here at my parent's house with the two girls she babysits, so she can go see her own parents. I guess Grandpa had a rough night last night. It's hard to know what to think and how to sort out thoughts about his sickness. We know where this road is going, but the journey there is difficult and trying. Please keep him and Grandma in your prayers. They seem to be taking it all in stride. Grandma is strong and she knows that Jesus is waiting on the other side, so she seems unafraid to say good-bye. Grandpa is reflective, speaking always of God and things of God, and of those who have gone before. Yesterday, he made me smile. He and Grandma got talking about this deli they used to go to together, before they were married. Grandpa was describing this sandwich they would eat. "The ham was sliced so thin... Paper thin. And the cheese was sliced thin. The bread was freshly baked. That was the best ham and cheese sandwich..." And Grandma agrees... I had to smile. Grandpa hasn't been able to enjoy food for a while. Of course he hopes that will change. He had a bowl of peaches in front of him which he was poking along at very slowly. Every once in a while, Grandma would say, "You ARE going to eat that, aren't you?" or "Are you going to eat those?" They are such an example to me; loving each other so much for so long. What an encouragement. What a Godly heritage.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Josh and I came into the bedroom one night to find Daddy watching a hockey game on TV. Josh immediately squeals, "Hockey!" And climbs up on the bed next to his Dad. The look on his face clearly demonstrates his excitement. I'm not sure what has caused this fancy of Josh's, but it is pretty funny. Daddy's favorite sport is hockey too. I guess Josh is just taking after his Dad! Although Josh is pretty sure that all sports on TV are hockey... Like tonight's football game. Funny little guy...

Monday, September 14, 2009

A Sense of Accomplishment

Today was a day for accomplishing. I accomplished 80% of my laundry. I accomplished writing a blog. (Actually make that two blogs!) I accomplished vacuuming a couch. I even accomplished grouting my garden chairs! Talk about taking forever to finish a task. Hey, at least I finished this project! And it didn't really take all that long. I mean, I started working on them in June. That was only three months ago. I am feeling good about my accomplishment. I'll have to wash the mosaic tiles once or twice more and then they will be beautiful and hopefully seat worthy. How about a nice pat on the back?

A Long Jumble of Goings-On

What a delicious week it has been. The Friday before Labor Day, we held a family meeting to determine what we were going to do to help my Grandparents, since Grandpa was going on hospice care and was told that they needed someone there 24/7. It was decided that we would all take turns, my Mom, Aunts, and the older cousins. This did put me in a bind though, since I was currently holding two jobs, one at the daycare and also working one day a week at the restaurant. I have for a long time contemplated giving up my weekly hours at the restaurant and being solely backup help. So I had to make the decision. I don't like saying good-byes, but telling myself that I could still go to the restaurant anytime I wanted and that once in a while I would be called on to come in to work, really helped ease my mind. I have worked there for almost 4 1/2 years now, so I have made many friends, mostly old wrinkly folks, and you kinda get attached. But this really opens up my schedule to be able to help my Grandparents and visit them more often. It's amazing how one extra day a week can make you feel so much more at ease.

The daycare where I work reopened on Tuesday, after two weeks vacation. The vacation time couldn't have been more timely, with all that conspired during that time. It was good to be back to work, I guess. The school year has started so our "big kids" have all started Kindergarten and it's strangely quite without them. Josh was glad to see "Lange" again and repeatedly asked to go there on Friday, which is the day I happened to have off last week. He, of course, also asked to go to "Bubba's" house. We had been to at least one Grandparents' house a day for a week straight, so he naturally thought we should go visit again. Who could blame him? I love going to Grandma's house too.

Speaking of going to Grandma's house, that is where we went on Thursday. It was my turn to visit... Weird saying it was "my turn", like we were playing a game or something. I was glad to see Grandpa looking so well and it seems that Grandma had an extra burst of energy. I think she has more motivation, now that Grandpa needs her help. Over the course of the day, I watched Grandpa go from perky, to peakish, back to perky. He slept on and off and had a couple of visitors. I set up Josh's port-a-crib at nap time and while he slept I vacuumed the hard-to-reach spots of Grandma's living room. It was nice to feel useful and it seemed to be a good trade from packing chocolates, which is what I had been doing the previous Thursdays. I am glad to have an extra day now to be able to visit them.

On Saturday, I took Josh to the library. We found a couple puzzles to borrow and I set about trying to locate some materials to help me learn Spanish. To learn Spanish is a goal of mine, ever sicne I went to El Salvador. I typically annoy people with me usage of words, especially if they don't understand me. But I am just a beginner and feel the need to practice my newly learned words once in a while. Anyway, back to the library. I have decided that it is not a fun thing to take a almost-two year old to the library by yourself. Especially since that cataloging system, our library has in place is none-so-helpful. I felt like I wasted a whole bunch of time and annoyed the librarians since it is very hard to watch him nonstop when you are trying to find materials. Next time, I will leave him home. Or maybe I just won't go to the library.

After the library trip, we stopped at our local grocery store. It was a rainy Saturday, late morning and the grocery store was packed. We live in a mostly agricultural area and during the fall season, we see many farm workers come and go. Mostly Hispanic or Hatian. And on this rainy day, the grocery store was a popular destination for many of them. Now, I always have my Spanish tracts (left over from El Salvador) in my purse, for these kinds of reasons, but for some reason, I was feeling a bit nervous and only gave out one. (Stupid me, to miss so many opportunities!) But this young Mexican man wanted to know where the church was. (¿De donde es la Iglesia?) And I had nothing to tell him. I don't know where there is a Spanish speaking church in the area or if there is one, for that matter. But it opened my eyes, to an area of ministry that is completely lacking in our area. Here we have a continual influx of people, who don't speak Spanish, who are here only temporarily for work, but there is no place for them to gather to worship our God. And who is telling these folks about Jesus? And so we may be trying to get our church to translate our service into Spanish or at least have a translator available, if thereis a need. It would have been such a blessing to have been able to tell that man exactly where he could come for church, but God could've just used this to open our eyes to a need. (PS, I don't care if they are illegal, they still need Jesus.)

Ok, so rambling on here. If you've made it this far, kudos to you.Oh, and here are some flowers I bought for myself about a week ago. Aren't they lovely? I think I might just get into the habit of buying myself flowers once in a while. I think it's kind of nice.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Weekend Camping Trip

Over the last weekend in August, we went camping in the Adirondacks. Adam and I had never been camping together before and Josh had never been at all. We were surprised to find out how inexpensive it was to camp and Adam gave me the job of collecting everything we needed. Thankfully my parents had a bunch of camping stuff lying around and we were able to borrow almost everything we needed. We drove up to Old Forge and enjoyed a wonderful time together. It rained on and off, and was very cold at night, but it was sooo fun. Josh really enjoyed himself. He pushed his Tonka truck around our campsite and played in the water dripping from our drippy faucet. We brought Molly along and she loved playing with our neighbors' golden lab. The wildlife was insane... There were deer everywhere in the village. Literally everywhere. Front yards, parking lots, meandering slowly through the road... Totally comfortable with people presence. It was wild. There were bears in the camp. They wandered about at night and if you didn't put everything containing food away in your car, they would finish it off for you. (Like our neighbors' crockpot.) We took Josh canoeing, hiking and mini golfing. He fell asleep during our canoe ride and while we hiked down the mountain. We really had a great time, and although Adam really would like to get a pop-up, I still think there is nothing quite like tent camping. Especially when there is a bear sniffing around outside your tent...

Friday, September 04, 2009

Days of lazy blogging... Or non-existent blogging. And I return with a heavy heart.

Thoughts of him are almost constant. Who is this man, one that I love? Why do so many hold him dear? Why must he go so soon? And who will fill his shoes? He is faithful. He is God-fearing. He is young, but also old. Who will tickle me with their beard? Upon who's knee shall I climb onto, when I get that hankering to draw? Who will always welcome me with a kiss and a hug like he does? Where can I go where I will be so welcome and never be turned away? No one will be able to do those things, quite like this man. He is tall. He is scrawny. He is strong. He is wise. Who will play his banjo for me? And sing to me about fox's, Jesus, Jesse Taylor and trains? Who else could be so excited to hear of my gardening adventures and be so willing to share his own? Who will be my Grandpa, when he is gone? I dread the day when I will have to say good-bye, though it be only temporarily. I know Jesus will welcome him home with open arms and we will be reunited one day. But in the meantime, I will soak up all I can of this man. We may not have many days together, but I will enjoy every minute I can. I will listen with open ears as he recites scripture and to the stories he tells. I will cherish this time. There will be time for tears later. I am grateful that God has given us this opportunity to say good-bye, rather than abruptly taking him from us. I am so grateful. Thank you dear Lord.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sharing My Love

So, I broke my Facebook fast briefly this evening. I had been out for about an hour weeding my garden. (If you had seen my post about my garden, you would think it was about time...) The bugs were just starting to think about coming out for the night, when my neighbor comes out and asks me about my trip to Nicaragua... I correct him on where I had gone and somehow the conversation turned to why I had gone. I love "Holy Spirit opportunities". I also love how the Lord makes it so easy to share the truth with people. Rick, my neighbor, was very unopposed to me telling him about Jesus and why we needed Him. Which I thought was amazing. I had never had the opportunity to share with him before and it all came out so easy! I guess he had grown up going to Catholic school and took the Catechism... But anyway, I think it all came out rather smoothly (thus the "Holy Spirit Opportunity") and I was even able to invite him to church. So, if you all could please pray for Rick... Pray that he will be the first of a mini-revival on P* Rd. That would be awesome. I told you I was excited about what the Lord was going to do. "Lord, may there be many more opportunities for You to use me this week!"

So anyway, I broke my Facebook fast to ask my friends to pray for my neighbor. May God be working in his heart tonight!! And I think that the dozen new bugbites on my legs are a cost well worth it.

On a side note, it is nice to let your ice cream sandwich warm up just slightly, so you can lick the icecream out of the edges.

Facebook Fast

I want to facebook... But I am fasting from facebook. Till Wednesday. It's been hard. Especially at nap time. When the house is quiet and I want just one more excuse to not fold my laundry. Why is it so addicting? This is obviously why I needed to fast from it.

¿Mas Cafe, Por Favor?

I picked up a bad little habit while in El Salvador. I never really had a problem before then. A cup or two once in a while, yes. But not a day after day "I need a cup" problem. I could easily wean myself off after just two days. The headache would more than likely be there, but would be gone by evening. But this is not the case... I feel extra drowsy half-way through the morning without it. The carafe stares at me, just waiting to be filled with water to brew. My head threatens to explode if I don't have a cup. And now, my delicious El Salvadorian coffee is gone and we are stuck with yucky Starbucks coffee. Yes, I said yucky Starbucks. It's just not good. Who will go get me some more cafe de El Salvador? Por favor? In the meantime, I will have to brew some yucky Starbucks...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Denying Myself (Or Trying...)

Have you ever had great expectations that the Lord was going to do something wonderful in your life and the lives of those you love? That is how I have been feeling lately. I know He has been really working in my heart as of late and revealing to me some of the things that need to change. I have felt a desire to get closer to my Savior and I am realizing how very much I need His help. I am pretty sure that over the last month of my life, that my deep need for Jesus Christ to do a major make-over has been almost constantly in the forefront of my mind. I often am left wondering what my Lord is doing. What does He have for me? How does He want me to serve Him and those He loves? Who would He have me to minister to? Where does He want to take me in my walk with Him? I had a revelation this morning about who He wanted me to minister to. Yes, I already knew it, but sometimes the Lord will show you something again and it just takes on a new light. The Lord knows my heart, and how I would love to go to the foreign missions field and give my all for the poorest of the poor. He knows that is my heart. But for the time being, they are not who He wants me to primarily minister to. He has placed me here, wife to Adam and Mother to Josh. If only I would give my all to minister to them, as if they were the poorest of poor, the lost children, the ones who needed to hear about my Savior. To serve them as I would those people in that third-world country. To deny my own desires, my laziness and tendency to be frustrated with "the lack of help I get around here". Would I complain about those things if those I were serving were the destitute or homeless? No, I would not. So I need to serve these two individuals here, like I would any other. So pray for me as I put into practice this"new found" ministry to those I care about most. It is difficult for me to deny myself on a daily basis, when I am tired, have worked all day, and want to rest. The dishes will need washing and Josh will need to be cared for. My husband will ask me to do things I don't really feel like doing. But to serve them whole-heartedly, denying my fleshly instincts, and to give them my all... It will be hard, but the Lord is faithful and will give me strength (Please Lord!). One day down... So many more in store. I look forward to see what else the Lord will do in my family this up coming year. I wonder what He has in store...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Happiness

Having some outside fun... I so enjoy the times when Josh and I can play outside together. He loves swinging and playing on the slide, whether going up or down. These are certainly times to cherish. (Estos son tiempos de abrigar. Abrigar means cherish.)

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Snippets

I set out this evening to write a very "cranky" post about how things should and shouldn't be done in a home. Each sentence started out like so: "In my plight against humanity..." And it continued on to say how the things that I didn't like wouldn't happen. Like how children would eat their suppers, etc., etc. But I think that would be a very ungodly example of discontentment and irrational behavior. So instead I will post about other things...

Like corn on the cob. Fresh picked and tasty. It crunches when you bite it and pops in your mouth, like a mini explosion of goodness.

Or maybe I will post about garage sales. I have plenty of things to put in a garage sale and have been collecting my things to sell all week. My brother and sister-in-law are having a sale this weekend and I am going to contribute to the amount of items they have in their driveway. Perhaps you can stop by their house this weekend and buy our stuff. It would be great and very kind of y0u. Then we wouldn't have to put it away again after the sale.

Possibly I will post about how I am fasting from facebook. I would tell you how terribly I want to get on and see what is going on in the world of facebook friends. Who is commenting on what and who has posted new photos. Has anyone sent me any messages or written on my wall... It's a terrible addiction really, and typically I waste a lot of time on there. But I so want to look...

Maybe I will tell you about the pie I baked this evening. I smell its delicious scent wafting through the house. Rhubarb and blueberry... I know, I've never heard of it either. But that is what I made. No, I cannot give you the recipe, as I didn't follow one. And yes, ask me how it was later and I will be sure to tell you. I hope we have enough vanilla ice cream.

But unfortunatley for all of you, I really don't have much to blog about today. So you will have to wait to hear about all those wonderful things. I have laundry to fold, sometime before bedtime, seeing as it is piled up on top of my bed. I should read the next two chapters in Isaiah... And I also need to investigate the ice cream status before the hour gets too late. So I will have to leave you all hanging, waiting till the next blogging opportunity arises in this little house of mine. In the mean time, God bless you & Dios de bendiga. (I have to get in my Spanish words while I can, you know... Practice makes perfect and I would like to someday be fluent... Another thing I could've blogged about.)

Friday, August 07, 2009

Up, Up and Oh....

Oh Garden, Where Art Thou?

My garden has officially escaped me. I have neglected it and should be called in for maltreatment of produce. During my 10 day sabbatical in July, the weeds grew tall and fierce, the grass thick and impassable, and the peas woody and uneatable. And since the day I arrived home, the weeds have only grown taller and the grass thicker. But I'm still pretty sure you can find something good growing in the midst of the "jungle". Oh yes, there are the beets in between the blades of grass. And one unbolted head of lettuce, left for my fresh crunchy salad. The tomatoes have not yet escaped their cages and the cucumbers are sure to found lying around somewhere... Our yearly garden visitors have not failed us either. Thankful they are for the bean plants that I have sown, much to the chagrin of my spouse, who wishes I hadn't planted so many beans or any beans at that. Maybe next year the peas won't be so neglected. Maybe next year I will stave off those weeds, or the bugs for that matter. Maybe next year the zucchini will produce more than one lonely fruit. Maybe next year the lettuce won't bolt. Maybe next year... Well, in that case I probably wouldn't have planted a garden.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

That They May Know Him

It's not often that a photograph will bring me to tears. But the little group of faces I saw staring at me from my Mother's refrigerator did just that this afternoon. They caught be off guard as I did not know they were hung there and I'm not exactly sure why I suddenly found myself crying, but I was. These were the faces I found staring back at me today and they bring me to where I left off my story...
Little Cesar, abandoned by his Mom and living at the orphanage with his two brothers.
Rudy, who lay in his hospital bed writhing in pain, made the effort to smile for me when I took his photo. Weeks earlier, he had been in a coma and one week after this photo was taken, he was walking in the halls looking much happier and obviously feeling better, though that doesn't take away the fact that he has kidney failure.
Geraldine also has kidney failure. She was shy and sweet and we called her "bonita," as she was very beautiful.
And then there is Charley. We only met him briefly, but he will always stick out to me as a character I wish I had met sooner. He was a spunky old man, as glad as ever to meet us and more than happy to pose for a photo. Pray that he comes to know Jesus.

People that I suddenly care very much for and who will likely always hold a little piece in my heart. I don't know why their pictures brought tears to my eyes. I really don't. Maybe it is because I care about them and they are all people who need Jesus. But then not one of us needs Jesus any more than another person. You need Jesus just as much as Rudy does or as much as Cesar does. They may be lying in their hospital bed dying or have been abandoned at a very young age, but their spiritual need for a Savior does not outweigh yours. Jesus has paid the penalty for our sin. He paid the penalty for the sin of Cesar's mother. If she repented of her sin and asked Jesus to forgive her, He would! He would do the same for you or I, no matter what size our sin(s). All we have to do is ask Him to forgive us and to save us from the penalty of our sin, which is eternal pain and separation from God. Please, don't put off your decision. Decide to accept, follow our Savior and allow Him into your life.

Maybe that is why I had tears today. There is a burden on my heart. A burden for those who are sick, who are alone, who are weak and who are poor. A burden for those who do not know my Savior and do not have the loving relationship that I have with Jesus. A relationship with the God who loves me and created me. Amazing. Life cannot get any better than this. To know that my life is in my Creator's hands. Even if I do not get around to posting about the rest of my trip to El Salvador, know this. That this was the reason I went: That they may know Jesus. May you too, know my Jesus.