Thursday, December 31, 2009

Coney Chronicles volume 2

As with most things I start…. Something happened…. And I skipped a year.

The last installment of the Coney Chronicles was written in January of 2008... It is now 2010. ( Well really it is 2009 still, I am getting a head start.)

Much has happened in these last 2 years. I will attempt to re-cap. 2008 started out normal enough, Evan was a Freshman in High School, Tayler finishing her last year of Junior High, and Hunter was in the First Grade. In June, Jody’s sister and her kids moved in with us. It was such a blessing to have them here. In November, my dads memory was becoming more and more of an issue, so they took him to the Dr to see what was going on. The initial diagnosis was Alzheimer’s. By Thanksgiving we knew it was brain tumors, December was his surgery, and my HORRIFIC drive to California. On Christmas Day, we knew we were dealing with Glioblastoma; life altering, cancer.

Christmas 2008 was fun. We tried our best to enjoy the time together and I think each one of us had to consciously put the thought that it might be our last Christmas with dad out of our minds. Dad was very loving and told us all often how much he loved us. January 2009, Jody went back home to Washington to work, and the kids and I stayed in California to help with the beginnings of chemotherapy. He flew down and drove us home at the end of February. Tayler started playing softball right away when we got home, and life pretty much returned to “normal”.

We snuck back down to California for a quick visit in May…The big kids and I were scheduled to go to Mexico City on a missions trip in June (that was canceled due to Swine Flu) Soon July came, and softball was over, and Tayler announced her retirement from the game. She had decided that she was spending more time on softball, than on the things she wanted to do for the Lord.

Evan and Tayler went to visit their dad in September this year. They were in Memphis for the Delta Fair. It is held at their dad’s place of work, and they really love helping out. Apparently they were well loved, and have been invited to come and help again. I think I heard that they were trying to be kidnapped so they could stay….lol…. It warms a mom’s heart to know her kids are liked by the people they interact with.
I was going to go down to California and visit mom and dad for the couple of weeks that the kids were gone. God, however, had different plans. Thing after thing kept coming up, that meant I would need to stay in Kennewick until the kids flew home.

After fighting off a nasty 24hr flu bug, we headed south. Five of us and a puppy in a Taurus. Evan was in the back between the two car seated children. Evan was quite the trooper that trip, I get to occasionally see glimpses of the man/father he will be, when he can be cooped up next to a 2 year old and a 7 year old for 14 hours, all while sitting like a pretzel.

While on our visit, at the start of the second week, dad got real sick. We thought we had brought the bug to him, and had made him ill. After calls to the Doctor and a few more scans, we knew it wasn’t the flu, it was a new tumor… and that this was going to be the hardest part of the journey, the part where we all say goodbye.

Dad graduated to Glory on October 19,2009. Although it is sad, and nothing will ever be quite the same without him around, we know he is in Heaven with his Lord, and that takes the sting out of it a little bit. Not long after dad, the puppy got sick and we had to put him to sleep. Tayler had a real hard time with that, and still can’t really talk about it, not sure if she will ever be able to.

So, after that depressing paragraph, please know that we have a hope. A hope that rests in our Lord and Savior. That He hears our cry, and He knows our sorrows, and that He always answers our prayers in His perfect understanding of how the world works. Our hope was willing to come to earth and die so that I would not have to spend my eternity apart from Him.

Our greatest joy would be that you would know the same Hope.
Thank you all for your prayers and support over this last year. We really wouldn’t have done as well without you all praying us through it. We will walk into the next year with our heads high, and looking to share with others the hope that we have.

Much love,
Jody, Julie, Evan, Tayler, Hunter &Jeremiah

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009

Well this year found us strapped for cash to purchase gifts for the kids. We were fine with that, knowing that our family would receive gifts from other family members who were NOT strapped the way we were. God, however, saw fit to bless us financially right before ( like 2 days ) Christmas. This did allow us to go out and get a few stocking gifts, and some bibles for those that had really, really, really wanted them. It was a blessing to us to hear how they "were the best gift ever". Many thanks to all our family members that showered us all with gifts... we are very grateful.

After the gift part of the day, I started with the cooking. I went to get the turkey out of the fridge in the garage. That is where the fun started. The turkey was still frozen. It had been thawing in the fridge since SUNDAY!!!!!!! I unwrapped it... not too worried that we would still be able to cook it just fine. I tried to take out the little absorbent pad they had placed in there. Half came out, half stayed in the turkey. With visions of melted plastic,and a ruined meal, I begin in vain to get this brown pad out of the turkey's butt.

First, I try to get the turkey wet with warm water. This happened to be a precooked turkey, so when I got it wet, the skin started to fall off. That was beyond disgusting, so I stopped. I thought couldn't microwave it to thaw it because there was a metal hook where the legs were held together.... rapidly running out of options, I ask Jody for help. He had been out of the house for my water trick and he suggested that I get it wet and when that part was warm it out come out... I explain the whole skin falling off thing.... he then suggests the microwave to thaw it. I roll my eyes, and point to the large metal hook. He, in his frustration of being asked to solve a problem and having me shoot all his ideas out of the water,..... very tersely and sarcastically suggests " you could always stick a hair dryer up it's butt"

SO.... with nothing to lose, I went and got the hair dryer.

When I got back from the bathroom, he looked at me and rolled his eyes..... as if to say... I was JOKING!

He, valiant husband that he is, stood in the kitchen, for 45 minutes, blowing hot air from the hair dryer on the butt of a turkey, so we didn't have to eat turkey flavored with melted plastic. Yet another reason why I LOVE that man.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

More Love

I was flipping through my Bible... on the way to Matthew to read a piece of Scripture that someone wrote on the white-board that is in my kitchen.... and this fell out....

It is the words to the song "More Love to Thee" by Elizabeth Prentiss. It is her heart cry to love her Savior more.... It made me think... Do I want this same love toward my Savior? If my answer is NO.... then why is it no. If it is yes, do I show it?

Here are the words:

More love to Thee, O Christ, More love to Thee
Hear Thou the prayer I make on bended knee;
This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ to Thee, More love to Thee, More love to Thee!

Once earthly joy I craved, Sought peace and rest;
Now Thee alone I seek, Give what is best;
This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee, More love to Thee, More love to Thee!

Then shall my latest breath Whisper Thy praise;
This be the parting cry My heart shall raise;
This still my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ to Thee, More love to Thee, More love to Thee!


Elizabeth Prentiss was a wife and mother. She was no stranger to struggles and trials of life. She was a woman of poor health... and she lost 2 children one as a infant, one when it was four. It was said, that she learned more in her times of stuggle about how to Love God, than when her life was going well.

Lord, may I too learn more in the house of mourning and stuggle, than in the house of pleanty and feasting. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I just love how Hunter prays... he is 7, and so heartfelt in the way he talks to God.
I really hope he never loses that.

Dear Lord,

Thank you for this wonderful day You’ve given us.
Thank you for the time you have given us as a family.
Thank you for my mom & dad meeting so I could have the best mommy and best daddy ever.
Thank you for a grandpa who would have given up everything for me.
Please help me to obey tomorrow.
Please help me to do my math like I’m suppoz’d to.
These things I pray in Jesus name, Amen

Monday, December 14, 2009

a good day

Today was a good day...
Nothing spectacular as far as day's go... just a good day.

It started with hugs and kisses from Jeremiah, as he sat up in bed and said "Mommy, I waked up!"

Then came Hunter who hacked and wheezed and coughed his good morning to me. I was less than pleased with the whole germ sharing part.

Tay and Ev got up and then we ( which means ME ) decided to go and shovel off Grammie's walkway and driveway, and make sure it had snow-melt on it, so she could get to her car. This went over well considering i expected to hear lots of complaints.... when in actuality, they almost fought over who got to shovel the snow.

We went to Burger King... and had a late lunch so we wouldn't be starving when we went to the grocery store. We will lightly skip over the part where Jeremiah nearly fell out of the play structure, and gave himself the scare of his life... and the part where Hunter whilst trying to climb the same portion of the structure, whacked his knee so hard he had to be carried out by both his brother and sister. That portion of the day was just par for the course, when you have 3 boys.

We get to the store, and Tay served as the engine to Hunter the race car driver and his passenger Jeremiah, while Ev actually HELPED me shop. Everyone bagged the groceries when we were done, and we were out of the store in record time.

The day ended with dinner around the table....and the kids retiring to the couch to play video games.

Just another regular good day.... one where i don't think i heard them argue all day....ahhh

Saturday, December 12, 2009

musings

The last few days here have been "normal". Whatever that means for this family of 6.
The kids are back in the swing of things with their friends in Youth Group, they are working hard on their upcoming chimes performance ( in which Tayler will have a flute solo ), and practicing for the Sunday School Christmas play ( in which Tayler will have another flute solo, and Evan will sing a duet with one of his friends )... then there is the Cantata.... where the 3 of us will be singing....

It always seems to me that this time of year is such a blur. We gear up for the holidays....... and then sort of collapse on January 1st.... resolving that next year we will not schedule so much....

I really want my kids to recall the Christmas season as a time for family... to relax and enjoy relationships with friends.... catch up on old news.... and honor Jesus, because without his birth... would we really have any hope?

I don't know if i succeed in getting that message across to the kids, or to those that visit our home.... maybe we are just as busy as every other family in America, and it all gets lost in the shuffle.... We will have to wait and see, i guess, what they tell their kids about how they remember Christmas... whether they only remember all the hustle and bustle... or if they remember it as quiet and calm.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Some days I totally get why we do what we do. I understand why we home school. Why we raise our children in the love and admonition of the Lord. It is usually in the midst of days that find me almost wanting to wring a child's neck.... that these " i get it " moments happen.

Yesterday was a neck wringin' day for Hunter. He was on my LAST NERVE! He was fighting with his bigger siblings... seeking to be as annoying as possible to all people he lived with. I took him to the store, here is how it went.....he wanted a fruit roll up... no ... a new toy... no.... a fun kid kind of yogurt...no.... Hunter we are not getting anything that isn't on our list........ in line at the check out... mom can i have.......... BIG SIGH from me..... NO!...

Later in the evening he was told to get ready for bed.... he then lied about something he had been asked to do.... so it was time for discipline. This is when his attitude went off the hook. After the discipline... he tried to take a swing at me....
This got him a long soak in a kitchen chair while daddy and I decided to have a conference.
We came back and had a long talk. At the end of it, he looked at us and asked us if we would forgive him. He came to us individually and asked. He said he wanted to pray... and ask God for forgiveness....

And that prayer was the "i get it" moment. He asked God to forgive him. He prayed for help to grow to the man God wanted him to, for help to be a good man like Papa, for help listening to mamma and daddy, and for help not to lie.

It was such a sweet from the heart prayer. The restoration that happens when you discipline God's way is amazing. I am so glad we have the opportunity to do it that way....all day long... so that there is consistency. I ended the day blessed by the child that had given me the most grief. Thank you God for giving me the ability to raise these kids.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

hijacked

someone had hijacked the images i got from a free template!.... i do not understand how this works... it is about all i can do to type on this thing, let alone figure out some HTML code...........

bear with me as i let my hot techno savvy husband figure it out when he gets home....
Is it too much to ask for a cute blog page? with photos i can change and edit? with adorable paper? really i am a simple girl....

..........sigh.........
Things I've been thinking

1. you know it is cold outside when the water your husband used to de-ice his car window.... stays frozen on the driveway at noon.

2. people look at you funny when you come home after being gone for 2 months. Sometimes i wonder if i grew an extra head while i was away.

3. it is exciting to hear my 2 year old say he wants to do "histh stoolwark"

This one came in the shower this morning.

4. When I was little, my dad would take me to work. One of the things he taught me how to do was read the Rand-McNally Map books that he had. The thing had every street in the East Bay in it. He would patiently show me how to find a street so we could get to the job, then he would let me give him the directions on how to get to the house while we drove. But really, the most important map he taught me how to follow, was the one in the Bible.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

We made it!

Well we have made it back to our home in Washington.
The trip here was not without it's share of adventure. But then again, in case you haven't noticed, my life seems to be full of adventure.

We had planned to leave mom's house at 4am Saturday morning, push through the drive, and make it home by 4 pm. As most of my plans go.... this one didn't fair too well.

We actually left my mom's closer to 5am... and while we were at the gas station, we got coffee and changed a burnt fuse, then got a phone call saying we forgot Hunter's Nerf blaster...so we went back to get that crucial piece of equipment... and eventually we did get out of town...

As soon as we got on to 80... it was INCREDIBLY windy! So windy it was helping you make lane changes whether you wanted to or not. The car I was driving began to make this terrific sounding noise... worried that it was a noise to be really worried about we pulled over as soon as we got to I-5 in a town named Dunnigan. This town has a very rich history of unscheduled stops for Jody and me, but i will leave that story for another time.
We parked and Jody started to check under the hood... all the fluids and such... we tried to hurry because we thought that the Pilot gas station sign was going to fall on us and end our trip...
Satisfied that everything was at the level that it should be... we were once again back on the road. The car was still making the noise... but we found out when the wind subsided in Red Bluff.... that it was merely the sound of the wind howling through some piece of the car when it blew in just the right direction... because after we got to Red Bluff... i never heard the noise again.

We stopped for brunch in Weed, Ca. and had a fairly uneventful drive up until Bend, Or. That is where it started to get fun.
We pulled into Bend about 4 pm... remember from above???... that was when i wanted to be home. .... sigh....
Bend is 3 1/2 hours from home on a good day. We stopped there because Jeremiah had to go potty...
Jeremiah.... hates clothes. Due to the fact that he was strapped into his car seat... the only articles of clothing he could dispense with were his shoes and socks. He needed these to go into the bathroom. So i set my keys down by his chair, and put on his shoes and socks. Then i got him out... and went to the front seat to make sure my wallet was hidden... and locked the doors, and shut them. The same millisecond that the door clicked shut, i remembered the keys were sitting in the backseat next to the chair.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jody's eyes met mine..... and he quietly turned and walked to HIS car to see what he could get out of the trunk to rescue the keys. Me, i just tried not to freak out.

Having nothing better to do for the foreseeable future we went in to use the potty. After that was done, i went to see how Jody was fairing. He was still at the trunk of his car trying to fabricate something out of who-knows-what to stick down the door as a makeshift "slim jim". I sheepishly tell him "sorry".... he looks at me and smiles....and tells me " your not just a job, sweetheart, your an adventure." He then walks over to my car and attempts to break in. I secretly pray that he will not get arrested for Grand Theft.

After nearly dropping the tip of his devise into the car door to be lost forever, Evan came back from inside the store with a large wire thing that sort of resembled a Shepard's hook... but they were trying to pass it off as a wire coat hanger. He tried this for awhile, and was not getting very far. Then this guy that pumps gas there comes over and asks him if he needs any help.... he says he might have some things that could help. Turns out he was a former tow truck driver, and had a stash of tools from back in the day. He let Jody use them and we were in the car in 5 min. (i think he came over about the time that my friend Katrina was praying we would be able to get the keys out... but only God knows the whole real timing of the situation... ) We thanked the guy PROFUSELY, asked if we could buy him coffee... wash his car... shine his shoes... anything to express our gratitude... he smile and told Jody that it was real nice of us to offer to repay him somehow... and told us to just drive safely and have a Merry Christmas.

Now that they key are out... it is 5:00... and starting to get dark. We are back on the road.... Now, if you know ANYTHING about me, you know i HATE to drive in the dark. I have great trouble seeing the road when there is oncoming traffic and the road is unlit. So we are on the road again after telling Jody he can NOT race ahead of me, and leave me with no tail lights to follow.

He zipped ahead of me about 5 min out of Redmond. It was my undoing. I started to cry. So now i can't see the road because of the headlights AND because i am crying. Something is on the inside of my windows, and it is making the outside look foggy.... and i am a wreck. Tayler is next to me praying out loud... telling me i am doing great... being my cheerleader... Hunter is wiggin out in the backseat cuz he is bored... and Jeremiah has decided NOW is the best time to begin making screaming noises because he is bored. Did i mention that i was a wreck?

I have Tayler text ahead to Jody's car... and tell him we need to stop in the next town to fix the window, cuz it is really hard to see and i am wiping it down on the inside every few minutes. The defroster isn't helping me see any better.

We get to Madras... and we get the window clean. Jody looks at me crying... ( i still hadn't been able to stop that yet...) He asks me if i want to just stop for the night... i nod yes. So now we hunt for a motel. We find one next to Taco Bell ( the kids were thrilled! ) I took a bath... and decompressed.... it was money well spent.

The next day we drove the rest of the way in the sunshine... and the road ice had melted... and i was a VERY happy mommy... I enjoyed listening to the sounds of Hunter run a military operation from the backseat of the car. He shot out the tires of the enemy ( the oncoming cars ) He threw grenades at the enemy bunkers ( lone trees ) and called in for air support to blow away the factory ( some poor farmers house with grain elevators next to the barn )... it was hilarious... they boy has a SERIOUS imagination!

Now we are home safe and sound.... and i can't wait to sleep in my own bed!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanks, Thankfulness....Thank You......

it seems to me, that culturally, we tend to focus on 'thanks'... for one day a year... and not really well if you ask me.

Maybe it is because I am getting older, but has anyone else noticed how Christmas decorations are up in the store now even before the Halloween Candy has run out? I seem to remember a time when they waited for the decorations until Thanksgiving was over. Now we hear more about Black Friday sales, than about what we are thankful for, we seem much more preoccupied with our own greed.

All throughout the Psalms, David gives thanks for his God. In Psalm 100 David tells us to be joyful.... Not because of what we are going to get in the next big sale... but because we have a Lord ... and HE is GOD!

Make sure you take a bit of time.... whatever day it is, and be be joyful and glad for God and who He is.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

He is near to those with broken hearts

Many of you know that my dad very recently passed away. It helps me to think of it as he graduated to glory.... passed away seems so empty , and dad's life isn't over, he just went to be with the Lord.... and that is so much more joyful to me than "passed away".... anyway... sorry for the tangent... i will get back on track now..

So dad is in heaven, and mom is sad. This we have discussed. .... So today, being Sunday, I asked her if she was going to come to church ( she hasn't been since we found out that dad had a new tumor.) As i expected... she hemmed and hawed.... so i pushed a bit harder... after her saying " don't bug me " and me leaving her alone, she decided that she would come.... and in my head, i was doing the happy dance!

I told her, people love you, and care for you, they ask about you all the time. They know you are hurting and they want to love up on you.... knowing that the mere kind look by someone, can make her and I go into tears, we planned to meet up and i would walk the lobby with her. So armed with Kleenex... we brave the lobby. We actually made it through without too many hugs and tears.

When service started, that is when it happened. The music came on, and the words go straight to your heart. And the tears begin to flow. Since i have been here in Ca. and since we knew dad had a new tumor, and all that it entailed... i haven't made it through a service at church without tears. Today, with mom, was no exception.
The tears come as almost an overwhelming expression of worship. The words to "shout to the Lord", where you are singing ( or trying to rather... cuz it is hard to sing out loud when you are crying ) praise after praise... affirming WHO God IS... in the midst of this time of sadness.... well, it is just beautiful. So beautiful that the tears just flow. "Great is Thy Faithfulness" again has so much more intensity when viewed through a valley in your life....

I am beginning to understand how perfect His strength is in my weakness.
And today, I experienced Psalm 34:18. It was the essence of my experience today in church.... and i hope and pray it was my mom's too... because neither of us could sing.... just say the words in our head... and let God take the pain we had.


" The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit" ( NKJ ) .....Amen!

Monday, November 9, 2009

following

one of the coolest things about these blogs, is that i am not the only goober to have one. I really like this way to peek in on people. i think that i like it because you get a pretty real sense of what someone is like. What they think, more of who they are.... instead of just the " Hi, how are you" that we seem to do when we meet folks.

That being said. I added a new blog to "follow" on my list to the right. This one is by Angela Erickson. For those of you Redwoodians that read here... the last name might seem familiar. She is the Bride of Dan Erickson, who is the son of Marty and Sharon. So now that you know her family tree...at least on the hubbys side.... Check her out.... I did at the recommedation of her mother-in-law :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Change.........

I was reading a good friend's blog... she changed it up...(check her out... she is the lily one ).... and this was the comment i made on her site.... and then i got to thinking... i should put it on here.... so a cut and paste later... here you go.


See there is this verse that keeps coming back to me, in personal study, in Sunday school classes…. it is one of those bugger passages that gets you every time you read… and takes on new perspective when you read it in the light of a new issue in your life. Amazing how God’s word is alive that way.

It is for those times when we tend to RESIST change. When we fail to yield to a Sovereign God, who has our best interests in mind.

“You will say to me then, ‘why does He still find fault? For who has resisted His will?’ But indeed oh man who are you to reply against God?” (Romans 9:19,20a)

It goes on to use the analogy of us as clay and God the one who designed our very vessel.

If he designed my vessel, He knows it’s purpose. He will ensure i will get the work i was created for done.
All i have to do is be willing to be molded and shaped and fired into that vessel.
That is how i like to think of change…… it is my metamorphosis into the Woman GOD wants me to be.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

blah....blah....blah....

so much going through my mind... and so little time to actually sit and write about it.
I can't decide whether or not to share comical moments, or the things that i have been learning in the last weeks. So probably i will just ramble, and you will just get to read whatever comes out....

I will say that i am ready to go home. I miss my house, my schedule, my church.... so many things. I know why i am here. Wanting to go home, sounds so selfish.

People ask, "how are you" or "how is mom"... I am ok. Then they look at me with a squint, and almost the evil eye, like they are trying to look in my brain and see if i am telling the truth.
Let me set the record straight..... really i am OK. Dad is gone. That sucks. But there is life to live and kids to raise and school to teach, and life goes on. If i sat and sulked.... i don't think my dad would be very proud of me. I cry. Some of the cards people send really are sweet and thoughtful, and they make you cry. Maybe i am too practical, or less emotional ( although i am not sure my husband would agree with that one...lol.... i am able to cry at a commercial sometimes) Maybe it is because i am the oldest... i don't know... but really folks. I am ok.

Mom, She is sad. She feels like we all have lives and things to do, and she doesn't anymore.... she is lonely. last night she fell asleep in one of his shirts. That will make you wanna cry....trust me.... Good news though, she is off and out of the house for a few days. She is visiting friends, and that is a good thing. Keep her in your prayers. Her hurt is deep. God is good, and He will supply for her in her need, but her hurt is deep. Their 42nd anniversary is this week. 'nuff said.

Another horribly sad note is the loss of our puppy. He somehow contracted parvo, before i could get him in for any vaccinations... he was 7 1/2 weeks old. Tayler has taken it very hard. she is our animal gal. She would have me living in Tayler's ark if we didn't have boundaries. She has always said she someday wanted to be a vet. Hopefully this loss doesn't change her mind. Now i need to get the other dogs at home vaccinated ( don't look scandalized... my dogs are healthy!! ) I just need to get someone to the feed store in Pasco and give them the shot. This parvo, is on our clothes and shoes, and will be for a long time, and we don't want to bring home something to them either. Seeing one dog with this disease is enough. I never want to see it happen again!

On a good note.... I am learning lots. Mom has my grandmothers ( dad's mom ) library here. I have been reading a book about Hudson Taylor. There is one on the 23rd Psalm that i want to read. The kids and i are going through the pursuit of holiness by Jeff Bridges. I am learning alot, and I really hope that they are as well. They seem to be finding new truths, and are excited to do the reading and the study work.... so i will take that as a good sign. I will get back to you on more about what we have learned.

Friday, October 23, 2009

his last day

Monday October 19th was dad's last day of life here on earth.

He went to be with his heavenly father while his sister was reading Psalms to him. His last earthly thoughts were of his Savior, then he opened his new eyes and saw him....... how cool is THAT??

Our sadness, for ourselves really, is keen. He will be missed in many parts of our lives. Even through the sadness there is joy for him.... that his sorrow is no more, that his pain is no more, and he lives eternally and with no more cancer.

What will happen to you when you die? Do you know? Are your firm in your conviction? If you don't know, or aren't sure, or have a question. Message me. I would love to be able to talk with you about where you will spend your eternity.

Dad's memorial service will be held at 3pm November 21st, at Redwood Chapel in Castro Valley Ca. Please call 510-886-6300 if you need directions.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

it's all part of life

Haven't been here in a while. I have been just a tad busy. All my busy-ness hasn't been for frivolous causes...
You see, there is this great guy I know. I have known him for 39 years. I am not his oldest friend, nor am I his newest... i fall somewhere neatly into the middle of his life. It seems tho, like everyone else who knew him, he had a profound effect on me.

I am referring to my dad. Mr. Richard Gabel. Son of Arthur and Ann Gabel. Brother to Sonny, Janet and Jim. Husband to Iris. Father to Julie, Kelly and Amy. Friend to SOOOO many.

As i sit here and type, the house is full. There are people crammed in every corner. I hear the voice of Joe Linn, talking to my son. I hear my Aunt Janet reminiscing with an old Redwood Friend... Tanya is over, and when i left the room she was holding dad's hand.
This isn't just a rare occurrence that is unique to only today. It is something that has been happening for weeks. Day after day.... people arrive. Some with food, some with cards or plants, but everyone of them, with a memory to share. A memory of who my dad was to them. They come to share their stories with us.

We have learned that my dad threw a tape measure at a bus in San Fransisco, because it ran over his carpet.

We have learned that he caught people doing things they shouldn't, and gently rebuked them, but never spoke ill of them to others.

We have heard stories about trips to Disneyland when he was a paperboy, how stupid Mike the dog was, how patiently he taught someone a trade, or how to drive a car ( i can testify to THAT ONE!)

We have heard how he comforted others in their grief, how he inspired some to be better than they were, how he had a gentle way of getting his point across. How he fixed this bathroom for this person, how that fence was falling till he got there, how he served in Boys Brigade, Sunday School, as an Usher, for Communion, flew missionaries to prisons, was a first person to sponsor a new missionary.... countless stories of servant hearted moments...... all of which have been weaved carefully into the fabric of who he was, and serve as a testimony for the God he served and loved.

When he was first sick, he cried out to God, pleading, for his children and Grandchildren to never have to endure this illness. He cried out to God about his feelings of dying, and feeling like he had no control over it. Time after time, struggle after struggle.... where the rubber met the road, he reached up to talk to God. I would have to say, that speaks volumes to me about how my dad viewed God. Even in his acknowledgement that he was soon going to leave this earth, he didn't rail, he didn't get angry, he didn't blame God. He prayed for healing if it was God's will, and for the grace to endure if it wasn't his time for a miracle.

Often I hear people wonder what people will think of them when they are gone. They wonder how they will be remembered. Blessedly we are being given insight into how dad will be remembered, not only by his immediate family, but by those he has had the occasion to interact with.

It is a reminder to me that all of our lives are on display, others are ALWAYS watching. They watch the pretty, and not so pretty moments of who we are. Dad put floors into peoples homes. He had many the occasion to see new people all the time, many of them unchurched, many that do not know the God he served.... When those people call, they tell us that he is a "neat man", the "kindest man they ever knew", we hear "he always just loved", "he would give you the coat off his back". When i hear these statements from people who are not believers, i know that they are a testimony to a life lived for Christ. They don't use my terminology, but their expressions and endearments, are evidence of a Christ follower in action.
What a wonderful life story to have. To have people seeing the Lord, through you, even when they don't understand fully what they are seeing. I pray that God uses the legacy of Dad's life, to bring those he had the chance to spend time with, to a saving knowledge of Him.

May God grant me the strength and ability to affect those around ME, with the same servant hearted model that my father lived, to carry the legacy....., to return the favor...., of having such a wonderful role model. I pray that my life story is as strong a testimony as dad's.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

visit with dad..... NO 2

so... today sucked. we went to the dr... and they weren't kidding..... the new tumor is big. big meaning it looked about the size of a kidney bean. but in a brain that has only so much room...it is disasterous.... we had to decide to give him a feed tube or not. they explained that he would be in more pain in the long run if we did do it... so we decided not to. we told him we wanted to do right by him...and in a moment of total clarity... he told us that in the end...whatever we did would be right. even now he can still give comfort....God is good.
mom and amy are grieving hard. we all are. but we all do it differently.... mom wore one of his shirts today. one of the ratty ones she used to always want him to change out of..... but when you can't get a hug.... the shirt is the next best thing.....
it is hard to say goodbye to your pillar of strength. to your biggest fan... to the best date.... to the guy who would always listen and who had great advice. to the man who shaped your life and influenced so many other peoples lives.
i love you daddy.... you will be missed

Friday, September 25, 2009

Visit with Dad.... No2

Dad seems to be perking up a bit since we first got here.. that doesn't mean that he is getting any better, just that he doesn't seem as tired, and he is full of some extra random converstations.
He has lots to say, just none of it makes any sense. He will start a converstation and then he cant end the sentence.... most of his conversations are random, and have nothing to do with any topic that is being discussed. Mom though, listens to him with rapt attention, as is he is telling her the most important story. It is so, so sweet.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Psalm 23....the jc version

Yesterday i put Psalm 23 at the end of the post.... I got to thinking about how sometimes i like to re-write the Psalms. Not in a way that is sacrilegious or sanctimonious... because i do not intend to add to, or belittle the Bible. I have just found that sometimes i understand a passage of Scripture better when i place myself directly into it. The Bible tells us that it is sufficient for all things, and sometimes it is neat to look back on times in your life and see how a portion of scripture "spoke" to you at one time, and how it "speaks" again, but differently to you in a different season of your life.

It is quiet here now, dad is resting, mom is catching flies in the chair next to him, Jeremiah is blissfully napping.... So i will pause, and recharge my own soul, with God's Word.

Psalm 23
Lord, you are my leader;
because of Your care for me, I have no cause to worry.
You remind me to rest;
You bring me to a quiet place to drink.
You repair, refresh, and soothe, my soul;
because of this I will follow you always.
You are my God.

Even now, as there is a shadow of death about me,
I am not afraid, instead I hope.
Why? Because you are HERE... with me now, in this very moment.
All of who you are, is a comfort to me.

In the midst of life's chaos, when I focus on You, I can rest and eat;
be reminded of how You chose me......and I know, just know.... in my soul, that Life is good!
Viewing life as you want me to, lets me focus on my hope....Living FOREVER with you.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Visit with Dad.... No 1

Well, can i just be candid for a moment? My dad looks like crap.

That out of the way, let me try to explain to you what everyday around here is like.

He wakes up around 8 or 9 am. We get him up, and help him shuffle to the bathroom. Hopefully he can go........ if not we shuffle back to the bed and dress him.

......He needs a diaper full time now, he can not adequately express to us sometimes how he needs to get to the bathroom, consequently... he has many more accidents. This is frustrating to him, because he would like his bathroom time to be much more private than it is... but with the fear of him falling... or the need to clean him, alone time on the potty for him... is a thing of the past.....

After getting dressed. we shuffle to the kitchen for breakfast.

.........the shuffle is a walk that is fully supported by my mom in the back with her arms up under his arms...and with someone in the front supporting his arms and encouraging him to walk forward.....

Then we get to try to have him take his pills. This is a challenge... today we spit out 6 different ones..... so we gave up. At least the important one went down... his Coumadin (blood thinner).... anything past that important pill is gravy.
Some days he can feed himself, others he needs to have someone help. Along with cereal, he has a protein shake. He will sit and watch some TV for awhile, and then he gets tired... so shuffle to the bathroom, and then back to bed by 12 for a nap that is 2 to three hours long.
repeat the breakfast process minus the pills, and you now know what dinner is like. He is in bed by 8 or 9 pm. Sometimes earlier. There is usually now a middle of the night accident. So mom is up and cleaning him once or twice a night.... and she is so tender and sweet when she does it. Those cleanings require someone else to get up and help, because she can't move him and remove the pads and such alone.

Walking in to this life........ so drastically different than when we were here in May.... was hard to see.... It is exhausting work. There is never a moment alone, never one with out total vigilance, never really a time to even sleep without one ear or eye open for fear he will get up, and hurt himself.

Awhile ago, i posted about how we try to define "fine" when talking about dad.... in my opinion.... this doesn't even come close to "fine".... this is bad.
Yet, this is where we are......... and care for him is what we must do. It is our turn to give back to him all the love and generosity that he has shown to us, and others all his life. Our chance to be tender, and show him Christ's mercy, as we care for his most basic of life's needs. Pray for us all as we walk through this valley of life with dad.... knowing that not for one moment are we alone.... Our Shepard is with us..........always.

Psalm 23

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

pre family visit

First, let me get something off my chest..... Does anyone out there read this stuff i send off into the great electronic void? Just wondering, because if you all do... then why are there no comments? I know, you are all laughing so hard at what i say it is impossible to type... BUT there is a little thing at the bottom of these posts, that says "comment"... if you click on it... this whole blog thing becomes interactive.... and well... more fun. And everyone likes fun? right?


Ok...
Now to the meat of it. I am preparing to head South to help mom for a few days and visit with Dad and the rest of the family. I do this with a mixture of emotions. On one hand i am very glad to see the family, and to be back in CV and all that..... but seeing Dad is harder and harder to do. Each time we come back for a visit, the changes in his mental state are more and more evident. It breaks my heart to watch it happen. In photos and in person he looks sooooo good! It is where you can't see, that he has the problems.

When we were kids.... my dad would always ask us the names of people and the names of their kids before he would call them to talk to them about a job. That way when someone answered the phone he had a good shot of getting the right name. He always liked to remember things and people. When we were cleaning out the garage this May, we found lots of Memory Booster exercises, "10 easy steps to never forget".... all that sort of stuff. Mom said that even way back, he had told her he didn't want to be "old and forget things" ... It is ironic to me, that the one thing he didn't want to have happen, is the one thing that has been taken from him...
The other part that makes these visits suck... ( yes mom, i used the truck driver word again ) is that i have to leave. I get there, and get into a routine, and i can clearly see how much help mom and amy need, and then i have to go, and i feel like i am deserting them all when they need so much help!..... And when i go, i never know if the next time i see MOM or AMY on my cell phone, if it is going to be the call that tells me dad passed away... and that i missed it. And then i will have to get on a plane or pack the car and go down to a house without him. And somedays, i am not sure how i will be able to do that. When the time comes, it is going to be hard to wait until heaven to see him again.

My dad is HUGE.. larger than life, a great teacher and a consistant disiplinarian. No matter what i did in my crazy life. Dad was always a constant. He is so much of the reason i am who i am today. When i was in the midst of living my own life, and failing at it miserably, i might add.... I will never forget what i stumbled across one day. I was a bartender then.... drinkin and partying, well... just cuz i could. I knew my parents didn't approve of what i was doing.... but it wasn't like there were arguments about it... One day i stopped home for a visit... and dad had been doing a bible study lesson. It was about teaching a child in the way that it should go, and they will not depart from it..... and softly written in the side margin was... "i am praying this for Julie". even then it jumped off the page at me. It didn't make me change anything.... i went back to the bar that night to work, ... still did stupid stuff.... LOTS of stupid stuff. It probably took 15 years for his prayer to be answered... but i am glad and grateful that he prayed it in the first place. That he knew his daughter, and that he loved me enough to pray it. As i sit and write this, i realize i never told him that i read that paper he had set aside when i came to visit that day. I never thanked him for that display of unconditional love.... I am just glad that he DID get to see his prayer answered, even if he wouldn't understand the thank you if i were to tell him now.

Well that certianly came out of nowhere.... now i am sitting at the computer with tears streaming down my face and a snotty nose.... eeewww....
WELL.... i need some tissue... so i will leave you now, and keep you all posted on my visit to CA.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11/09

It was 8 years ago.........
I was driving to work. I was a Bus Driver then, working for Redwood Christian School. The radio station was KFAX's foray into FM Christian Pop Music. The DJ was Amy. I remember the color of the sky as dawn was breaking.... I remember the smells and sounds my little Mazda MPV had. I remember thinking.... really this wasn't happening.... someone was playing a serious Orson Wells type joke here. But there was something chilling in the way they spoke about what was happening, so chilling you had no other choice but to believe it was true.

That day was an act of senseless terrorism. Once small group of people's stab at taking down a giant. Instead of crippling our Republic, or toppling our economy, they brought down some steel..... and more tragically hundreds of lives of people that were just going to work that day. People who had in no way directly injured the people that attacked them.

For a time, our country was galvanized. We rallied the troops, and we waived our flags..... and as time marched on.... we began to forget. The flags were put away, we began to wonder why OUR boys had to die on foreign soil.... we became apathetic.

I won't forget. I can't. My husband serves his country with a courageous zeal. He loves what this country stands for, our freedoms, our rich heritage of God given rights. He has volunteered to give HIS life....... for YOU.... for me, for our children... should the need arise. It is people like him... who volunteered to dig out the rubble of the twin towers. Who put in long hours at work and then leave their families behind so that they can train, and be on the ready should their country need them. Who are willing to leave, for sometimes a year, and miss milestones of children, births and deaths of loved ones. The are willing to not hug their wife or husband... not kiss and hold their kids...but to drive on a street that is rife with landmines, be shot at with rockets, and bullets, and to dodge tossed grenades.. all to protect the right to freedom.... for US... America, and for those who live elsewhere and need our assistance to help protect and defend, when they can not.

Thank you to those who walk where I can not.... so that I can walk safely where I am.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

dad-isim's

I have mentioned before that my dad says some pretty silly things these days...
Well today... I was the subject of his hum-dinger...

It all started with them sitting down to watch a movie. I guess for some reason they stopped to see what one was... and it was Flash Dance... the one with Jennifer Beal.... So the camera is on her as she is dancing with her leg warmers and taped feet.... and it goes up to a butt shot... and down to the feet, back to the butt and sort of lingered there on her ultra tight high cut leotard.... (sorry i digress... anything named "tard" AND rides up your butt.... well.... it is aptly named.) as the camera shot seems to be stuck staring at her rear forEVah... my dad squinches up his face and says.... " that looks like it is really sticky" this produces gales of laughter from my mom and sister amy.

The movie moves on.... and now she is dancing doing some "floor" work ... up and down... ( well this is a PG blog... so lets just say it is a repetitive motion that shouldn't have been in the movie in the first place...) and this is when he decides to bring ME into it......... he squinches up his face again... and says.. " Oooohhhhhh Julie....." in this sad.... sort of embarassed for me way.
HELLO!!!!!!!!! dad it isn't ME!!!! she and i may both have curly hair... but um... oh well... he wouldn't remember if i told him.... Besides... half the time he calls me Kelly.... so maybe he really thinks that Kelly is me.... ya.. ya.. that's it! Anyway... upon hearing him say ooooohhhhh julie.... amy and mom were crying they were laughing so hard.... Amy called me to tell me and i thought she was sad crying for a minute.... they were talking over each other to get out the story... it was pretty funny. Oh well, at least we can laugh at it.... I am sure he will have many more moments that will keep us in stitches for the months to come...

growing up fast

I am not sure when I gave my kids permission to go and get so big so fast.
I just got off the phone with my daughter. She is off visiting her Dad in Tennessee. I called her to see if she read the ark post... she said she did we laughed a little bit at the silly rat chase.
She then informed me that she is cooking dinner. Red beans and Rice. So we discussed the recipie and a few tricks for her to use if it wasn't coming out exactly like she wanted....
I hung up and was struck by the thought of how grown up she is... and how someday, she will be calling me from her house to ask me about a recipie, so she can make it for her family.
.....sigh.... they grow up so fast.

See auntie rene......... it happens to us all. ( not all of us do it when the baby is 5 days old like mom did with me....lol ) We all have moments when we get a little misty-eyed, about how quickly they grow up and out on their own.... and generally it is followed by the hope that we haven't screwed them up so bad that they never leave...........lol

Friday, September 4, 2009

life in the ark

My house is becoming either a domesticated animal shelter.... or we are working toward a re-enactment of Noah's Ark, I'm not sure which......
We have 2 cats
2 dogs ( three now with the addition of mr puppy)
and 2 rats

yes... rats.... I did not want the rats.... but my daughter pledged I would never have to feed them or clean up after them. She has been very true to her word.... until she left for Tennessee last week. She placed our 7yr old in charge of feeding aforementioned beasts... and showed him how to clean the cage. Dutifully he has trudged down to feed them every morning.... last week he assisted me in cleaning out their cage. (yes I had to touch them.) Today around lunch time I reminded him that he needed to go and feed the dogs, cats, and rats. He went downstairs..... and came up rather quickly.......

"MOM!!! I don't know how this happened ( the sentence that strike fear in every mothers heart ) but I shut the door to the cage last night.... and somehow they opened it and got out!!!!"

Not believing for a SECOND he closed the cage tightly.....
I sent him down to look for them, while I tried to remove from my mind, visions of them residing in my walls and never ever finding them.... he came up saying he looked EVERYWHERE.... and he didn't see them...
Not finding this even REMOTELY acceptable.......
I went and found a box to aid me in the capture.... and headed down to catch the varmints....

Rats, while given a reputation for stealth... are really quite noisy when you listen for them... so that is what I did... into her room... and stood still... true to form... I heard rustling... and began to gently pick up things in the area of noise.
I found the first one fairly quickly... it was under some clothes on her bed.... and it nearly gave me a heart attack because I almost set my hand on it.... I snatched it up and put it in the cage....

Now for number 2... the squeeker... this one actually sqeeks when you try to pick it up.....

I continued in the general direction where I found Number 1.... and was soon staring at it. This one was faster tho... under the bed... down the wall and to the closet... so I chase it back the other direction... it pops out under her nightstand... and on top of a sleeping bag there.... hunter who is now helping me, and finding this portion of his day wonderfully fabulous.... moves to one side of the stand... I stay in the middle and use my box to block the retreat back under the bed... Hunter moves in.... rat freaks out... and smacks into the sideways box... lift box up.. grab rat.. rat wiggles... and jumps... and is under the bed before I could even process the transaction.
Ok... I will not let the rat win... I will not let the rat win... is becoming a mantra....
Hunter is on the bed.... poised to catch it if it runs back near him... it has retreated to the safety of the closet. I slowly remove the basket it is hiding behind.... and plug up the space under her door should it get past me... at least I can keep it in the room!... so as I move the basket it retreats under the dresser.... then heads for the bed... I hear.. "ooo darn"...from hunter.... he missed. He is asking me to scare it back... he is almost fully wedged behind the dresser and can almost reach the varmint. we take turns shoo-ing it to each other, missing more than we want to...
I finally cornered it in the closet, and just slowly moved in for the grab. Took me two tries, but I got it.
They are both back in their happy metal home... as we were walking back upstairs.. Hunter was telling me how much fun that was......I told Hunter if he let them out again I was going to cook him and eat HIM for breakfast. Suddenly he was seeing the great rat chase my way...

Tay.........I love you, but, you owe me.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

death and life on the "farm"

Yesterday, a whole lot of death and a little bit of life passed through our home.
Our dog, Brownie, whelped her puppies. She had a litter of 4 (3 girls and a boy ). The first one was dark brown with light brown jowls and white on the chest... light brown inner back legs... a real cutie. Number two came out lighter brown over all and with the white chest markings of dad. Number three was daddy's girl, all black with white chest markings. All three girls were still born.... despite my quite heroic efforts at puppy CPR.... We thought she was done.. so we weren't really expecting pup number four... in fact i would have missed it entirely, if i hadn't heard a noise outside that registered as familiar... and ran out to check. I grabbed # 4 and rubbed... and he took a big gulp of air... i can not tell you how cool THAT was.... As of right now... he is still hanging on... if he is a fighter we may have ourselves another dog... not sure how to give him to another family when you spend all this time listening for him... and walking by and looking to see if he is eating or breathing even....

Hunter and Jeremiah saw girl2 born, and they both thought it was pretty cool. Hunter said that it was taking way to long.... he said the Lion he watched have babies on TV had them in like 2 minutes.... why was brownie taking FOREVER????
He seemed fine with the puppies not being alive until it came time to pick a spot to put them in the ground.... He and daddy went out to the backyard... and had a discussion about death, and they way sometimes babies, from humans... to birds come out this way. He came in for dinner and was a bit wrung out... full of tears that he had to put the puppies in a box and bury them. Right about that time #4 came and was a ray of hope for a sad little boy. He was so sad that he almost didn't want to pray for his dinner, until we told him that God is the best person to talk to when your heart is heavy.... so his prayer over dinner was that we would have a good day tomorrow, and that please could brownie have a puppy that stayed alive.... it was very sweet.

Last night late... he went outside with daddy to be a little man and bury the pups.... he went out in his tennis shoes and his underwear. It was hot.... and he had gotten "ready" for bed... what can i say... He did notice that he was awkwardly attired... and told his dad "it is not likely that you would find many little boys in their underwear burying their puppies" to which daddy replied.."probably not sweet boy, probably not"

I think that God gives us the ability to grieve over something we barely knew, so that when time comes for us to grieve something we have known our whole lives... we are prepared, even just a little bit, for the pain.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

daddy love

I was just looking at my youngest son's bed... it was so sweet.. i had to run in here and share it.

I love... love .... love the way my husband puts the kids to bed. It really showcases his soft nougat center.

Last night i was at a bridal shower and he was home with Jeremiah, they played, got ferociously dirty, had a baff, got fwesh n keen, and then got tucked in.... Tuckin time with daddy is something special. It beats mommy bed time by a mile. You see mommy is OVER the kids by bed time... it is a peck on the cheek.... a hug and I love you... and out the door. Daddy... well Daddy hooks you UP!...... he will make you up a soft pillow, and covers it with an even softer blanket... he will cover your bottom sheet with a soft flannel blanket, all tucked in so it doesn't bunch.... then he lifts you gently into the bed, makes sure you are comfy... and then gets a snuggly blanket for the top... he tucks you in "like a ba-beeto" strokes your hair and tells you how much he loves you, prays with you, and tells you ni-night.

Nothin beats Daddy love for settin your night right......

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

live like it is Sunday

So this morning I was snitching a piece of Dove chocolate from the freezer, and when i opened the wrapper, it had a saying printed in it. This one was "Live Life like it is Sunday." I smiled as i read it, and thought, "that was cute..." and as i crumpled up the foil to toss it in the garbage, i started thinking.... what if i did?

I think the author of the statement intended for it to mean, relax, slow down and enjoy life like you do on a Sunday. I was thinking more about what I do on a Sunday, and what would happen if i lived every day that way? Sunday's in our home are set aside as a day to Worship and Serve the Lord.... I get up early, I choose my clothes more carefully, because i want to look my best, I look forward to my day in anticipation of what new things i will learn when i go to church, my chosen place of worship.

What would happen if i looked forward to spending time with and learning about the Lord everyday? I try to have a quiet time with Him everyday, but it falls off the list more often than not..... What if i purposed to do it, like i purpose to set aside Sunday's?

What would happen in your life if you did too?

Monday, August 24, 2009

August Update on Dad

This last month has been full of things to do. Early in the month Mom, Dad and Amy went up to visit Auntie Rene (mom's sister ) outside of Lake Tahoe. (they thought that he would rest and sleep for most of the trip up there.... but he would have none of it... he was wide awake and enjoying the car ride there...) Irene was house sitting and dog sitting for some friends that live there. The house that they were in was built with ramps instead of stairs, and it was perfect to get dad in between floors in his wheelchair. The ramps in the house are carpeted, and the remainder of the floor in the home is concrete. Amy had a humorous moment when she was going at a good pace to get over the transition that is in place to hold down the carpet.... she hit it at such a speed that it almost dumped dad out of the wheel chair. I got a kick out of the story, because it reminded me of the time mom almost slid him out of the chair going down the ramp at Kaiser in San Mateo.... both times he almost fell out of the chair, dad just looked at his driver as if to say "Hey lady! Watch it.!! " Another humorous moment was when Amy was backing dad down the ramp, and mom was in front of her ( they were walking rear to rear...) and she was keeping Amy from sliding down the ramp.... I know that the two of them, and Auntie Rene had to be cracking up while it was happening.... I am sure if we were all there it would have been one of those laugh till you cry moments.

After the successful trip to Tahoe, they left and swung down to Oakdale and spent some time at a 1st birthday party for Jamie (Hazelwood) Cortez's third little girl, Addison. After the party they went over to Janet's house and Dad took a nap. They ate dinner, visited with Janet for a while, and then rode home.

Dad was also able to attend the Sunday Night Hymn Sing at Redwood on the 16th .... Mom said that he really enjoyed it, and was boppin' along to the music, and was even so moved he was crying a few times. It never ceases to amaze me how our Lord meets us and ministers to us exactly where we are. God knows exactly what is going on in Dad's mind and heart, even though he can't express himself to us very well. God met him right where he is.... and ministered to his soul that night. So I send a hearty thank you out to the folks at Redwood Chapel that organized the event, and to those that participated. You all were ministers of the Gospel that night. Thank you for your service to the Lord. Dad also enjoyed seeing the people that were from out of town, even though he probably didn't remember anyone 's name, he always lights up when you introduce him to people he has known for years.

Even though it seems like dad is doing better because we have taken him on some trips and he was able to get out of the house for some events. His ability to care for himself continues to decline. These outings do take quite a bit of effort for mom and Amy but have also been worth the effort. We do not want to give anyone a false sense of hope, that because he is out and about, he is doing better and on the mend. Those areas of his brain ( the fluffy ones that we mentioned in the last update) continue to detrimentally affect him. He is continuing to have more difficulty moving around. He has begun to have incontinence issues as well. Please pray with us about decisions we need to make about getting a ramp for the house and other things that he needs. Some of these things that we need to do for him, have been hard for Mom to accept, so please pray with us that as her children, we can encourage her to make these hard decisions, and attempt to understand how this whole thing affects her as well.

There have been moments (mostly before summer began) where Dad has had total clarity of what is happening to him. One night he was laying in bed with Amy and they had been having some laughs. Later she looked at him and asked, "Dad, do you know whats happening to you?" He answered, "yeah, I am dying." She paused started to tear up and then said, "we'll yeah dad, we're are all dying." He paused for a moment, as if to absorb what she was saying and said, "well...... That sucks." very matter of fact. And they both laughed. Dad has given all of us a wonderful gift in his sense of humor, and his ability to not take life to seriously. Even in the quiet moments, he can still make us laugh, and that laughter is a balm to our hearts as we watch things become more and more difficult for him to do.

Amy was in a wedding Saturday for Brenda Monk... i would tell you her new last name if i could remember it right now... Dad and Mom and Kelly were all there. Amy was telling me last night that Mom was very sad at the wedding and crying a lot. She was trying to describe how she was beginning to feel the loss of life... with dad. Not so much that she was coming to a realization that he is dying, but she was really missing the things that they used to do together. She described to Amy that they used to hold hands at weddings, and reminisce to their own wedding and when they said their vows. This is the first wedding that they have attended together where they haven't done that. Mom said that she was struck by the realization that they (Jeremy and Brenda) were standing their beginning their lives together as a couple and here she was with dad, coming to the end of their time as a couple. I can't imagine how hard it was for her to sit there in the midst of all those feelings.... sigh.....

I am going to try to make it down in September for a bit to visit, and I will try to keep you all updated while I am there.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The new school year begins

We have officially started the school year.... Evan and Tayler will get a nice slow ease in to the year, as they are going to be traveling to their dad's next week for 3 weeks, and they will have a considerably light schedule for the time that they are there.

We are using Ambleside Online as a curriculum base.... it is a literature based curriculum and we will see how this interactive and new curriculum will work for our family. It will bring us together for learning times, far more than any other curriculum that we have used in the past and it will have us at the library often! (you can go here to see more about the curriculum we are using.)

This year we are also going to learn some Godly Character Qualities that I found on the internet. Anyone watch those Duggar's on TV? Well, i went to their site one day to see what they used for homeschooling, because i admire their children, and the way that they seem to be able to get things done around the house...
While i was there i stumbled on to this PDF file that they have with Definitions for Character qualities that they teach their chilren. Each Quality has a bible verse attached to it.... i am not sure how long we will spend on each quality, but we are going to seek to build these traits into our lives, and not just expect that they will get there on their own somehow.

The Quality that we will be working on now is... Orderliness vs. Disorganization. the verse is 1 Corinthians 14:40. and it is defined as : Preparing myself and my surroundings so that i will achieve the greatest efficiency.

If you could see my kitchen right now... you would know why we chose to use this trait first!....
currently the kitchen table is being used as a bookself, the center island as a drop zone, and it generally looks as tho the bomb from Hiroshema was tested in our kitchen....
So we will be using ( yes using!... a novel concept indeed ) the tools we already have in place for keeping our space organized.

We will keep you updated as the year moves on!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Contentment...

a word not often used in our society.... in fact I would go so far as to say it is the antithesis of our society today.

This morning was the monthly meeting of the hens, at church... commonly known as Ladies Fellowship Breakfast.
The topic of the devotion was.... you guessed it... Contentment.

I know this is something that we all struggle with... If it wasn't... we all wouldn't be imagining our next car, or new furniture, or what it would be like if our kids actually listened.... planning our next great vacation, walking through model homes and drooling.... Yes all of these activities are societal norms, and all of them are rooted someway in a bit of discontent.

Satan is quite crafty in the ways he steals our joy. He gets us to thinking we deserve it... or wouldn't it be nice to have the house remodeled? Don't get me wrong, I am not saying that we should all walk around in rags... or that we should go live in a cardboard box.... What I am talking about is when you visit an old friend, and you see their house, hang with their family, and then when you leave... you are in a bad mood because somehow, your life, lived in your house, suddenly isn't as nice as it was before your vacation, and your just wish your life could be easy like your friends was.....

Psalm 84:11 Says : " The LORD God is a sun and shield, He will give grace and glory, and no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."

It reminds us that God is all we need...He is our sun... our light and our warmth, He is our shield, and protects us from the enemy, He gives us grace to carry on when we need it, and the grace that saves us when we didn't know we were so lost, He will finish out His promise with glory ... for us in heaven. He wants to bless us.... but we are responsible to walk uprightly, or according to His will, to receive those blessings..... and remember even some of the "bad" things we go through are a "good" thing. Don't forget that we do not understand all of how things work in God's economy..... ALL things are for HIS glory and our growth.

So the next time you are in the midst of a fit of envy.... or your kids see the next big hot toy on TV and start to whine.... or your husband wishes he made more money so he could get that cool truck.... Think about Psalm 84:11 and remember the Lord is what you need the most.... and the more you ( or they ) focus on HIM.... the less they will need to keep up with "the Jones' "

Thanks Mrs. Piper for your timely and gentle reminder that we are called to be content.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

another one of those days

After two days of dealing with a toddler who was having mysterious stomach cramps... we realized he had swollowed a Mancala game piece.... and this was likely the cause of all his troubles.
We went to the store and bought Apple Juice.... ( this works like Draino for him and flushes out the pipes )

This morning..... he was up... and downstairs waking up his sister before 7 am... i should have taken this as a sign......

around 8:45 we found him finger painting with a bucket of Honey..... so i put him in the tub to get clean....
as i was cleaning up the honey mess in the kitchen he was happily playing... or so i thought...

As i walked in to check on him.... i found a lake.......... all over the bathroom floor.... as a bonus there were two small brown trout floating in this lake of a bathroom............

as if this wasn't enough of a morning......
The apple juice worked about 2 pm..... he announced that he had given out some "gas" as it were...... and i didn't know better until the rush to the potty ( remember we are potty training ) and i saw it traveling down apendages......

there is still 5 hours to go until bed time....
i am scared to think of what could possibly happen.

Monday, August 3, 2009

A Weekend in the life...........

Sometimes things go just as you plan. Other times, ....................not so much.



This last weekend the boys and I were able to go up to Spokane with Jody for the weekend. He had to drill ( his reserve service weekend ), and this weekend was set aside as a Pre-deployment Family weekend. These are setup for us to become more familiar with the services that are out there when our Reservist is mobilized. Half of you that just read that, your hearts just stopped. Yes, that means Jody may be deployed again soon. We don't know when yet or for sure where, but we do know that it is coming.


So Friday night after work we pack our three boys, and the one I babysit, up into a truck and drive north. ( tay stayed behind because she had a church commitment on Sunday a.m.) There were six seats in this truck, and we had three car seats and one teenager whose legs are beginning to get too long for his own good. I drove, Jody slept ( or tried to rather) Hunter sat in the middle front because his legs were short enough not to interfere with the manual transmission.... in the "back" ( a term used loosely.... it was plenty wide enough back there just no leg room ) was Hayden behind Jody, Evan in the middle with his knees somewhere up around his ears, and Jeremiah behind me. Before driving away, everyone has used the bathroom............... yes..... this is an important fact to note.


We are 20 miles out of town, and from behind me.... I hear........ "I'm a need a go to da potty mommy" This is Jeremiah telling me something of great importance. To him I reply .... "are you SERIOUS?" ( with a tone that is quite incredulous ) This is a rhetorical question I know, because i do not seriously expect him to answer me with a .... " hey mom, nope... i was just joking...haha" We are in the middle of potty training, and he is in "big boy pants" and we are 20 miles from home and even farther from anything that resembles a bathroom. He should have been fine and not needed a bathroom for at least the 2 hours that it would have taken to reach our destination... but NOOOO.... my boy decides to get a happy bladder. It is decision time.... pull over and risk our lives so he can pee........... or let him pee his pants. For the sake of furthering the greater good of never having to change another diaper........ I pull over. In the process i forget that i am driving a stick shift and kill it as we pull off the road......... great trip so far.


Jody climbs out ( he is muttering something under his breath about how he should have taken his chances and driven himself in his own car...) and i dive out the driver door, inbetween semi trucks, and go to the "safer" side of the truck to take out Jeremiah. After being passed out of his chair over his brother and over Hayden.... he is in my arms........ If you have potty trained a boy, you are now snickering at my predicament.... if you haven't.... let me explain. Potty training boys SIT on a toilet. They do so, so their mothers bathrooms do not smell like a truck stop. They are too short yet to reach, and they lack a certain amount of "control" ... shall i say.... and that part of the anatomy can be MORE than an untamed fire hose, if not carefully directed in the right way by sitting them down..... So now i am holding him, and trying to figure out what to do without getting him bit by something or wetting the whole of his outfit and my feet. I will spare you the details.... but i will say we looked something like a TV ad for Twister. Ok... that done... back over Hayden, over Evan and put him back in.... he decides he needs to go again. Out he comes.... again over Evan, over Hayden.......back to Twister pose.... done, back in the chair.


Don't let anyone kid you. Girls are not the only sex that like to travel to the potty and pee together. This syndrome happens to boys too, when they are given the chance to pee in the great outdoors. They will flock in droves to be able to pee on a tire!.... So out comes Hayden, who is also potty training.... i put him in the full Twister position... he get shy... nothing happens. Ok... child two back in seat.... then HUNTER! he decides he feels the need.... so out he comes... and then back in.... all the while we are being buffet-ted by semi trucks rushing past at 65 mph, and Jody is standing at the back of the truck facing traffic ( and blocking any "view" ... muttering under his breath about what he is going to tell some yahoo cop, should he choose this moment to pull over and check on us...)


20 minutes later ( it felt like an hour) we are all back in our seats and ready to merge back onto the highway. At this point I receive a text from my husband that says... " good times eh?" A text??!!??.... he is sitting close enough to TOUCH..... it is going to be a long weekend....... i can tell.



we make it there without any other potty stops and get a chance to relax a bit.


The next day we headed out on foot to Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane. There is a mini amusement park, an antique carousel, gondola... lots to do.We rode on the carousel, and walked around and ate lunch. It was early enough to not be too hot, and the kids slid down the Radio Flyer wagon, and chased the geese back into the water. Jeremiah stepped into a puddle full of goose poop and slime... but hey... he is a wash and wear kind of kid.



We walked all over greater Spokane looking for an ATM that was at least one of our bank's... (just so i could pay cash to go on the carousel .) It was quite the adventure... we eventually found one... it was out of service...(sigh) we found another one in the Parkcade ( Spokane's Transit Authority Hub).... not quite the Greyhound Terminal in downtown S.F..... but a close second.


We posed for some arranged photo's....


It is hard to believe that Evan was about that size when Hunter was born!


During our travels we stopped at the mall for lunch. After eating and running around i decided to take both boys to the bathroom before we went out to continue exploring the park. They had this family bathroom.... and it was great.... two toilets... two little boys... perfect! Hayden on first.... as he gets started the auto flush went off.... scared the poor boy TO DEATH.... his head whipped around and stared at the wall looking to see what loud noise violated his tranquility. Needless to say.... all progress was scared to a stop. ( later that night i took him to the bathroom in the resturant.... and he sat, and slowly turned to see if there was the same evil noise maker as the last public potty... I reassured him that this one wouldn't do that. As soon as the words were out of my mouth... the automatic towel dispenser went off all by itself.... the poor boy is not ever going to want to enter a public restroom again with all the noises it does on it's own! )


And then after lunch decided to head home. Hunter had declared that he was too tired to walk, and cajoled Evan into "carrying" him all the way home, since he had walked 6000 miles, and couldn't take another step. ( never mind we all walked those 6000 miles with him..... )


I stopped and took this picture, because it is rare that they actually do this....


I am walking ahead of them, pushing the little boys in the stroller, and sweating way more than i care to..... and i hear.... " Evan, when i am bigger, and i have a facebook page.... you know, when i am like a teenager and stuff, I am going to take that picture that mom just did, and i am going to say..."ID just grew another head" " I was crackin up......... he wants to be big like his brother and sister so bad.... he is already thinking about his facebook page......... he is a hoot. His other memorable quote was that morning when he was watching Evan get ready... Evan was putting on his deodorant ( i know, thank goodness... hee hee ) and Hunter sighs.... and says.... " Man, when am i going to get to stink, so i can wear that stuff"..... Oh Hunter, don't grow up too fast, getting to wear deoderant... is more of a job, than a privilege....


So after we get back to the hotel, i decided that i better make good on the promise i made to go swimming. My sanity clearly had been warped by the heat.... but i figured i better go while the pool was fairly empty. So i swim diaper the little ones... make sure Evan takes out his contacts, peel Hunter off the ceiling because he was so excited..... and head to the pool, praying that Hayden doesn't drown on me while i am babysitting him.....


We march to the pool and both little boys decide that they want to jump off the side of the pool into the waiting arms of Evan and I. Catching these boys is about as different of an experience as they are as individuals. Jeremiah gets out of the water turns around and is ready to go... Hayden stands on the side and dances and waves his arms and sort of squawks like a chicken waiting till you tell him it is his turn, then he calms down and focuses on you and nods twice and jumps. Hayden jumps off nice and straight... Jeremiah comes at you like he is trying to belly flop and you sort of feel like you have been hit by a truck. So Evan, who wanted to do anything but play with little boys was gracious enough to help me catch.... We did this at least 500 times, until Jeremiah jumped out at me, and preceding him was a "burp" that flew out of his mouth and on to me, it was a mixture of pool water and the applesauce from lunch. Mommy was done in the pool for the day. As i was trying to get the little boys out, and air dried a bit, before the walk back to the room..... I was sitting with Hayden and Jeremiah decided that in protest for having to stop jumping.... he would put one of our two dry room towels.... COMPLETELY into the pool... Yes it was really nap time....


We will move along to Sunday, After a raging screaming fit from Jeremiah because i didn't buy HIM a coffee at Dutch Brothers..... we were arrive at the NOSC (military acronym for something.... but i don't remember what.... just translate it as where Jody goes to drill ) ... and attempt to keep two toddlers quiet through 3 hours of presentations on such terribly entertaining subjects as, TriCare Dental coverage, VA benefits, and Military One Source benefits.....

When Jeremiah started petting the arm hair of the gentleman next to him.... it was time to go for a walk.... We rounded out the day with a poopy swimsuit. (seriously... if you were two, and had an endless supply of water and water toys, would you come tell your mom that you had to poo? Yeah, i didn't think so....) At the NOSC.... and trust me, it is a military installation.... they don't believe in diaper changing stations in the bathrooms. I mean on the whole the place is staffed with men.... why would they need diaper changing stations???...... So i followed the Seabee motto "adapt and overcome" and washed out the swim trunks, put them back on him.... and sent him back out to play in the water for a few more hours.


The best part was the way home.... everyone was worn out.... and slept... and i was able to decompress and enjoy the silence on the way home. Ahhhhhhhhhhh.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

thoughts on prayer

Prayer has been heavy on my heart this last few weeks. This Sunday, God, being God and knowing this.... sent a fill in teacher to our Sunday School class and he chose to speak on prayer. He started by telling us that he was researching in to how Christ prayed and whom he prayed for, then moved into a study on how the apostles prayed and whom they prayed for. He found it very interesting that Christ did not regularly pray for the "lost". He did however, often pray for those whom had been give to him (John 17:9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.)
Then he began to talk about how Paul prayed. He noted that he too prayed for his fellow believer. He then gave us examples of how he prayed for them....He started in Ephesians 1:15-21

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints,
do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers:that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,and what [is] the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated [Him] at His right hand in the heavenly [places], far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.


Paul prayed that those he loved and cared for in Ephesus, would grow! That they would have better understanding of who Christ was, and what His work on the cross did for them.
Later in Chapter 3:14-21 He prays for them again.

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what [is] the width and length and depth and height-- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen

He prays Christ will dwell with them, that they will be strengthened by the Holy Spirit. That they would be rooted and grounded in LOVE.....

I sat in my chair convicted. How many times do I say I will pray for someone and I don't. How many times has my prayer been one of formality and insincerity, instead of falling on my knees in front of God, and truly praying for my fellow believer. And praying these things into their lives..... not just the.... standard out loud prayer of Lord, please heal this sickness or that pain, help Sally find a job..... How often do we do these "safe" prayers to the Lord that follow a format, almost an unwritten etiquette. It is not that I am saying we should not pray for healing or for jobs or any of those things. What I know I have been guilty of, and maybe you have to, is praying to the Lord as if he is some great fix it machine in the sky. How often do we just come to him with needs for others or ourselves. I began to ask myself....... Do I pray for their growth? Do I pray for their wisdom to increase? Do I pray that the Lord would reveal himself to them? Sadly, I must admit that I do not pray that way. Joyfully, I look forward to changing that.

I got to thinking, what would happened if we cried out to God for Him to strengthen other believers? Would we have so much sin in our churches? Would the world be so quick to label us hypocrites? Would our youth be growing up and away from God, instead of closer to him?
Would women be mentoring younger women? Would more men be discipleing other men? Would friends of mine from High School, that were "on fire" for the Lord at one time in their lives, would they still be living on their own with little or no mention of , or daily reliance on God? If I purpose to pray for those who when we were 16 said... "let's hold each other accountable" ...... What could God do with that? How will he change me? How will he grow them?

I don't know the answers to these questions. I do know that with God's help, I intend to radically change the way I pray for people.

Friday, July 24, 2009

somedays....

Somedays, I wonder how boring life would be without kids. Then there are days I wonder if it would be peaceful..... and quiet..... And then there are days when it is so stinkin funny, I can barely contain my amusement. Today is one of those days.....

Jeremiah was hanging out in the bathroom with Tayler.... she was washing her face, and then cleaning it up from all the mess that happens when you have 7 kids brushing their teeth in front of one mirror...... As he was hanging out, she had opened the cupboard to get out a washcloth to clean up with....... in that same place.... there happend to be some "can-nee"

It was nicely wrapped in pretty colored paper..... here he is coming to show mommy the "can-nee" that he so desperately wants to eat. Can you just see the joy and excitement of his find in his eyes? Here is what he really found.............................

So just to see what he would do........... i handed it back to him................

video

He enjoyed it so much he went back to get the rest.......... apparently his box of "can-nee" was a variety pack....

video

You can't make this stuff up..... it is too good. I am just glad Tayler had the presence of mind to grab my phone when she saw what he was doing.... so we could capture these moments for all to see. When we wouldn't let him eat the rest of the candy.... he actually threw a king size temper tantrum........ Who knew?...... you buy them all these toys.... and all they want to do is play with cardboard...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Basque Beans and Rice

I think it was May ( I say I think... because in my line of work... days blend together, children's names get confused and sometimes you forget your own... so bear with me...) Jody and I actually got a chance to get away for a few days. The company that he works for sent him to Boise, Idaho for a Skills Competition. ( I would explain what that is, but you would get bored and stop reading...) While we were away ( which is the point to this story), we ate at this FABULOUS Basque Restaurant. It is the kind of restaurant anyone who has thought about owning a restaurant wants to own. We were greeted at the door by a grand daughter of the actual Eppie. And she was probably in her 60's so this place had been around for a year or two... Now I guess I will get to the point............. THE FOOD!...... it was the BEST and the MOST food I have ever seen in my life! It just kept coming out of the kitchen. Finish a dish... more came.... finished your soup.... you got more....... They made the BEST bean soup!
Now, if you know me, and have seen me lately, you know that I really enjoy food. God gave us these things called taste buds and boy, am I glad that he did. After experiencing this most delicious food, I decided that this was one of those things I could do in my own kitchen, and personalize it with some other things I know my family likes.
I have no idea why I decided to post it on here......... clearly, I had nothing better to do one afternoon, between potty training, teaching and cooking......... than to take pictures of the food I was cooking. Maybe it was boredom, maybe it was too much Food Network the night before... who knows...........


First you brown up about a half a pound of bacon.
When the bacon is brown you add in half an onion and about 6 stalks of celery, chopped.
You want to wilt this a bit.
Then add carrots. I never really have big ones around, only the small ones for snacking, so this is probably 15-20 small carrots chopped.


Then I decided to throw in the rib meat that was left over from last night's dinner. I have added ham at this point, pork, could even put in leftover steak. Be frugal, find a way to use what you have so it doesn't go to waste.


Then you are going to add the beans. I use one package of the small red beans. I quick soak them according to the package directions with the exception that it says to soak them for 1 hour, I usually soak them for 2 at least. Then I always rinse them out, and discard the soak water.
Give it a good stir.
Then cover it with water. 6 cups usually does the trick.
Add some bay leaf, and 2 cloves of minced garlic. I know, you at thinking garlic should have gone in with the onions.... alas I will tell you no. Most cooks have a habit of over sauteeing their garlic, and causing the dish to become bitter. To avoid this add your garlic later in the process, especially when you are doing something that will simmer and cook for a few hours. No one will know you put it in later.... but the will notice if you burn it and make your dish bitter.



Cover and simmer on LOW till dinner time ( 3 hours )



Just before I serve, I cut up a package of these sausages. They are NOT spicy like you would think with them being called Chorizo. They are the Spanish Basque version of this sausage, and they are WONDERFUL!





Add 2 red bell peppers. These and the sausages only need to heat through.

I serve the whole dish over brown rice. I take a couple of Tablespoons of butter and melt it in a pan, then I add my 2 cups of brow rice, I saute the rice in the butter for a few minutes, and this keeps the rice from sticking together as it cooks. I also add 2 Knorr bouillon cubes during this process, as well as a 1/4 tsp of cumin, pepper, and Mrs Dash Chipotle seasoning. THEN I add the 4 cups of water , bring to a boil, and simmer on LOW for 50 minutes.
It really is a great hearty meal, and it is even better the next day. The kids see me bring out a bag of beans in the morning and they start to get excited, and they actually fight over the leftovers.
If you do try it... please come back and post here and let me know if liked it, ( or hated it.... I suppose I can handle the criticizim.......) and if you did how you personalized it for your family.
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