Saturday, November 20, 2010

begin crazy vacation 2

It seems as though the last few months have been full of travel upon travel...currently we are on the road headed to California to catch a plane to the Big Apple....

All our adventures began in July with Mexico City.  The big kids spent some time in Tennessee... then as a family we were off to the Oregon Coast.... Now we are already part of the way into the adventure that will be NYC.

My wonderful, adorable, amazing, and mildly delusional aunt, thought that it would be a grand idea to go to NYC....  this was about oh,...  2006...  we were supposed to go in 2007....  we are a few years off the schedule, but the adventure should still be something utterly amazing.

Day one's schedule, will begin after arriving in NY at 6 am after a Red Eye flight.  I would love to give you a play by play of the day, but I just checked the calendar again and it is different from the last time I looked at it....  the one constant is the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular that afternoon..  Somewhere in there might be a trip to Coney Island... and a Nathan's hot dog.

Also scheduled into this trip is the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Empire State Building, Wall Street, World Trade Center Memorial, Museum of Natural History, Some other Museum I can't remember as I type this, a starlight cruise of the skyline, an appearance on Good Morning America, watching them blow up the parade balloons in Central Park, Ice Skating in Central Park....  oh and the whole real reason we are going.....  The Macy's Day Parade....

I am not really sure why we got a hotel room,  I am not sure we are ever going to have time to sleep with all things that we have planned to do.

It is going to be one of those trips of a lifetime....whirlwind, for sure.  The camera battery is charged.... and we are ready to roll.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Casts and Countdowns

Well today was back to the Doctor day for Hunter.  We were up early and off to the Hospital to pick up his x-ray, and then over to the Orthopedic Office for the "real" cast.  We actually saw the Physicians Assistant, and he was really nice.  He explained to Hunter that his bone bent like if you were to bend a straw too far, and kink it.   He recommended a cast for at least 4 weeks.  He also cut us a break and changed up his treatment plan for us since we don't have insurance.  He said that normally they come in every 2 weeks and x-ray and then re-cast... and that each of those visits is another $150.  So he said lets stretch this one cast for longer and save some money.  I was very grateful for that.  We haven't gotten the emergency room bill yet, but just today.... I had a $150 co-pay that will be applied to a $278 bill.  At the rate this is going, this kid's arm should be bionic by the time we are through :).  Now... the task is going to be keeping a very active 8 year old clean.... so that he doesn't get leaf bits, and dirt clods down his cast....  I am not so sure I will be all that successful........... sigh....

Now we will move on to the countdown portion of the post.....
8 MORE DAYS TILL NEW YORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

we will fly out in exactly 8 days!
The kids are getting excited....  I am doing my best to ignore all the weather we are having up here, and choosing to do my level best to not freak out about driving to CA with all the snow I know will be on the road.

My mantra over the next few days will be.... I will not panic..... I will not panic.... I will not panic....

ok... well because I am talking about it... I had to go and check the road cams.  Maybe we should leave now.   LOL
Everything is very clear.
Ok shouldn't have gone and looked at the weather forecast....
I will not panic, I will not panic, I will not panic.................

Saturday, November 13, 2010

An Encouragement for Wives

Last week I was given the privilege to share the devotion at a wedding shower for a new bride in our church.  I didn't start out thinking that it was a privilege.  I will be honest and say that I wasn't super excited about the fact that no one else signed up for the task, and as one of the shower coordinators, the devotion fell to me by default.  However, God had different plans, and my selfish desire NOT to give the devotion was not among His plans.  I think He wanted me to share some of the things I have been learning in my own married life over this last year.  I thought maybe you, my blog friends, could use the encouragement too.

So here it goes:

I really don't feel particularly qualified to offer a wedding shower devotion, only having been married for 8 years, I'm sure there is more wisdom in this room on marriage than I will ever have, so humbly I will share with you the things that God has been teaching me in the last year.

I will start with, 1 Corinthians 16:14: It says "Let all you do, be done with love."
A few months back when I read these words from Corinthians, I told God that was nice in theory, but really rather impossible in practice. I mean really?  God?  You just don't know what was going on in my life right now! I have to love him???

In the quiet of that day, as I thought about this verse from a VERY petulant perspective, giving God all the reasons why this verse did not apply to me, or the way I was supposed to treat my husband, God replied, "Yes Julie, even him.... especially now. I am working in his life. You choosing to love him helps me work in his life."

I got a twinkle in my eye, almost gleeful in my next thought......Oh yeah, I said to God.... you are going to to the heaping hot coals on his head thing... right?  'Cuz that would sure make me feel a little better.  God said, "no... (with a small chuckle) funny..., but no."

I had to ask God's forgiveness for my hardhearted-ness, for my unwillingness to do as His word commands me.  I resolved to love my husband, regardless of the choices that he was going to making.

Here is a news flash for you, there will be days, when your wonderful groom will disappoint you. When he will not meet an expectation that you have of him.  It may be the way he loads the toilet paper dispenser, or squeezes the toothpaste.  It could be the way he reacts when things happen that are unexpected. It could be the way he fails to be your knight in shining armor some day when maybe you didn't communicate the need for him to be Sir Galahad.

Whatever the situation...

God is clear.
Your job is to do all you do, in love.
My advice to you is to write 1 Corinthians 16:14 on the walls of your heart, and always choose to show love to your husband.

Another important verse to know is Ephesians 4:29:  "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth but what is good and necessary for edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers."

mmm hmmm that is a little gem I like to call the, shut your mouth Julie! , verse.  :)

As wives, we are the closest person to our husbands. We see ALL that is good in them, that is why we chose to marry them.... and honey... we see all that is bad.

Your job as a wife is to choose edifying words to speak to your husband. Yes, that means when he has left his dirty clothes on the floor for the 10th year, his shoes under the kitchen table or under the foot part of the recliner so it won't close. When he walks by that dish, his dish, for the 50th time... the one that you left for him to wash to teach him a lesson!.... When he does that annoying thing he always does.... that just makes you NUTS....  Yes, that is when you must watch what you say.

You are to choose loving and kind words to address him.  Our position, so close to these men, whom are created in the image of God, gives us plenty of fuel for a war of words.  ( Hint:  Flaming fiery tongues do not impart grace!)

Don't do it.
Stop... in the midst of your mental rant.
pray.... oh God, forgive me for the anger in heart.
and choose kind words to express what needs to be said.

You can't really be in Ephesians, one of the great books in the Bible about communication without touching on Ephesians 4:31 and 32 : "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.  And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

There is so much to unpack here in these two verses.  I suggest that you read them often.  They really are the key to how we are to behave in all situations.  The word I would like to camp out on for a moment is bitterness.  I think that it is in the beginning of the verse on purpose.  It is the predecessor to all the other words in verse 31. 

Bitterness.....  is the seed that leads to the destruction of marriages.  Bitterness by definition is what happens when a hurt, goes unresolved.

Bitterness left unchecked, in your relationship with your husband, will silently, and with precision, cut the two of you apart. It will cause you to feel misunderstood, and  that he is ignoring you. It will cause you to see him as unreasonable, because he really should just listen to YOU, your way is usually right, HE should know that by now!  It is the thing that causes you to have those metal arguments with him.... where you always win, and you always have the quick answer and the perfect cutting remark that will put him perfectly in his place. It will take away all the power that God designed for you both, in the union of marriage.

it is sneaky.

it is stealthy.

it will come upon you in the night, and grow... quietly for years.

Please, I implore you, do not let bitterness take root.  It will breed resentment, wrath, anger, gossip, all manner of un-respectful talk about your husband, the man whom you married, who regardless of his human faults, was created in God's image.
Pick a time,each week, to evaluate your heart before God. Seek His light to show you any weeds of bitterness. Let Him pick them. Go to your husband and seek forgiveness, if you need to.

Your biggest weapon in the garden of your heart to fight the weeds of bitterness, is prayer. Pray FOR your husband. Praying for him will melt the hardness of your heart.  I am not talking about the prayers where you roll your eyes and mentally ask the Lord, " PLEASE! CHANGE HIM!!".  I mean for you to pray for his relationship with the Lord.  Ask the Lord to draw your husband close to Him.  Pray for God to show you how to be a helper to your husband. Pray for the spiritual battles your husband faces every day at work.  If you don't know what to pray for, ask your husband.

Our husbands aren't perfect, neither are we.
We must remember that no matter what happens, or how much our husband loves us, GOD loves us so much more.  He is who we need to take our cares to first.  We were created to glorify GOD, and when we love and honor our husbands, we do just that.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Broken Arm

Well, it's official.  Three out of four children will be intimately acquainted with fiberglass.  Hunter broke his arm, adding him to the list of children who have been folded, spindled and broken.  This will be cast 5 for us as a family, and we will not count all the needed re-casts from a certain child who repeatedly SWAM in his cast... 

He decided that he wanted to see if he could fly like a superhero, and was rudely reminded that the Law of Gravity is still in full effect.

While he was wreathing in pain, he described it as if a 5 ft long needle was stabbing into his flesh.  He also told me at least twice that he needed to die, the pain was too much to bear.  Poor thing.  He was seriously in pain, and it was quite hard not to laugh at him and his theatrical expressions of pain. 

When the pain medicine and ice kicked in we were able to make it to the ER without screaming....
and he proceeded to charm the Australian Triage Nurse with his depiction of the harrowing event. He told her about how his dad and one of his co-workers were Veterans.  She told us how they call Nov. 11,  Armistice Day in Australia, and how there it isn't a national holiday.   He made great friends with the radiologist technician, and had him explaining what all the machines were in the room.  His nurse was a bit crabby, but the nurse who came to give him the temporary cast, he had her telling stories about her dad and his broken leg....  Hunter can make a friend with anyone... give him 3 minutes.
When we finally made it to the ER room, he had me explain what absolutely everything was on the walls....  He learned about all the equipment that was in there....  I am glad he didn't ask me to go through all the drawers and explain all those instruments.

Now we wait till Monday to get the real cast....  He can't wait....
Mom sure can....

Veterans Day

There is a time one must praise corporations for doing the right thing. 
Today, I am giving a big shout out to Applebee's.
The last few years they have given out millions of free meals to Veterans on November 11.

Yesterday being the 11th, Big Daddy and I decided to go out to Applebee's on a date.
It helps that he eats for free, makes the date cost less :)

Last night we got there after 7 pm to eat....  the place was packed.  There were decorations and balloons outside in red, white and blue.  All the servers wore red, white and blue.  The place was crawling with managers, I think they were all there... and of course there were Veterans.  There were some WWII Vets, Korean War Vets, Vietnam Vets, Gulf War, Iraqi Freedom....  The list goes on.... you name the war, action, or conflict, there was someone there to represent it.  As we sat down,  a guy at the table behind us, loudly asked, " Are you a Seabee?"

Jody's head whipped around.  He said, "Yeah."
and so began our meeting with this Army Engineer, who had worked with Seabees in a Special Operation in Belize.  He told us all about how the Seabees were better at building stuff than his Army Corps of Engineer guys.  We found out that he was in for 12 year active duty, and then went Reserve until retirement at 20 years.  He told us about his brother's Warrant Officer commissioning before he retired. Story upon story spilled forth from him, with an urgency, as if he were afraid that no one would remember these important things, if he didn't share them NOW! 

Jody listened to him with an air of respect.  Between these two men who had never met before, there was an unspoken bond.  There was the understanding of the horror of what happens in combat.  Between them both was the ache of the things unshared, the way a quiet night, is never really quiet anymore.  I got the sense from this man that he just wanted to be heard, that he just wanted to share some stories with someone that had been there.  I got the feeling as I listened to them share the names of places they had been, that every Veteran desires the same thing, to be heard, to be acknowledged, appreciated.

As our new friend left, I was able to look around the room and see who was there. 

There was a older man sitting alone at the bar.  He was dressed in his  Dress Green Uniform (Army).  He had 2 stripes.  It was just him and his beer.  The instant our eyes connected, I smiled at him.  The smile he returned was soft, slow, and sad.  I ached for him to be sitting there alone.  Five minutes later he was gone.....  I bet he just wanted someone to remember with him.

Soon there was a flash of a camera that caught my eye.  It was the bartender taking a picture for someone.  He handed the camera back to a young man who was sitting with his grandfather.  In stark contrast to the lonely Captain, there was a familial ease.  The younger was listening to stories from times gone by, learning  about life from the wisdom of a life lived where death has been faced and overcome.

As I watched the people come and go through the time we were there, I couldn't help but begin to wonder what each of their personal stories were.  Who were they before battle?   How did it change them?  As I walk beside my husband, I notice that when someone thanks him for his service, a sad sort of smile crosses his face.  It is as if the thank you, triggers a memory, one that is too sad to share.  I have seen the same look from other Veterans when I have thanked them.  I think the next time I thank one, I will ask them to tell me a story, to share with me a memory.  My willingness to listen, might be the difference for one lonely soldier, who feels that no one understands.

Thank you again to Applebee's and your willingness to honor the men and women who serve our country.  Thank you for providing a place for them to come, and see others like themselves, who have served and survived.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

To all my Soldiers

When you are a soldier, you give up your privacy.  You choose to sleep on a cot, with a sleeping bag.  You leave your wife, or your family and your nice warm bed behind. Your shower is a diaper wipe.

You face danger.  Someone, that someone else loved dearly and deeply was driving this vehicle.  His life forever altered by a click and a boom.

These hunks of twisted metal, sit on the side of the road, as new soldiers arrive and drive by.  Forever a reminder to be watchful, to stay alert, and to say a silent prayer that this doesn't happen to the rig you are riding in.

Thank you. To the man that drove that day, and to your crew that was with you.  I know you must have been frightened when the explosion went off.  I know those images will never leave your mind.  They will wake you in the night, they will cause you to look over your shoulder when you get back home..... This moment in time forever changed you all.  Thank you for your willingness to serve even if it meant your life.

Being a soldier is a camaraderie that I may never understand.  These men that serve together will never forget the names of those they served with. There is honor among them that transcends race or religion.  They had to trust completely, wholly, that the man beside them would work as hard to save their life, as they were willing to work for him. 

Every soldier, is someones son, brother, husband, father, friend.  They are names.  Flesh and blood. They are more than what we hear on the news.  They are not just a Sea bee, Marine, or a service member of the Navy, Army or Air Force.  They all have hopes and dreams.  They all want to stay alive and come home.

Today is Veterans Day.
A day that we as a country pause, and remember and thank those who serve, and have served.

What do we do with every other day that contains the same freedoms?
Do we stop to honor those who serve?
Honor them everyday.  They didn't just fight for you on one day out of the year.  They fight for weeks, months, years.... placing their lives on hold, their dreams on the back burner, to assure a level of freedom for many people all over the world, not just here in the U.S.
In my book that makes everyone of them a person of uncommon character.

I know I will forget some names here, but I want to say thank you to those who have served:
Thanks to:
Earl, Veronica, Ali, Jim, Jim, Eric, Ed, My dear Husband Jody, Corn, Bryan, Brian, Zorgo, Bill, Dave, Dad, Clark, Matt, Ken, and the many more I have forgotten the names of.

Add the names of the people you would like to thank to the comments.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another "Lost" Update

Please continue to pray for the young girls that have been coming to our Tuesday night children's program at church.  They have not attended for the last two weeks.  I am going to mail them a card in a few days to let them know how much we miss them.  Please pray that they will come back.

If you would like to be introduced to the girls read here.

Their last update is here.

There is a praise though, and I don't want to close this post without sharing it with you.  There were two new boys there this week.  They live close to our dear friends the Antos' and they were very excited to come back next week.  Please pray for them as they walk through the membership guide, and for Mr. Antos as he shares the Gospel with them.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jeremiah prays

Jeremiah is 3.  Up until the last week or so his prayers have been: "Dear Dod, pweeze hewlp me to obey da fwirst time, Amen."  This was his prayer for dinner, lunch, before bed, when asking for forgiveness.... you name it.  If he was asked to pray, this was part if not ALL of his prayer.

The bedtime routine in our house belongs to Daddy.  Not because I can't, or won't, but because he does it so much better than I do.  He enjoys participating in this portion of their day, and it shows.  He helps them with their teeth.  He makes sure they are wearing their favorite pajamas.  He makes sure they have their favorite bed time friend with them.  He pulls up the covers, tucks them in like burritos, and then he prays with them.  This is the time that he uses to instruct them, and guide them in their conversations with God.  He reminds them to be thankful.  He tells them that they should praise God in their prayers.  He tells them that they can talk to God any time they want.

As the layers and months of gentle instruction have begun to sink in and register in Jeremiah's super cute little brain.  His prayers have begun to morph.  First, he added " A-man" to the end of his prayers.  I guess he figures he is talking to one person not many, so 'men' was changed.  It was sort of cute, so we let it slide....

Now he is moving past his singular phase, and his prayers are reflecting a heart that is genuinely desiring to communicate with his Savior.
Last night Jody said he prayed , "Dear Ward ( he has changed to calling Jesus, Lord.) Pweeze, hewlp us to obey, pweeze hewlp us not to sin, and pweeze hewlp us to not mate you sad or mad.  And pweeze hewlp Daddy not to do to wort anymor."

Tonight was: " Dear Ward, (large sigh) pweeze hewlp wift us up to hevan. Pweeze help wift up Daddy, Id, Taywer, Hunter, Mommy and Shewwee up to hevan. Fank you Ward. A-man."

I look forward to hearing more of his prayers of the heart.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Happy Birthday Lisa!

13 or so years ago....  a very beautiful woman came into my life.

The hot, sexy one with the cigar is my dear Lisa.  Now, I will admit, that the way in which we met, was not ideal.  I will never forget the first time I saw this picture.  I felt like I had been hit by a ton of bricks.  "She is so beautiful", I thought.  I knew anything I tried to do from that moment on was a lost cause.

As God would have it, soon I was able to fly out and meet Lisa, this person who had changed the course of my life forever.  The first time we met was in a group of people that all knew our "story".  I was there first, and had my back to the door, talking with some people.  I knew the instant that she walked in the door.  A blind person would have known,  the room was suddenly, eerily silent.  I think half of the people expected there to be a fight or something.  In the minutes that followed, the introductions, the hugs of hello, the glad to finally meet you in persons....  was the beginning of a steadily growing friendship, that has blossomed from those first fearful moments in Memphis.

I hope that our friendship is a lesson in forgiveness.  I hope that people look at our relationship and see how Christians are supposed to act even when everyone else in the world says you have permission, even the right, to act differently.

Lisa, you are an amazing woman.  I learn from you all the time.  Your strength in the midst of your challenges, is inspirational.  This year has been tough.  Last Birthday you got a present you would have gladly white elephant-ed to anyone else in the world, and yet you face it, and all that it brings with grace.

On your birthday, I want you to know that I am here for you.  I will continue to pray for you.  I will continue to share the wisdom of the Scriptures with you.  I will promise to hug on you when the days are hard and you just have nothing left.  I promise to cry with you, and bring lots of tissue.  I hope to be a person that you can just be real with, and say " I am tired, I hurt.... I need help", and know that there will be help, no matter the time of day, or reason.

I am glad God brought you into my life.
I love you.
Have a Wonderful Birthday.

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