Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I would like to recognize my husband and what a hard worker he is.

He goes to work everyday (except Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday) for his family.

He makes people feel better. He improves their lives. He changes their lives.

For that, he is compensated. Today he was very well compensated.

A little after 5 o'clock today Shannon called me and asked me to check the balance on the office account online. I pulled it up, and this is what I found.

Not bad, huh?

How long do you think it will be until the bank figures out the mistake?

In the meantime, I'd just like everyone to know how thankful I am for my husband.

"In all labor there if profit..." Proverbs 14:23a

I Took the Plunge

and decided to tear the carpet out of our dining room. It has gotten pretty stained from eating in there. We have some orange stains, red stains, and other colors as well. It was time for it to go.

Art Jensen, who passed away last year, used to spend his summers with family who lived in this house. He assured us there were beautiful wood floors under the carpet. A couple months ago I pulled up a corner, hoping to find those beautifully finished floors. I didn't, so I laid the carpet back down. The house had hot water heating at one time, so there were holes where the registers used to be. I wasn't up to the project at that time.

This time we decided that we were going to pull it all the way out, with the idea that we would refinish it if we could, otherwise we would lay new hardwood on top of what was there.

The boys helped move all of the furniture out of the dining room and into the living room.

Then they started pulling up the carpet. Pretty easy job.

The lovely green pad came up next, to reveal the condition of the floors.

Then we had to remove all of the staples that held the pad in place, and the tack strips that went around the perimeter of the room.

Although there are some stains and holes that need to be repaired, we're fairly confident that we can replace them and do the job, and after sanding, staining and polyurethane, we'll have beautiful floors.

We liked the dining room so much we decided to do the living room and hallway, too.

So we moved most of the dining room furniture back in, then moved the living room furniture into the family room.

All of this was in my china hutch. It really needed to be cleaned out.

The boys thought I was a little bit crazy for vacuuming the carpet before we tore it out, but it seemed like the right thing to do.

The furniture is back where it belongs, and we've put some area rugs down. Last night the kids had a great time playing cars on the bare floors.

I knew there was a reason we were keeping those hundreds of cars around.

"In the house of the righteous there is much treasure..." Proverbs 15:6

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Church Today

As Shannon and I walked into church this morning, he grabbed my hand and asked me if I brought my tissues. I told him nope, I'm not gonna cry. I'm done with that.

That lasted about six minutes. Until we took prayer requests in Sunday school. I was able to contain it to just a little leaking around the eyes, maybe a little chin quivering.

Then during church time we were bombarded with tear-jerker songs. There are a lot of people in our congregation going through trials. Some similar to ours, some not so much, but trials all the same. One of the first songs we sang was "Blessed Be Your Name" by Matt Redman. Open this link in another window and listen along as you read the lyrics.

Blessed Be Your Name
In the land that is plentiful
Where Your streams of abundance flow
Blessed be Your name

Blessed Be Your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed Be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

Every blessing You pour out
I'll turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be Your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name

A few lines in I was a blubbering mess. Poor Naomi. When we sing she always stands in front of me with her feet on the pew ahead of us. Her sweet little pink dress was pretty sloppy with snot and tears by the time the song was over. Then Katie started crying, which made me cry more, which made her cry more...and Shannon was left standing next to us being the big strong man who has to hold everything inside and pretend this is just hard on the woman, when in reality the loss is just as great for him.

Pastor's message was very touching and timely.

We're so grateful for a church family who loves and cares for us. We choose to praise our LORD in trials and sadness. It's not easy. I thought I could bottle up all of the emotions and put them aside.

His blessings in our life way outnumber the trials. There are just too many to list. Too often I take them for granted, so I suppose I do need these reminders.

Blessed Be Your Name.

"The blessing of the LORD makes one rich, and He adds no sorrow with it." Proverbs 10:22

Saturday, August 22, 2009

He Leadeth Me

He leadeth me, O blessed thought!
O words with heav'nly comfort fraught!
Whate'er I do, where'er I be
Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.


He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden's bowers bloom,
By waters still, over troubled sea,
Still 'tis His hand that leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine;
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.

And when my task on earth is done,
When by Thy grace the vict'ry's won,
E'en death's cold wave I will not flee,
Since God through Jordan leadeth me.

by Joseph Gilmore, 1862; music by William Bradbury, 1864

"For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding" Proverbs 2:6

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Katie (5): I'm thankful for Jesus and my family and God letting us go to heaven.

Hudson (2): Peanut butter jelly

Chase (13): I'm thankful God made elephants.

Naomi (4): I'm strong (flexing muscles).

Colton (8): I'm thankful for my parents.

Jackson (14): I'm thankful that my dad is a chiropractor. It's football season.

Bryce (11): I'm thankful for God letting us go to heaven.

Alex (16): I'm thankful for ...

Shannon: I'm thankful that it is football season.

Jodi: I'm thankful for all of our friends and family who have prayed for us this week, called, and even brought us food. You're amazing.

"The name of the LORD is a strong tower; The righteous run into it and are safe." Proverbs 18:10

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Why, Mommy? Why, Daddy?

I don't have the answer.

I never will.

God chose to change the plan, and take our baby early to be with Him in heaven.

We found out yesterday. Then we had to tell our children. How can a four year old understand, when I can't? Naomi cried for hours. "Why did our baby have to die? Why couldn't our baby stay in your tummy, then come live with us?"

I don't know.

Why, Father...Abba...Daddy?

Just when we were getting excited. Just when we made the big public announcement.

We've been here and done this before, nine years ago. We've heard all of the platitudes. We KNOW God is in control of all aspects of our lives. That He knows best.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

I KNOW that God loves me and somehow this all fits into His plan. My faith is strong enough to rest in Him and accept what has happened.

It doesn't mean it doesn't hurt. It doesn't mean I have to understand it. It doesn't mean I have to like it.

I trust Him. He will continue to shape me and mold me into the person He wants me to be. This is just another step along that journey, I suppose.

I never realized just how much I wanted to hold that little baby until the opportunity was taken away from me.

Selfish, I know.

"My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding, He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints." Proverbs 2:1-8

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for March 2, 2010.

That is my due date.

We were rather surprised with the realization that we were expecting again, and I'm a bit ashamed to admit we weren't immediately jumping for joy about the news. You see, after Hudson was born, both Shannon and I had the feeling that we were "done". Never before, through nine pregnancies, had we felt that way. Surely it must be a "God thing".

Eighteen years ago when Shannon and I were doing our pre-marital counseling, our pastor asked us how many children we wanted to have. Shannon immediately answered 'ten'. His reasoning was that he needed ten teammates to join him and make a soccer team. I thought he was kidding.

Over the years, the babies kept on coming. Some were more 'planned' than others, but all were welcomed. The timing was better for some than others, but the circumstances always worked out. We have eight healthy children. Two more are waiting for us in heaven.

Our life is busy. We have church obligations, work obligations, school obligations, sports obligations, family obligations. A new baby will complicate that.

Selfish, I know.

But that was my first thought. We have had at least one baby in diapers since 1992. The end was in sight. Six more months, and I would have been done. Now I've got to tack another 3 years onto that.

Selfish, I know.

I will be 40 in February. My 'plan' was to be done having children by the time I was 30. I decided that when I was in high school. Obviously that plan was blown a long time ago, but still. Pregnancy is a lot easier in a woman's twenties than in her thirties.

Selfish, I know.

"For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed, and in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." Psalm 139:13-16

Although in my selfishness, this pregnancy wasn't in my 'plan', God had it all figured out. Who am I to argue with Him? He has carried us through trials, joys, ups, and downs. He will continue to provide all we need.

"Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one's youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate." Psalm 127:3-5

We thought our quiver was full. God didn't. We're okay with that. I can't imagine a better man to have as the father of my children. We have awesome kids. Sure, they (and we) screw up at times, but we're doing our best to "bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord." Ephesians 6:4b. That's what it's all about.

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 4

Besides, we still have one empty seat in the van.

"The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him." Proverbs 20:7

Our Anniversary

Sunday, August 9th Shannon and I celebrated our 18th wedding Anniversary. During church time, we had tornado warnings and had to evacuate to the basement of the church. We returned home to the pleasant surprise of absolutely no damage from the storm--no limbs down, no water, nothing. We were afraid of what we might find after hearing reports of a tornado touchdown 5 miles south of GC--we live 6 miles south of GC. We're thankful for God's protection to our home and family.

The power was out when we got home, so we got to go out for dinner. The whole family. Not romantic, but very satisfying, nonetheless.

Shannon is awesome. He's a great dad, great husband, great provider. I love him tremendously. He just keeps getting better and better. And he gives me just about everything I want :)

"The heart of her husband safely trusts her; so he will have no lack of gain." Proverbs 31:11


What can I say about Hudson. He's two. 'Nuff said.

"In mercy and truth atonement is provided for iniquity; and by the fear of the Lord one departs from evil." Proverbs 16:6


Here's to equal time for Chase.

He just turned 13 last month. He is taller than both Jackson and Alex were when they turned 13. Any guesses as to how tall he will be?

"Understanding is a wellspring of life to him who has it." Proverbs 16:22a


I haven't done a post yet about Jackson today, so in the interest of keeping all things fair--more or less--here's a picture of Jack.

I just bought him size 14 shoes last week. When will this end?

"My son, be wise, and make my heart glad..." Proverbs 27:11

Two Years Running

Bryce's claim to fame at Family Camp is the Big Splash contest. This year he won his age division again, making him a two-time champion.

Here are a couple photos of his belly flop.

The Approach

Admire the Form

The Victory Flop

"My son, fear the Lord and the king; Do not associate with those given to change;" Proverbs 24:21

Alex's Accident

When it rains, it pours.

Tuesday morning, while working the garbage route, Alex swung a heavy bag of trash up into the truck, and on the way it swiped across his leg and cut a gash in it. His boss took him back to the shop, got the wound cleaned up, and decided he needed some stitches. Alex drove home, and we took him to get sewn up.

He set a new Clark record: 9 stitches.

Let's pray this is one record that won't be broken for a long time.

"Like the legs of the lame that hang limp is a proverb in the mouth of fools." Proverbs 26:7

Cooking with Katie

I can't make a meal lately without Katie's help. She's always hanging around the kitchen looking for something to do. Recently she helped me make cheesey meatloaf (everything's better with cheese, right?). I didn't think she'd follow through with smushing everything together with her hands, but she dug right in and got the job done.

I'm gonna love this in a few more years...

"She also rises while it is yet night, and provides food for her household..." Proverbs 31:15

Colton's Thespian Debut

Colton participated in a play a couple weeks ago. There is a company called Prairie Fire Children's Theatre that travels around throughout the summer. They stopped in Grundy Center, held try-outs on Monday morning, practiced Tuesday through Thursday, and put on a performance on Friday and Saturday at the high school auditorium.

Colton landed the part of a two of spades in the production 'Alice in Wonderland'. Participants could be ages 7 through adult. Although the production could handle a cast in the eighties, only twenty-some children tried out. The directors play roles as well as the children/actors.

It was a pretty good production for the amount of time allotted for preparation. I was somewhat surprised that Colton agreed to participate when his friend Michael asked, but it turned out to be a fun experience for him.

Flash photos weren't allowed during the play, but we were able to get some photos after the production. They're not very good quality, but they're all I've got.

Colton will most likely participate next year, and Katie is anxiously awaiting her turn, too.

"I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me." Proverbs 8:17

We've Created a Monster

Katie is beginning Kindergarten this year. She has been begging me all summer to let her start school, but I was enjoying my summer break too much to give in to her. Monday was the big day, and all of the kids started doing Math and Science. Katie is doing Math, Phonics and Handwriting this week.

She won't stop doing school. Ever. She wakes me up in the morning with her workbook asking me to tear the page out. She's still going strong at 8:00 p.m. She's half way through what I have scheduled for her NEXT MONTH.

NEVER have my boys done this. Occasionally they'll work ahead of schedule the first week or so while the books are new and shiny, but not like Katie. I just told her she has to stop for the day, and she is pouting and telling me I just don't want her to learn more. Along with the love for school comes the drama, too, I guess.

I chose to skip Kindergargen math, and started her out in First grade. She has gotten perfect scores on both of her tests so far, and she claims she will get an A+ on everything she does this year.

She's very careful with her handwriting, and works painstakingly to get every letter and number just right. What a joy! I've taught boys for too many years. They were able to form the letters great when they tried, they just don't care about doing it in their everyday work.

I think I'm going to like this...

"Let your father and your mother be glad, and let her who bore you rejoice." Proverbs 23:25

Naomi's Accident

Last week we finished up VBS with a grand finale Family Fun Night. After all the kids had left, we stuck around to help clean up all of the decorations. As we were tearing down the puppet stage, Alex came rushing in with Naomi in his arms. She had blood pouring down her face. Apparently she had run into the hand railing outside in the dark. She was completely blindsided, as the railing is painted brown.

We got her cleaned up in the bathroom, then headed to the ER. Fortunately, Alex had come over after football practice, so we drove his car, and he drove all of the other children home in the van.

It was about 9:45 p.m. by the time we got to the ER. Naomi slept on the way there. We had a short wait before being taken back to a room, then we had a LONG wait for the doctor. We all fell asleep waiting.

The doctor came in about 11:15 and took a look at her face. He concurred that she needed stitches, and they prepared to get the ball rolling. It was pretty difficult to get Naomi to wake up. She just wanted to keep sleeping. We got her up and moving some, and tried to explain to her what was going to happen. She was still pretty groggy, but cooperative.

We wrapped her up in a sheet to keep her arms and legs still, and they placed a sterile cloth with a hole in it over her face. She wasn't wild about that. Because of the placement of the cut, she had to watch the entire process, which was a little freaky. She did a pretty good job, considering the circumstances. We got home about 1:00 a.m.

This is what she looked like Friday morning. It actually got worse before it got better. She got a lot more swelling in the eye, and it got a little oozy. The cut itself looked really good. We kept it gooped up with antibacterial ointment, and it healed well.

This is a picture from Tuesday. The swelling was gone, and she'd gotten a lot of lovely colors from the black eye.

Today was the big day to take the stitches out. At first she said she wanted to go back to the ER to have them taken out, but we were able to convince her to let us do it here at home.

Chase was Shannon's assistant because I was busy taking pictures, all the better to share with our bloggy friends! He held the tweezers while Shannon snipped with the scissors.

Half way done.

And the final product. We have some Mederma, which we hope will lighten the scar. She's such a pretty little thing, I was so sad to see her get a cut on the face. I was kicking myself for days, playing the "What if..." game. "What if I had just left a few minutes earlier". "What if she hadn't been running on that side of the church". The list goes on and on. In the end, we just have to be thankful that it was a minor injury, and she's doing just fine right now.

"Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." Proverbs 31:30