Friday, June 6, 2008

The Gang is Headed to Colorado for BAK!

Here's a photo of the guys (and gals) before pulling out and heading to the starting line for this years BAK! They're so excited! ;o)

My hubby is the one in the middle with the bright orange shirt. It's been 20 years since he went on a ride like this, so he's very pumped.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Never heard of these guys!

Not sure where I've been, but I love this. :o) And just so you'll know, I'm a "rock-n-roller" mom. ;o)

Friday, May 16, 2008

See? I told you the school room looked better!

I have a table in the middle of the room now, but no photo of it, yet. :)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

More moving photos

So now that I've got the dining room table moved in, and it's crowded by the enormous freezer :-P, I'm thinking it's time for a new table. My grandmother has given me her beautiful old table and chairs, but I've been afraid to get it in my home and discover we might not take very good care of it.
But maybe it's time.

I made these little memo boards myself, so just had to show them. I'd seen someone make them in no time at all on H&G channel a long, long time ago. When I discovered these boards in my mom's garage this week, I just couldn't resist. I am excited to have them hanging in my kitchen now. :-)

And here's what the school room looked like as we all began dumping our loads of books on moving day. Oh, my! You'll notice that the one set of shelves that's even remotely close to organized, is my FIAR shelving unit. LOL!

I'm happy to report that it looks much better now...but those photos will have to wait. :o)

And this is the very small living room. Not a problem, since we really don't do much living in there anyway. It's a cozy TV room more than anything else. ;)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Photo's of our new apartment!

Here's the awesome kitchen. Two double sinks (can ya tell it used to function as a fellowship hall for a church? and the counter opens into the formal dining room, ala the "garage door." ;)

This is the east side of the master bedroom. There's another closet just like this one on the west side. Dh is thrilled to know he'll have his very own closet to clutter any way he chooses. LOL

And three of the five bedrooms have these built in study nooks and double folding door closets. I can't tell you what a relief it will be to have ALL their garments hung in the closet. Yes!!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wondering how Job did it!

A couple of weeks ago, the pastor preached a great sermon on why God allows bad things to happen. And man! I was so pumped when I left the church. I mean, it was just so comforting and made so much sense.

Now, I find myself in a "losing it all" situation (or it feels like that to me), and I can't imagine how Job survived it. What must his faith truly have been like? And why would he even want a relationship with God after having everything stripped away from him?

Am I the only one looking up and saying, "What?! Weren't things bad eNOUGH?! And wasn't I trying alREADY to make things better? To do something RIGHT?! THIS? THIS is Your idea of the LOVING thing?!?"

And I'm ashamed to admit that my walk with God looks more like a swagger...or a stumble...sometimes, than a walk. But here I am...swaying to and fro again. *weep* And in the midst of it, I sense the soft strands of a rope anchored around my waist, and I'm being gently pulled forward, as I stagger down the current path, desperate to avoid land mines and potholes...thoughts and feelings of desertion and fear...shame and guilt...doubt and anger.

Then Job replied to the Lord: "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my cousel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.

"You said, 'Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dus and ashes."
Job 42:1-6

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Amazing, Amazing Sermon Sunday

I can't tell you how many Sunday mornings I just don't have the "umph" to go "do" church. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but b/c we are so limited on time, I feel very detached from the people we worship with some Sundays. It's really, a terrific place to worship...Mennonite Brethren with two services each Sun. morning, both with about 250 or so people...and we've had lots of dealings with them via the ministry, and they're great people who love the Lord. We were just so close to our former church family (of 17 years, if I recall) so it's difficult to start we just haven't tried very hard. :(

But this morning, the Spirit was moving all over the place. First, pastor read the passage from Job, where Job finds out that his family, livelihood, everything is gone. And he confesses that he came naked, and naked he'll return. So I knew the pastor was headed down a familiar "When-bad-things-happen" path. Then, the college kids who led our worship were just terrific, and I just felt the Lord wash all over me as I sang (quite hoarsely ) Amazing Love, You Never Let Go, etc.

The pastor started a four part series about answering hard questions, and the first question was "Why does God let bad things happen?"

I can't tell you how many times we get that question in our ministry, as I'm sure lots of you do, too. But the points he made were just so good. And, at one point he mentioned that sometimes we need the bad things to happen so we can be disciplined. Most of us don't like this point. :P But, he pointed out some scriptures to support this, and then said something about how, as children, we don't always like it but we need to be corrected. I whispered in dh's ear, "Don't you dare look over at insert-16yos-name-here." To which we both just laughed. A second or so passed, and 16yos leaned over to his dad and said, "Not one word from either of you." To which we all started giggling almost out of control. LOL

Anyway, the other points the pastor made were good, too. He talked about how the human race had really chosen for Him to be separate from our affairs (ala, Adam & Eve), that God is able to use horrible circumstances and even when we think things are out of control, God is really in control. These are all points I've heard (and made) before. And as much as I was gleaning from the service today, I really felt like this sermon was for someone else, too.

The rest is not for public view. :o)

Friday, March 21, 2008

I Just Don't Think It's Possible to Really Take a Day OFF!

The ministry is a busy, BUSY place. I mean, think about it for a minute: the director, one board member and I (all with families of our own to care for) live with and mentor eight women (some with children), and they each have significant problems; spiritual, emotional, physical, mental...

This means that my door is revolving. Someone is knocking all the time and in some sort of need. One thing I notice from time to time is that they believe their needs supersede anyone else's they really "need" me to drop whatever I'm doing and help them.

So the director and I came up with a plan of sorts. Each week we each take a "day off." It sounded like a great idea! Just post a note on the door to your apartment saying that you aren't available for the day, right? And on that day, purpose to take some time for yourself; read, relax, go for a walk with your kids, sleep in, turn off your phone (yeah, right!), and just sorta disengage for the day.


It just doesn't happen.

For one, my kids are still wanting to play with their friends in the complex, so they're all in and out of my apartment constantly.

Two, a note on the door saying I'm "unavailable" seems not to be a deterrent for most of these gals. In their mind, I'm here for them, so I should set aside "my day" to help them in their "emergency," which tends not to be much of an emergency to me, but I understand why it can seem like it is to them.

And three, I feel terribly guilty for laying around reading, sleeping in, or whatever. I can't seem to make myself stay away. I suppose (and I hate how pious this sounds, but...) I just feel like the Lord intends for me to give myself to others, and because of that, I wonder if I really NEED a day off. Is it possible that it's just some sort of worldly mandate I feel like I must follow? I dunno. :o/

In any event, I'm resting now, catching up on my blog (as well as some others') and I have two meetings scheduled today to meet with sojourners. I guess I'm not REALLY off today, after all. ;o)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How do I love thee? Let me count the DAYS!

I remember when my kids were very, very young, thinking to myself, "If only they could live with me forever...if only they'd need me and I could hold and nurture them each and every day for the rest of our lives." See, I was quite saddened back then at the idea of them never needing me again. After all, we waited and waited for the Lord to answer our prayers and bring us these wonderful blessings to adopt...

You can imagine my utter amazement, when I realized I was looking at the calendar and actually counting the days until the kids start leaving the nest. *GASP*

Okay...let's see here...the 16yo will probably not go to college, just because he doesn't love learning the way I had hoped, so he'll probably join the service and attend trade least two more years with him. And my 13yodd,...she's destined to stay with us til she's married, I'm,...Wow! least another five years with her. Now, what about the baby...?...Oh, my...just eight or so years to go until college for him...

Now, it's not exactly what you might think. I'm not really in a big hurry to rush them all out the door...or at least not because I'm sick of them or tired of parenting them. That's not it at all!

I think I'm just realizing that those "empty nest days" are something to look forward to, not something to dread. My children are becoming adults, slowly but surely (sometimes too surely, and for my 16yos, way too slowly *lol* ) and I'm beginning to see that...Hey! that's what I've been parenting them become God-fearing adults, capable of making decisions, investments, and even their own mistakes.

And besides,...dh and I could really use a honeymoon. ;o)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Boundaries of Jell-O

One of the most difficult things for me to do as a parent, is stick to the boundaries dh and I decide are best for our children. For example, when we were younger, and our kids were quite small, we made the decision to watch/rent only "G" and "PG" movies. But as the years have gone by, there have been movies that we both wanted to watch, and lo' and behold, they'd be rated "PG-13," or (Heaven forbid!) even "R." So, we'd relax the rule, make an exception, and now here we are with lots of "exception" and very little "rule."

I suppose much of that is natural. After all, as my children get older, I want them to begin deciding on their own a bit about what's "okay" and what's not, in certain areas.

But my kids have become masters at figuring out how to make Mom "gel" with the boundaries. Perhaps it's just a "once in a lifetime" event that would break our curfew...and then that situation seems to present itself more and more often. Or maybe it's a special show on TV that airs well past bedtime, so we'd better make sure we stay up and watch it...but then three other nights in the week have "specials" on, as well. *sigh*

I guess I just want my kids to know the difference between a boundary that has to stick, in order to protect them, and a boundary that is made of gelatin, and can be used to make life better for us as a family...whether it's more fun, or just something we would like to see happen for us. But I wonder how much of this they're truly understanding.

I suppose one way to know if the kids are respecting my boundaries, is to see if they're respecting (or even making) their own. Is school work, prayer time, eating right, avoiding certain situations, etc. important to them?

My youngest son (9yo) has had the toughest time with one boundary in particular. We live in an apartments complex. Although we're in a small town, I've made it clear that ds can NOT just walk out of the apartment without telling me he's leaving. That's tough for him. Mostly because we used to live in the country, and walking outside was not something that necessarily had to be reported, unless you were leaving "shoutin' distance." LOL! So for the last couple of years, retraining him to let me know when he's walking out the door, has been a struggle. And, consequently, he's been grounded to the apartment and from friend time quite often. :( I hate that...because I know it's probably not intentional, but is forgetfulness a good reason to soften this boundary? I have decided, no...his safety is more important.

However, recently I'm noticing he's doing much better...making sure to tell his friends whenever they come to call, that they'll have to wait on him at the door so he can tell his mom he's going to the playground. It's taken a long time, but the adjustment is finally taking hold. And since I know it is, when he does forget from time to time, I feel like I can let him "off the hook" a bit, because the rest of the time, he's doing so well remembering the boundary.

Obviously, doing this depends greatly on the kid, and how quickly they adjust once the consequences have been applied. :-D But today I'm just wondering how to manage my own boundaries, and what the Lord does to correct me when I don't do it very well. ;)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

He's becoming a man.

I posted these on the FIAR forum's re: my 16yo's recent birthday. *sigh*

D'bomb is turning 16yo!
I can't even believe it. It seems like yesterday we drove across the state to pick up this tiny little five pound baby that would change our lives forever. Now, he's 180 pounds of solid awesomeness ;-) , and I can't stand it.

We have such a short time with them, Ladies. Let's don't waste a moment!

Something Sweet to Share!

Friday night, I allowed D'bomb to spend time with friends and see a movie and such. We couldn't afford a big party for his big day, so I told him that he could do a "guy night" on Friday, and spend Sat. night (the big day) with know...his fave dinner, rent a movie, games he likes, etc. He agreed.

But Saturday, I realized that some of his friends wanted to do something with him, and I invited them all to join us for enchilada's and ch.chip cookies. One of his friends' mother actually made the dinner, so their family and ours shared a nice supper. (She also had a great idea for an inexpensive gift; sixteen days of celebration. Every day he gets 16 of something - one dollar bills, chocolate kisses, cheese sticks, I'm doing that, and writing a personal card to go with each gift, too. )

But then D'bomb tells me that he and his buddies were planning to rent a movie or two, and watch it with one of his mentors (actually, the youth coordinator we work with in the ministry here). I was disappointed, but since his dad was working anyway, and I had lots of cleaning up to do, I didn't say much. I teased him about owing me a date, and off they went.

But a moment later I sat down at the table and just started ing. I wasn't angry or anything, just missing my little guy and realizing how much he's building a life that will soon have very little to do with me. He must have sensed my disappointment. Because ten seconds later, he popped his head in the door and said, "Mom...if you'd have said no, it would have been okay." I told him to go have a good time, and that I wasn't crying because he was deciding to be with "the guys," I was just missing my little boy. He said, "Speed Scrabble later, okay?" with a giant grin on his face.

I said, "You bet," and off he went.

It's funny...about the time I feel like I'm losing him, I start to realize he's closer than I thought.

Had to share.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Success!! Success!!

I'm so proud of my ds. :o) I looked up his scores and he brought that straggling nasty "F" (due to not completing and handing in some assignments) up to a "B," just since last week. Yay, Baby! Dad and I knew you could do it!! I am just so blessed to watch him tackling the hard stuff in his new situation. Just a few short months ago I was on my knees daily, wondering if he'd know what to do with the pressures of eight new classes with eight new teachers. I think his self-esteem has just sky rocketed in the last six weeks. *happy sigh*

Lord, You're an amazing Father providing for our needs and blessing us with tremendous gifts. May we never forget how wonderful You are...especially when our circumstances don't display Your love toward us the way we'd like. Amen!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Finally opening up to Mom.

My almost 16yos finally came to me last night and admitted that he was over his head. He's been acting like it's been no big deal; trying to keep up with eight subjects in high school (after 12 years of homeschooling with Mom)and still have a "fabulous" social life with friends, movies, bowling league, and more.

Last night he texted me with my own phone (quite a trick) and begged me to let him sleep an hour later this morning, go in late to school, and told me he was ready to ask for help with some of his classes that he's been struggling to keep up in. I was tempted to give him the "you've made your bed, now lay in it" speech (shame on me). But instead, I just said three things (no lecture):

1) Are you ready to admit that you haven't been making your schoolwork enough of a priority and make the necessary changes? (homework coming before friends and fun NO MATTER WHAT)

2) Are you ready to stop arguing with me about it when I see that you're not making a wise decision (major procrastinator)?

3) Yes, you can sleep in, but when you wake up, you complete your missing assignment in History.

He said "yes" to the first two items, and heaved a sigh of relief and gratitude when I said the third.

So, this morning, he got up an hour later, worked on his assignment, and dh drove him to school. I hope he meant what he said. It took a lot for him to actually say in his text to me, "I won't ask for another morning off again...I promise!" See, it's been only five weeks since he started attending public school. And he's asked to stay home at least four different mornings already. And we've forced him to go, b/c we felt it was very important for him to have to learn that anything worth having would take doing "the hard thing." I guess after only five weeks, he's realizing just what we said was true; they don't do there what we do in our homeschool, and they require certain things that we don't think are necessary for genuine learning to take place. But, if you want to play football, you just have to do what they require. I knew it was tougher for him than he thought it was going to be, but he was SURE not going to admit that to his parents. LOL!

And of course, I'm wanting to probably make it a bigger deal that it is. But any attempt by me to do so would be met with some pretty serious eye-rollilng. LOL!

So today, I'll just praise the Lord that ds finally felt like he could admit to his "O'Lady" that he needed her. *sniff*

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Times...they are a changin!

And I'm not sure I like it much. :oP

I haven't been updating my blog much these last few months, because, as some of you know, I've been working to get my teenager ready to enter public school for the first time. *gulp* I know many moms who are used to having their kids in school all day, but I've been homeschooling for the last 12 years, and so this is alot like his first day of "K" for me. *sniff*

The transition has actually been very good for him. He's learning to answer to other authorities in his life, and having to live on a more rigid schedule. I've been a very relaxed homeschooler for the most part, so this is a good change for him, too. I think he's also realized that we aren't the only parents in the world that have expectations and boundaries for our children.

As much as I miss him being around day-in and day-out, I'm so proud of him for doing what's necessary to make his dreams come true. He only decided to go to public school this year so he could start playing football in the fall. He's very athletic, and even though he doesn't like "the system" he's having to get used to, he's willing.

I'd like to say this is a character quality he's learned from me. But I'm not sure that's the case. LOL!