Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday, June 30th

Very creative title, I know! We are back into a 'regular routine' - but still quite worn out, so pardon my lack of creativity, please!

We had a rich week of fellowship with our guests from India last week. It was another opportunity to understand that we have been blessed to bless others. Despite the menu maneuvering, it was a wonderful week, and we would do it again in a heartbeat.

I ended up doing a lot of 'serve yourself' buffets. We even did a 'Ruby Tuesday's' style salad bar buffet one night and it was a hit with everyone. We ate a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, so hopefully they didn't suffer from our rich American diet too much! Those are Mums' Pumpkin Crunch Muffins, by the way. Mmmmm! I cut the sugar and made some without the 'crunch' topping.

On Friday, 'the boys' took our guests on to their next destination in Elkhart, IN. My Historian took the day off work to drive them there. The guys had a great time together, from all reports. It was a long drive - about 8 hours in the van total, but they had some good bonding time and hit a great quality buffet restaurant - with seafood and tender prime rib. Oh my.

Dreamer and I stayed home to ready her necessities for CAMP! She was so excited! We also had a bunch of laundry to do and cleaning, and it was so hot and humid. I was never so thankful for a/c, let me tell you! It is hard for me to push myself when I am already worn out, but add the heat to that equation, and I'm about as energetic as a damp dish rag!

She and I decided to put off our shopping until after the hottest part of the day, so we planned, cleaned, lazed around and finally headed to the mall at 6 p.m. What an eye opener that was for our sweet girl. She was astounded at the girls her age wandering through the mall on their own and in groups of 2 and 4. She was having a hard time with the reality of these scantily clothed girls, alone and without the protection of their family in a public place. We were both astonished to see them walking into R rated movies without anyone questioning their presence there, and we worried about the older guys we saw 'trolling' around the mall looking for trouble.

All in all, I think it helped her to appreciate our rather different approach to parenting. While she might think it might be 'fun' to have that kind of freedom, she is definitely glad that we take seriously our job of setting boundaries for her safety.

Yesterday, we had the most lovely drive up to Camp. Our Dreamer was so excited that she woke up at 5 a.m. !!!! She had a nap in the car, thankfully. It was a perfect fall day - yes, that's what I said. It felt like early fall. Cool crisp air, bright sunshine and the most amazing cloud formations. There is nothing like driving over hill and dale in northern Ohio on such a lovely day. As we turned to get in the car to leave camp .... without our Dreamer .... *sniff* .... there was a huge cloud burst and heavy rains, but it was short lived and we quickly drove back into sunshine. This is our Dreamer's third year at summer camp. This is her 'freedom in a safe place' for now, and she loves every minute of it. Me? Well, it's another opportunity to trust God with the care of the children He has blessed us with. Do I love having her away? Not so much.

We are praying that our Dreamer will have an excellent week at camp. It was quite amazing to see how the other girls had matured over the last year - we saw it in Dreamer, but just felt it was all happening too soon. It's good to know she is just keeping up with her peers. I think.

So, a week with just the three of us. We will miss our girl, for sure! However, Storyteller will have my full attention, and we will try to do some fun things, but I also have a long list of items that must be 'caught up'.

Now, my blog is sort of up to date.

Check one important item off the list!

I'm going into the Dreamer's room this morning to begin the annual 'our girls is at camp shovel out'. Please pray for me ... I may not come back out! Our girl is a 'messie' pure and simple. I'm estimating a good 8 hours just to find the floor. It's really that bad. I'm sure that if I don't emerge before supper time, they will send in the search party, but one never knows!

I'll be back!

I hope!

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

He Speaks!

Our faces were wet with tears this afternoon when we read this update on our friend Steve, from his wife Donna Lou:

Dear Friends
"No, I'm O.K.", were the first words that I have heard from Steve since the accident five weeks ago. It was raspy and quiet but it sounded wonderful. I was so surprised to hear him speak that I actually said, "Pardon?" Then Steve talked to his brothers on the phone and then our children. Here, again, is another testament to the power of prayer. I asked you to specifically pray for his speech and only days later he is talking. God is so good to me.

Can you believe God's goodness? We are so blessed!

So, are you ready to pray some more? I sure hope so, because he needs some more prayer.

I spoke with his doctor yesterday about his specific injuries. I have been concerned with his vision as he seems to be grabbing for things but is about 4 inches off of the mark. The doctor said that the hemorrhaging at the back of the brain has caused vision field loss and that is permanent. So, if you could pray for that and prove him
wrong that would be wonderful!

Is anything too hard for God? No! Please pray. God is able.

I'm not forgetting little Elysha and her family, but there just isn't much to report. She is struggling with seizures and her family is struggling with exhaustion. Please keep praying. She will be going home to be held in the arms of Jesus any day now, but the waiting and watching is so very hard.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tomatoes, potatoes and cheese - OH MY!

I have had a startling revelation today.

All of my favorite main dish meals - my old stand by 'quickies' contain - either tomatoes, potatoes or cheese - and many of them contain a combination of two of the three. Wow!

I know, this is deep stuff. I'm sure it says a great deal about my quiet, shy, Plain Jane personality.

The problem is, our guests can't have any of those foods.

Needless to say, my carefully laid out menu plan and the grocery shopping I did in accordance to said plan - are shot.



Now, the very worst part of all - even when dinner isn't great, I can usually pull off a decent dessert - but we are offering hospitality to one serious diabetic, and one borderline. Since I have no desire to cause any harm - I can't even wow them with a 7 layer chocolate pie!

Good thing I'm a 'plan B' kinda woman. I always say, better to bend than to break! I can be flexible - I may not be Gumby, but I can adjust.

Well, usually, I can adjust - but my brain is sort of .... stalled.

Did I mention that my stove is giving me fits??? It's been working badly for a couple of weeks and we have a new stove on order, but I'm limping along trying to trick the old girl into just a few more meals - tricky business at best. Tonight the apple crisp got dark on the top before the apples were softened - that happens at 500 degrees - which is where my oven likes to bake these days! When it will turn on at all.

So .... just so this doesn't sound like a driveling self-pity party, I am going to beg and plead graciously ask for your help.

Gumby couldn't make it without his faithful friend and sidekick, Pokey, and in the same manner, I desperately need your ideas.

On hand - ham steaks ( I was going to glaze them, but that's too sweet), chicken breasts (I had planned Chicken Parmesan or Chicken & Cheese Tostadas, but that is cheese and tomatoes), eggs (I had planned a quick crustless quiche for lunch - but that takes cheese), sausage patties (I was planning Mommy McMuffins, they might still be good without cheese - right?), and homemade pizza fixings (also cheese). My pantry is well stocked - but mostly for tomato based dishes. We have lots of fruits and veggies on hand, thankfully.

Three breakfasts (pancakes and waffles were on the menu, but too many carbs and maple syrup is too sweet, I'm guessing). Three lunches (one must be packed for the road). Two suppers.

And not an original idea in my head.


Bless you ...

Monday, June 23, 2008

Piece of cake!

They say it is usually the simplest solution that works best, right?

Well, I'm guessing this is the simplest solution of all!

If "Mr. Not Me" and "Miss I. Don't Know" have recently visited your home, as they have ours, you might just find this tip handy.

WHEN for some reason your computer's mouse ceases to function, effectively disabling your computer, and if, despite repeated attempts to rectify the situation by various means, and yet you remain stumped, having already:
  1. Properly questioned all of the USUAL suspects : "Mr. Not Me" and "Miss I. Don't Know"
  2. Rebooted the computer multiple times.
  3. Ensured the mouse connection was secure.
  4. Re-installed the mouse software.
  5. Pulled out a few hairs, gray or otherwise.
  6. Hoped that you didn't have to tell your hubby about another 'dead' household item $$$$
  7. Prayed for guidance.
THEN - and only then, you might just try this:
  1. Turn the mouse over and remove the lovely orange post it note from the optical eye thingy.
I promise you, it will make a world of difference.

See? Piece of cake!

DISCLAIMER: Now, you realize that you have just taken computer advice from someone who spent her entire high school computer class time in the Home Ec. room helping her substitute teacher (fresh from teacher's college) learn to sew enough to teach the 9th grade class to make a pillow case.

Experience is the best teacher, right?

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Special Company

This week we are honored to be hosting a couple from southern India who are Brethren Missionaries there. We met them for the first time yesterday. They arrived last evening just before supper and we plan to take them to their next destination on Friday. This morning they both spoke to our local congregation and shared the work of the Lord in India. It was such a blessing to hear how prayer is changing the hearts and lives of people there, many in very desperate situations.

They showed us a DVD depiction of a young boy who was once a rag picker, and is now a Pastor to a small village church. All I could think about as we watched him pick through heaps of refuse to find filthy rags to sell were our own children. What if that was our son or daughter, starving to death in the garbage dump? My mother's heart just broke. Currently, the Brethren orphanage is home to 80 such children, boys and girls who are in need of forever families. The need is so great.

I often wonder about the heart of God. If my heart is so compelled by the needs of a sweet group of children, what must the heart of God feel when faced with the needs of the whole world? For me, it is utterly overwhelming. I want to do more - in truth, I would love to bring them all home and fill up our house with their happy voices. We do help with these ministries financially, but it saddens me to think how little our bit of help actually does. In my heart of hearts, I cry 'more, more, more - we need to do more!'. Yet we are compelled to continue to help as God has called us - and not to give up hope. We should never throw up our hands in despair and declare that it will never be enough. God will take our small offering of mercy and multiply it for His glory. He does it all the time.

God is not overwhelmed by the needs of His creation. Our resources are limited, but God's resources are vast and unmeasurable! His goodness and compassion are perfect, whereas, I am only touched briefly by the faces of the children. Other things will cloud my vision, will distract me from my desire to help, and will demand my immediate attention. God's desire that all would be saved, and none be lost, is from all eternity. At creation, He knew the hearts of man, and made provision for our salvation through His Son. He knew that all creation would groan because of the effects of the sin of mankind. He knew the desperate wickedness, the wars, and the poverty. He knew about the little boy rag picker, saved from starvation by His mercy, and brought to a place of safety and love, where he was shown the Good News and given the opportunity to accept the gift of salvation. He weeps over the child who dies despite the best intentions of those who have so much.

I am glad that He is God and I am not.

The other day our Storyteller asked me an interesting question.

"Mommy, what if God made a mistake?"

"He wouldn't Chum - He is God."

"I know Mommy, but what if He did - just one little mistake?"

"Then He wouldn't be God, Chum."

He paused to think about that for a while - I could almost see the thoughts he was thinking. After a look of horror and then shear terror, he jumped up and proclaimed,

"Mommy - I am SO GLAD that God is GOD and that He never makes a mistake - we'd be in SO MUCH trouble without God. We wouldn't last a second!"

"Amen, Son, amen."

I want to encourage you to open your home to missionaries when you have opportunity. It is a blessing, and so encouraging. We had some interesting comments from some of our fellow churchgoers who seemed to think that we are doing something unusual. Should it really be so uncommon? Where did we get away from practicing Biblical hospitality? I'll admit that I was a little nervous about feeding them things that they might not like to eat, but my Mum, my good friends, and my husband all encouraged me to make the things our family likes, and just trust that would suffice. So far they seem to be very appreciative, even though our meals are somewhat plain.

Our home is a gift from God, and we want to use it for His glory - while opening your home to others might be a bit uncomfortable at first, practicing hospitality is always a double blessing.

Do not forget or neglect or refuse to extend hospitality to strangers in the brotherhood--being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously, for through it some have entertained angels without knowing it.

Hebrews 13:2

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Refreshing Peach Fizzy

Just popping in to share quick recipe that we really enjoyed yesterday when we had a friend for lunch on the patio! A bright spot in the middle of our day - the friend, not the Fizzy, but it was pretty nice too!

Refreshing Peach Fizzy

2 fresh ripe peaches, skin removed and sliced thinly

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 can Welches White Grape and Peach 100% Juice frozen concentrate

1 liter 7-Up, well chilled


Place peach slices in the bottom of an attractive 1 1/2 liter juice jug or in a punch bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and let them sit, room temp. for about 30 minutes or until the juices start flowing. Add frozen juice concentrate, and give it a stir. Add 7-Up and ice and stir again - gently! Enjoy on a warm summer afternoon. Not so sweet that it doesn't quench your thirst, but not tart either. If you are getting tired of lemonade like we are, this might be a nice treat!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Please excuse me!

I'll be stepping out for a bit. You see, when my heart attitude is poor, it shows around the house. I have tackled Mount Iron-more - and won! What a relief! The rest of the house is another story. I have a lot of catching up to do. Piles of papers. Piles of junk. Piles of books. Now 'camp laundry' - phew! Fabric that is calling out to me to do something with it. Sorting and tidying up to do everywhere - and company to prepare for.

I've been praying for strength. I think my chest cold is finally completely gone. I woke up without coughing up my lungs yesterday for the first time in almost three weeks. I am thankful for that, and for the Lord working on my heart. It is easy to get discouraged, but much harder to see the joy again. I think this might just be an ongoing battle as part of my liver problems. Something I need to accept, watch out for and guard against. I hope to be back in a few days.

In the meantime, I've been praying and thinking a lot about spiritual discernment. How do you teach children to be discerning? Can it be 'taught' or is it simply 'caught'? What are you doing to impart discernment to the young people in your life? I'm finding this to be a difficult character quality to work with the children on, and it is greatly needed. I am praying for wisdom particularly in this area this week. It's been a comfort to me to find again and again that God's Word is not lacking in answers to my many questions.

James 1:4-6

New King James Version

But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.

Our Storyteller came home from camp this evening humming this old favorite. I asked him to sing it all for me. What a joy to hear these truths sung from the trusting heart of our little boy!

More Precious Than Silver
Words and Music by Lynn Deshazo
© 1982 Integrity's Hosanna! Music

          Lord, You are more precious than silver.
          Lord, You are more costly than gold.
          Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds,
          And nothing I desire compares to You.

          Lord, You are more precious than silver.
          Lord, You are more costly than gold.
          Lord, You are more beautiful than diamonds,
          And nothing I desire compares to You.

          And nothing I desire compares to You.

I'll be back soon! Thank you all for your kind comments and words of encouragement! I so appreciate you all!


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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Listening at the kitchen door

It's good to learn a little something new everyday. Today I learned something that might be helpful to you, just by listening at the kitchen door.

We did make it out for lunch and it was so much fun! We went to a small local très chic cafe. When I say small, I mean their seating permit is for 34. Cozy. Very tastefully decorated. Lots of black toile and good art. It was crowded - we had to wait 25 minutes for our late lunch. That's always a good sign - the food is really fresh and good. It's also expensive, which is why this was such a treat. The best part is that, thanks to my generous friend Mrs. M, I had a gift card to use.

We were seated by the kitchen door - not our preference, but we are pretty easy about that kind of thing. Now, if it were a rare romantic evening out with my Historian, a quieter, private table would be in order, but for lunch for us girls, it was just fine.

Apparently there is a regular clientèle to this little cafe - and we aren't a part of it. We weren't greeted by name, we didn't request 'our' table, and we didn't order 'our' usual. We didn't frown when they were out of our favorites, and we didn't call over the owner to complain about anything. Not once. Still, we were treated kindly, served promptly, and I even overheard some lovely remarks about the 'super polite mother/daughter duo at table 2'' through the kitchen door. Manners training is really paying off - at last! I was beginning to wonder if this day would ever come.

Lunch was delicious, fresh and wholesome. Beautiful presentation, appropriate portions and a lovely blending of flavors. Nothing we couldn't enjoy at home, but sometimes it just tastes better when some one else makes it for you. We both ate slowly and savored both the food and the atmosphere of the cafe. It is very hard not to hear snippets of conversation in a cafe so small and crowded. Some things we heard made us smile and give one another 'the look'. It's fun to be the Mommy of a ten year old girl!

One other young girl in the cafe was displaying horrid table manners, which caused our Dreamer's eyes to widen. I noticed her own table manners improved after noticing how unappealing talking with your mouth full is from the other side of the table. Our Dreamer is having a really difficult time with her latest orthodontic device, so it is quite an effort to chew and keep her mouth closed. She slips up occasionally. We all look forward to it's removal, since she is very hard to understand and speaks as though her mouth is full of cotton. She is getting very tired of repeating herself.

When it came time to pay for our meal, I gave my gift card to our server. I could hear her through the kitchen door quietly lament our use of a gift card to another server.

"Mother/daughter at table 2 is using a gift card - no tip there."

Her co-worker agreed.

"I have yet to get a tip when they use those gift cards. I wish we didn't sell them."

Our server handed my gift card back to me with a gracious smile and noted the balance remaining for me. She turned away, and I expect that she didn't hurry to pick up our bill folder after we exited.

It was quite an eye opener for me. I rarely eat out without the Historian, so I rarely pay the server or leave the tip. He takes care of all that. I suppose you all knew all about this, but it never even occurred to me that this is an issue for wait staff. When a credit card is used, a tip can be added to the total, but apparently this isn't the case with gift cards. Now, I had planned a cash tip, as is our usual practice, so it wasn't a problem. I hope that the unexpected generous tip that I enclosed in a 'Take a Tip' Gospel tract was enough to give her an incentive to actually open the little tract and read it, but I'll likely never know.

Especially since we're not going to become regulars, we're not going to ask for 'our table' next time or order 'our usual' every week. We'll save the cafe for really special occasions, and make it our girls treat. Perhaps when Grammy comes for her next visit we'll treat her to lunch at the cafe - just the three of us. We might even share an English Tea cake with her.

Maybe we'll learn some other interesting things through the kitchen door.

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A lot to smile about

I realized again this morning that I really do have a lot to smile about. Some of the circumstances of this week have really gotten me down. I've been avoiding blogging because I was having a hard time finding tidbits of joy in my day to day.

It's not because they weren't there. I just wasn't looking.

This week our children attended Vacation Bible School. They loved it! This was the first year in forever that I wasn't a part of the planning and preparation for VBS. I am always there - but not this year. I wasn't feeling up to it.

So, each day the children went and I had 2 1/2 hours - child free. Each day. Unheard of. I almost didn't know what to do with myself, but I figured it out. It was weird, but I sewed a bit, cleaned up a bit and dabbled in the garden. All without children. It was quiet. Too quiet.

It made me think about what life would be if they were in school like 'normal' children every day. My house could be clean. My sewing pile could be finished up. I would enjoy seeing them at the end of the day. I realized that those things are good, but not as great as being there when my children are learning. Seeing them work, grow, play, learn and rest brings me joy. It is a privilege to be a homeschooling mom, and I need to thank the Lord for allowing me to be home.

It took until Thursday for me to stop feeling sorry for myself because I am not energetic enough to do VBS this year, and to appreciate the reminder of the privilege I enjoy in being at home with our children. I'm a bit of a slow learner!

The children came home from VBS each day with a new song of praise and a short verse to learn. The Bible stories were familiar, but they gained new insight into ways to apply the truth of God's Word in their everyday lives. They came home tired, but smiling, eager to share their morning with me. They also spent time with some children that they don't usually get a chance to get to know. The Storyteller made a new friend! Friends are definitely something to smile about.

Right now, our Dreamer is talking on the phone to her dear friend Dancer, who recently moved to New Orleans. Her family has a home, and they are doing well. Her Daddy is still looking for work, but they are beginning to get settled. We miss them terribly, but we are happy that they are getting a fresh start in a new place.

It is a joy to hear her talking with her friend. Their conversation must be a nice one, since our Dreamer is smiling and laughing. She has even forgotten our lunch date, but that's fine - it can wait!

We are having a girls weekend, since the guys are at Camp Bethany. I hope they are having a great time. The Historian is not a camper, but Storyteller loves camp. I appreciate that our Historian is putting aside his personal preferences to take our son on a fun weekend adventure. Next year he will be old enough to go to camp alone for the week, but we'll see how his maturity level is! I am praying that I will be well enough to volunteer in the kitchen, if he isn't ready. We'll see what another year brings. Camp is something to smile about!

To start off our girls weekend, we just hung around. Dreamer is a reader and loves peace and quiet. Something she doesn't always get with her younger brother around. We played UNO after supper until 9:30 pm. It was fun to just spend time with our daughter, laughing and talking. Something precious to smile about, for sure.

Today we slept in. Yeah! I wanted to get my ironing finished, which I did this morning! I let Mount Iron-more grow to catastrophic proportions in the last few weeks! It had taken over a chair and a basket and there was nothing for anyone to wear! It took me 5 1/2 hours total , but I tamed that nasty mountain. I am missing Michele's help with the ironing each week, and with my chest cold hanging on for so long, I really got behind. An empty ironing basket is really something to smile about!

Now, the rest of our day is free to do girl things, so I am off to follow our daughter's lead and enjoy the day with her. Maybe we'll still go out for lunch - after all, it's our day!

Definitely something to smile about.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Works For Me Wednesday #4

Are you having trouble with fruit flies? We keep a bin on our counter top by the sink to collect the daily fruit and veggie scraps to compost outside - unfortunately, it attracts fruit flies. We don't care for fruit flies, but I wasn't about to pay $9 for traps for them either, so I used an old fashioned remedy, with a twist. I was planning to make my usual paper funnel and stick it in the top of a jam jar with an inch or so of cider vinegar in the bottom, but then I spied my spice jars! Perfect! The holes in the glass spice jar lid are big enough to admit the willing victims, but they can't seem to figure out how to get back out! Trapped!
So far I have had to empty the spice jars daily - that's how successful my traps are! Or, that's how infested we were ....

So, the simple solution in a nutshell:

Pour 1/2 inch of apple cider vinegar into the bottom of an old glass spice jar. Put the shaker lid with the holes in over the top. Set on the counter and watch your intended victims gather. Clean out the jar often, since it is very unappealing to host dead flies in your food prep area. Rinse jars and repeat!

Now I know why an older gentleman in our first church referred to fruit flies as vinegar flies - they love it! He often told me stories of all the flies that used to collect around the barrels of pickles his Ma put down each summer, and now I know why. Live and learn.

Be sure to check out all of the other great tips at Rocks in My Dryer.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Our problems seem so very small in light of the difficulties faced daily by so many others. Two special prayer requests on my heart tonight.

Do you remember this little Sweetheart? Elysha is 7 months and 1 week old. She has been a fighter from the very beginning, but it appears now that her battle is almost over. Please pray for her family. You can see pictures and read updates here. They are clinging to the Word of God,

"My flesh and my heart fail, but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever."
Psalm 73

Also, we recently got an update on our friend Steve who was injured in a dirt bike accident on May 19th. Steve's brain has a diffuse axonal injury, but he is beginning to 'wake up'. There is good news.

Donna Lou writes:

Steve now needs constant care from a loved one because he is so active. He would climb out of that bed and attempt to crawl down the hall if we let him. His eyes are open most of the time. Sunday was a day full of wonder as we watched Steve sit up in a chair and take the lid off of a bottle and drop objects into it. He can use his feet to bring a stool over and cross his feet up on it. He is like a little child who has discovered a new ability and practices it over and over. He is non-stop action until he crashes for a two hour nap once a day and twice during the night!
As I mentioned, he now needs constant care since the nurses would have to drug and tie him as they can not give him their undivided attention and can’t risk him getting out of bed. The nurses are amazed at our support system that our family is so blessed with. Obviously, I can not be with him all the time so others have been filling in when I am not there, even all night long. That is such a blessing to me.

Father God, You are sovereign. Your wisdom is perfect. Your plans are good. May our faith be increased as we see the unfolding of Your will. Strengthen these dear ones. Bring peace, as only You can. Our hearts cry out to You. Our trust safely rests in You. Your will is our desire. Amen.

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Saturday, June 7, 2008

When you pray, rather let your heart be without words
than your words without heart.
~John Bunyan

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Does it count as 'Family Night' ...

when you spend it at the Emergency Room? I'm just wondering! That's where we were last evening - as a family.

Yesterday afternoon, I was ironing, and since it was over 90 degrees outside and very humid, I decided to let the kids watch a video. Partly to keep me company, and partly to keep our Dreamer from having trouble with her asthma. Naturally, the rare treat of a video calls for another favorite treat - popcorn! I made 'butter and salt' for Storyteller and 'cheddar cheese' for Dreamer and they happily munched away as they watched 'Lassie'. I ironed - not too energetically, because I am still fighting a chest cold, but I was making some progress on Mount Ironmore.

Than it happened - The Storyteller put a popcorn kernel IN HIS EAR!!!! Let's keep in mind that while he is almost 8 years old, he is still very impulsive, and doesn't think of the consequences of his actions quite as, um, thoroughly as he aught to.

He immediately knew he was in trouble this time and tried to stick his finger in his ear to get it out, succeeding to shove it further into his ear canal. He panicked. Did you hear the wailing at your house?

After calming him, I did what all good mothers do these days - I Googled it! I found out that there are not too many home remedies, and a trip to the E.R. is almost inevitable. I read one blog where a dad was successful in extracting a popcorn kernel with a straw by sucking it out with all of his might. We tried that. We even connected the vacuum to the straw. It didn't budge.

We packed a book and activity bag and headed to the E.R. for the evening. Thankfully, they got it out - after a few tries. They used a vacuum, tried to pry it, and finally grasped it with alligator grips. It only took 2 hours.

I'm not saving the kernel for his scrap book.

After all we already have a very black dime that once made it's way though his digestive track - getting painfully stuck once - while we were on vacation a few years ago. We don't have any photos of that vacation, but a number of x-rays documenting the path of the dime! Along with a receipt for the two quarts of blueberries that finally made the dime's passage possible.

So, we're not keeping the kernel.

Does a trip to the E.R. for popcorn kernel extraction count as a 'fun family night'?

I'm just wondering.

For those who wonder what the result of sticking a popcorn kernel in one's ear might be - well, ear drops every four hours for 7 days and no swimming, bathing or showering for 5 days. Of course, a follow up with our pediatrician next week is also required. His ear drum is scratched. So our E.R. visit was just the beginning of the fun.

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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tidbits of joy: electricity

Five short hours without power have once again opened my eyes to our pathetic dependence upon all things electric. It's sad really. The thunder, wind, hail and rain storms that have gone through our area in the last 24 hours have been devastating for many. I have not heard about tornado damage yet, but that's a distinct possibility, from what was predicted. Flash floods are forcing people from their homes and though I have not yet heard of any deaths, there usually are those who get caught in the floodwaters and loose their lives. Many roads in our area are closed, and all day long our road has been littered with tree trimming crews and the Power Company trucks. I'm sure many of them have been working all night, and that's not an easy job.

For our family, it's been little more then a minor inconvenience. We lost a good night's sleep - though the children slept soundly, many tree branches, a layer of dirt and mulch from the gardens, a few plants, and our power for 5 hours. Our septic system is once again filled with ground water and the sump pump is working like crazy now that the power is back on. I must wait to do laundry until the groundwater has dissipated. My husband had to take three different routes to avoid the water, but he made it to work. We have so much to be thankful for.

We did school work by candlelight this morning. That was fun. Dreamer wasn't able to do her computer work - and she found that fun too! The children played games and only had one scrap. Perhaps a record? Board games bring out their competitive natures like nothing else does. Our yard is a mass of puddles with some parts underwater, so there is no going out to play. Perhaps if the Storyteller didn't have the tail end of a cough, but since I can't wash what will inevitably get wet/dirty/ruined, we'll stay inside. Maybe a walk later.

For now, I am just really happy to have the power back on. We have a freezer full of food, and I really wasn't up to throwing a 'grill everything in the freezer' party to use it all up. Everything is still quite frozen, thankfully. I also really like that we have water again - one of the drawbacks of our current well system - no power = no water.

Incidentally, on my 'home chores list' I moved this notation up a notch:
- look for a manual well pump that can be attached in emergency cases, and in the meantime, remember to fill all the water jugs when bad weather approaches.

We use a lot of water!

I am so thankful that I cut a bouquet of peonies before the storm. They are gracing our table and filling the room with sweet fragrance. The ones that remained on the bushes in Mr.Neighbor's yard are utterly flattened. So sad, but so often the way. We don't usually enjoy a long season of their beauty before the rains generally destroy them.

I hope all is well with you all! Did you get the brunt of this weather system? If so, how did you fare?


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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Technical Help Needed

Last Summer I made Discovery Journals for our children and they were a big hit with our children. I made them in Microsoft Works so they are .wps documents and a bit on the lengthy side! I tried to e-mail them to friends who were interested in doing them with their children, but they were unable to open them. I did do some 'paper copies' to send in the mail, but this summer I would like to offer it again for those days when the kids are looking for something to do!
So how do I make this file into a document that others can either download or receive and open as an e-mail? Remember, I am barely computer literate and don't have a lot of software options. It's hard when you want to share, but you just don't know how!

I appreciate any technical help you have - but please make sure it is simple!
Thank you so much!

UPDATE: I tried to convert it to an Adobe file using their free trial - it timed out before the conversion was completed. Twice. It is 30 pages long and there are quite a few little clip art images scattered here and there. The cover page is a separate document since it is full page format and I can't figure out how to merge them since the 'columns' feature applies to the whole document and even with a page break I end up with columns in my title pages. Ick! Now why didn't I take computers in school????

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Seeking Prayer

A friend of ours from our former church family in Ontario, Canada was injured in a dirt bike accident on May 19th. He has been in a coma ever since. He is a very wonderful crazy fun kind of Daddy to 4 great kids and wife to the amazing Donna Lou.

She writes:

There are many positive points to mention. His spine and neck bones are good. His overall state of his neck will be determined after he wakes up. He has moved all four limbs. He responds to me talking to him and has squeezed my hand 3 times. I think he just needs more time for his brain to heal before he will wake up. It may be days, weeks or months. Then, it will be more months before he is back to the busy Captain Fun that we know.
I know there are many people praying for Steve and that is so reassuring. Thank you for that. Please pray for his body to be healed from head to toe, for patience and endurance for me and his family, and for our 4 children who are waiting for their Daddy to come home. That is probably the best way for anyone to help.
This was simply an accident. Steve is a very skilled rider who was been riding since he bought his first dirt bike when he was 15. He built a dirt bike track with some friends and rides there regularly with them and our 11 year old son, William who also dirt bikes, and our other sons, Andrew and Isaac, who ride ATVs.
Our life has changed in an instant but I am counting on the fact that God stays the same.

And in an update Saturday:

Recent days have not been good for me as the roller coaster of emotions has been extreme lately. Yesterday brought the results of Steve's MRI. As I mentioned before there are a lot of positives which had the doctors thinking that he should be waking up soon. Now the doctors know why he hasn't woken up. The MRI shows that Steve's brain has diffuse axonal injury. That is basically when there has been a rattling and shearing of the neurons (the brain cells). This is a severe brain injury where brain cells are damaged. The cells will either repair themselves or die off. We don't grow new brain cells. What this means for Steve is that he will not be fully functioning in some ways, such as speech or movement, memory, etc. We really won't know the extent of it until he wakes up or how much the brain will compensate for the loss and what he can relearn.

As you can imagine, it was tough news to take. There is even more to the report that I can't bear to tell you or even think about.

If you would like to follow the updates, the link is Elmvale Community Church and look for STEVE'S UPDATES. If God lays it on your heart to pray for this dear family, please pray.

Thank you,

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UPDATE: Steve opened his eyes on his own Sunday morning while a special prayer and praise time was going on at Elmvale Community Church. Donna Lou is giving thanks for our prayer support and for the slow awakening of Steve.