Monday, April 27, 2015

Back on Schedule.

I don’t know if this will hold true, but I had once said I would blog on Mondays.  It is Monday.  I am blogging.  This weekend – and the week in general – were quieter than most of this month.  It was a nice, and strange, feeling.  On Sunday, we decided to go to youth group even though we weren’t in charge.  Jeremy’s reasoning?  “Well, I just didn’t feel very rushed this weekend, so I thought I would throw something in our schedule to get that feeling”  (Also, we won’t have input with these guys again for a few weeks; it was good to touch base.) 

The girls and I went to watch the movie Paddington at the theatre on Wednesday.  It was Ellie’s very first movie, and Madison’s second.  It was a cute movie with a little bit of suspense.  (I didn’t remember that Paddington was being hunted down by a taxidermist at the Natural History Museum to be stuffed!)  We got popcorn because I had a free popcorn coupon for my birthday.  I upgraded it to a medium for 75 cents.  And, in case you didn’t know, they now offer both kettle corn and regular popcorn (at least at this theatre).  The lady behind the counter even offered to mix them up for me.  It was amazing!

On Saturday, the day was overcast.  I stayed huddled inside, not wanting to venture out into the gray, cold world.  When I called Steph about something though, she said she was outside weeding and it wasn’t really that bad.  That was enough motivation for us to get out as a family to the Wilderness Center for a hike.  And it wasn’t really that bad.  The girls had fun looking at the birds.

DSC_4940

Hiking on the trail.

DSC_4942

Stopping for a snack.

DSC_4952

And just hanging out. 

DSC_4948DSC_4938

Jeremy and I enjoyed the fresh air and the break from the normal routine, too.

DSC_4951

Finally, my parents celebrated their 40th anniversary on Saturday.  40 years!  What an accomplishment.  I think the biggest accomplishment is not that they are still married and living together, but that they still love each other – and you can tell.  I think there are people who are basically just living together out of convenience, which I think is not the worst thing, but not really the best thing.  So, when I see them together, and I know they are still working at being soul mates, spouses, friends, parents, grandparents, and (dare I say it…) lovers, it is a cool thing.  Even more amazing, is the way that they do this despite my dad’s health issues.  He does what he can to support mom with things around the house.  Mom has taken on the role of supporting them financially.  Dad keeps fairly upbeat about life, when I think many people would be lost in depression and hopelessness.  Mom is an encourager and a realist.  They have a good balance.  it may not be what they envisioned at this point in their marriage, but it has not detoured them from it.  So, thanks, Mom and Dad, for setting that example for your kids and others in your sphere of influence.

DSC_4412

Have a great week!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Fun Memories

The last week (weeks?) have been jammed packed.  I finished my class officially on April 6; I am glad to be done until fall.  Jeremy took another trip to California for work at the beginning of the month.  We finished getting the townhouse ready – really!  It is painted, cleaned, and ready to be sold.  That in itself is a relief; the sale will be a bigger relief.  We worked at the machinery sale in the food booth as a fundraiser for the youth group.  There was a lot of machinery, the day was nice, and lots of people came; therefore, the profit for our group was substantial.  We are so grateful for being able to do this as one of our fundraisers. 

Madison was able to go to her first non-family birthday party two Sundays ago.  Her friend, Grace, invited her to come.  We went shopping for a birthday present.  This was a difficult task because she was looking at all her favorite toys and knew she wouldn’t be getting one for herself.  She ended up picking up a Barbie and a bag of lip glosses.  It was a fun party. 

Grace's party     Grace's party2

Afterwards, we went to eat at Wendy’s with Jeremy and Ellie.  On the way, we spotted a hot air balloon.  We tracked it and watched it dip and rise a couple times.  It was pretty neat to watch; the girls had never seen one so close.

One day, we met our friends (Laura, Teagan, and Everett) at the Akron Zoo.  I had never been there before, so I was excited to go.  We took our time walking around and it only took about 2-1/2 hours.  The highlight for me was watching two brown bears playing (fighting?) in the water right by the glass window.  The kids had a great time, and it was a gorgeous (almost hot!) day.

DSC_4886     DSC_4893DSC_4887   DSC_4901DSC_4897

Jeremy and I went to the Indians game with his aunt and uncle.  It was a noon game, and although the breeze made it cool, the sun was shining.  It was fun to be outside and doing something different than normal – in the middle of the week.  (Thanks, Grandma and Papa, for taking care of the girls.)  We enjoyed lunch in the Terrace Club first.  The view from up there is pretty cool.  The food was not bad either.

Indians game

We had good seats, just under the overhang behind home plate (photo on left).  Because there were seats open in the sunshine, we asked if we could move down.  And they let us!

DSC_4904DSC_4911

Jeremy and I went to check out the remodeling they had done in the one section.  The kids club looks awesome.  May need to bring the girls this year!  They had some great food choices over there as well.  We also managed to get a picture in the block C. 

DSC_4905

I celebrated my birthday last week by… eating at the Cheesecake Factory on our last trip to Columbus, going to the Indians game, not cooking supper for an entire week (that one was unplanned, we were just that busy!), eating on my birthday with my parents (dessert being cream puffs with fresh strawberries!), and going to Bluffton for a women’s conference – but mostly to see college friends!  It was wonderful.

DSC_4935

We also went out with the youth group on Friday night.  We picked up Chipotle and pizza, ate in the park, took some fun pictures with the setting sun, and then headed bowling.  It was a lot of fun to hang out with them.  It had been awhile between Easter, the machinery sale, and busy lives since we last got together.

DSC_4918    DSC_4920DSC_4924     DSC_4934

Welp, that’s it.  I managed to clean my house today – a much needed chore!  The girls played, made a mess, cleaned it up, and ran some errands with me.  Not too much on the plate for this week, so hopefully, we will find a new rhythm.  Have a good week.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Easter!

Easter – the day of our risen Lord!  Isn’t that amazing?  I don’t know exactly how to absorb it or what it was really like.  I do know that as much as my days can drag on and I utter words of escape, I can’t imagine giving up one of my children for the sake of others.  That is what God did.  No, we don’t have to do that – He doesn’t ask us to, and it is utterly preposterous to compare it.  But it gives me perspective when I think of the sacrifice He made for me.  Not just he physical, mind-blowing painful sacrifice.  But the emotional, rip-your-heart out sacrifice.  It was just for three days, right?  Can you imagine three days without your child? Not the going on vacation freedom without your kid.  But the terror of losing them for three long days. 

The good news.  It is not just about the sacrifice.  It is about the conquering of death.  This is the truth and the power.  Christ didn’t just die.  He rose from the dead.  He died for our sins, just as our sins cause divides and slow deaths of relationships if we allow them to fester.  But He rose from the grave (sing it with me: “Up from the grave he arose, with a mighty triumph o’er his foes; he arose a victor from the dark domain, and he lives forever with his saints to reign.  He arose! He arose!  Hallelujah, Christ arose!)  This gives me hope, not just for eternal life, but for now.  I can, too, triumph over sin.  I can ask for and find forgiveness.  And I can one day be with my Lord and Savior.  What a promise!  What a gift! 

This Easter we did our usual Easter things:

Dyed Easter eggs.  I decided to try shaving cream with food coloring that I had seen on Pinterest.  I think they would have looked pretty cool.  I used brown eggs. Yep, brown eggs.  Dyed white eggs looks much crisper and colors like yellow can actually be seen.  Oh well, it was the process of it, right?

DSC_4807     DSC_4808

Easter egg hunts – three to be exact.  (Anyone know what this has to do with Jesus?)  The girls had fun.  They got lots of candy.  Ellie still wouldn’t get near the Easter bunny – maybe next year… or maybe not.  Both girls brought their babies to help them hunt eggs at the park.  Ellie made sure I took a picture of her baby with the eggs. 

Egg Hunt #1: The Park

DSC_4810     DSC_4814DSC_4818     DSC_4819

Egg Hunt #2: David and Marianne’s House Saturday (Kristen got some good pictures… waiting for them on facebook)

easter

Easter Egg Hunt #3: With the cousins (waiting in line for candy because we were too lazy to fill the eggs empty eggs = empty tomb!)

DSC_4853    DSC_4859

Madison sang in the church choir for Easter.  That was a fun addition to the usual.  She did a great job and showed great enthusiasm.

DSC_4828

We got our family pictures at church this year.  Our unusual thing was my parents (and actually Jeremy’s parents, too) were out of state.  Luke’s, Nate’s, and my families got together for Easter lunch at Luke and Steph’s house.  Ben and Steph were committed to various gatherings on her side of the family, and so we missed them that day.  But we snagged everyone for a picture.

DSC_4831DSC_4837     DSC_4842DSC_4848     DSC_4839

We had a beautiful day to be together.  It was a joy and a blessing – the weather.  We hung out all afternoon as kids stomped through the creek in their rain boots, slogged through the mud, and caught critters in the pond.  They (and we) were desperate for this fresh air!  Some more pictures…

DSC_4851     DSC_4863DSC_4867     DSC_4871DSC_4870 DSC_4875DSC_4879  DSC_4880DSC_4882  DSC_4883DSC_4873

Happy Easter, Everyone!  May the joy of a God who saves fill your lives today and always.