May 14, 2009

We met some neighbors...

So we had our walk-throughs today before our closings. (Not sure how much I've written on here, but we're buying the home that belongs to our buyers in order to free them up to buy our house.) While we are very thankful for many things about this move, there are a few things about this house we will miss as well. We have a 180 degree view that is absolutely beautiful, and the yard is a great yard for kids! These are the two big things that are such a part of our every day lives and we're sad to leave them! Actually, I didn't realize how much I had gotten used to having this view until I stand there without it.

We've been talking up the new house with Jacob especially as he's having a hard time being excited about it. He's not too keen on change to begin with, and he's losing a lot from his perspective... a great bike riding driveway, his sandbox, more than enough play space, and a safe quiet yard. I've been sad about these things too, but I'm excited that there are fewer bathrooms and less square feet to clean! Not to mention we're dropping percentage points and years off our mortgage and quite a bit in monthly expenses!

This whole transition has been a bit odd, though. Ordinarily when a family buys a new house, they choose their favorite among the options. In our situation, we're buying theirs just so they can buy ours. We prayed for a buyer for our home for such a long time, but we didn't expect the Lord to bring a buyer with a home we needed to buy. It's just not what we expected. But it is what it is, and we don't want to be un-thankful for what the Lord has brought us. We are excited to be selling! It's just so different than we expected, so it's taken some time to get used to. We also know the Lord knows what's best for us, and that He has something good in store for us!

Anyway, tonight we were doing our walk throughs back and forth and while we were there we discovered several fun things!
~There is a huge tree with a really high, even branch that will be perfect for two swings!
~There are two birds' nests! One has freshly hatched baby birds and the other has cardinal eggs still cookin'! (I have been thinking about where I should put my birdfeeders so we can draw birds right away. I didn't expect them to be there waiting for us!)
~There is a sweet, Christian couple that is just moving in across the street. They were outside tonight and we met them and talked for a bit. They are 60 or 65 I'd guess and seem really kind! (They are good friends with our realtor, so this is not all assumption.) The man loves to garden and work in his yard, and said he'd love to help us anytime we need to know about plants or trees. I told them we homeschool and that we love to do nature study and they were encouraging about that! When Mattie came over, the woman cupped her hands around Mattie's face and asked her what her name was. It was just so sweet! Our realtor said they love children and they'll enjoy watching them play while they're outside.

There are definitely other good things about this house, but these were three surprises I got tonight. Just little reminders that He provides the small things for us too, just because He loves us.

We close on Monday and move on the next Saturday!

The Next Survivor

I've seen this before but it always makes me laugh!


Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for sixweeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, and complete science projects, cook, do laundry, and pay a list of 'pretend' bills with not enough money.

In addition, each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays of all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time--no emailing.

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.

He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.

He must also make cookies or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear makeup daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches, and have extreme, unexplained mood swings but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least once to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book to the kids each night and in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7:00 am.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks, and each father will be required to know all of the following information:
each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth, and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drink, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if...he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

If the last man does win, he can play the game over and over and over again for the next 18-25 years eventually earning the right To be called Mother!

May 12, 2009

Mattie's First Recital

So the little girl had her first ballet recital on Friday night. First of all I have to say how thankful I am that I've chosen this dance studio! The recital was so glorifying to the Lord. The songs were carefully chosen and beautifully choreographed, (and this is coming from one who has had little appreciation for dancing in the past). The studio also seems to have a high standard of excellence, something I looked for when choosing it.

Mattie LOVES her teacher (and it's definitely mutual), but more importantly, her teacher LOVES Jesus!

Mattie and Miss Shanny

Her routine was to "Let Your Light Shine" and it was perfect for all those cute little three year olds!

Here they are all spinning at once. Soon Mattie starts getting dizzy and a bit shaky!

There was no doubt about it, Mattie knew exactly what she was doing!

I snuck up next to the photographer while he was taking pictures. (I'm going to have to take her for a cheap package somewhere with a white background.)

Here's her class. I think a few of them are in pain...

Just hangin' out waiting her turn...

And showing off her beautiful flowers! She wanted them in a vase on her dresser in her bedroom. She keeps talking about how beautiful they are!

Just little girls.

May 03, 2009

Luke 14 County Fair!

Here we are, ready to go! For those of you who don't know what Luke 14 is, it's an annual event we hold at our church. It's an evening to honor those in our community affected by disability. Then Jesus said to his host, "When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." Luke 14:12-14 That's what it's all about. It is one big PARTY, let me tell you! My heart is full all over again just looking at the pictures. Speaking of pictures, there are a LOT on here (and I ony looked through 1/3 of what I have!), but I just couldn't stop. We had about 325 guests of honor this year. :D There's so much to say, so I'm just going to jump right in and let the pictures tell the story...

Here's the army of volunteers getting directions from yours truly before being hooked up as buddies for the evening. We have a lot of unstructured fun first, then we settle down for a program after an hour and a half or so.
Mattie got to enjoy the calf a bit before going home with Grandmama for her first sleepover! (Thank you, Grandmama!)

This is J.T. He's in my Sunday School class. He brightens up the room with that big old smile of his coupled with his cranky-old-man personality!

One of our guests enjoying the petting zoo which was huge this year! We had more than 15 different kinds of animals, I'm pretty sure!

Tyler wanted to "feed" the pig for a long time. He said it made the pig happy!

This big ole smiling face is Gabriel. Gabe's parents go to our church and Gabe comes to VBS. He is the happiest guy you'll ever meet!

Here's Tyler. He came to VBS last year and I hope he comes again!

This young lady got off her group home bus with a cut on her head! Noone was quite sure how it got there, but it didn't stop her from enjoying the party!

Here we are in full swing.

Everybody gettin' down Hokey Pokey style. All the yellow shirts are the Sunshine Ambassadors. They are a group of youngsters who all have Down Syndrome and take dancing and singing lessons at a local studio. Then they take their show on the road!

This guy gave me a laugh. He is a basketball player at a local college and I'm pretty sure he only came because someone made him! But look at him gettin' down to the Hokey Pokey after just a few short minutes! I'm sure the cute blonde caregiver of his buddy helped just a bit...

Ah, my sweet Jordan. Jordan's dad was my principal at my second teaching job, and she is just 2 months younger than Jacob. Now she's in my Sunday School class. I didn't think she was going to be able to make it because she had some family coming in from out of town. But while I was up on the track taking some hokey pokey pictures I looked down and saw the cutest little elbow stickin' out and shakin' all about and saw it was Jordan! That was the highlight of my night. Jordan LOVES for us to read her the Max Lucado book You are Special. And one of our freebies was a copy of two other Max Lucado's books. She recognized the illustrations right away and knew exactly that was a special gift for her!

Sweet victory at the Ring Toss!
  This car belonged to a young man who came last year, but passed away recently. His parent's antique car club brought several cars in Brian's memory.

Each of the guests gets to choose a cowboy hat if they'd like.

Loving some bull-riding!
Is this just not the sweetest picture?

The hayride was one of the new things we did this year, and it was a huge hit! (Especially once they got gas in the tractor!) Robert was a hayride loader.

This is Valerie and her buddy, Jessie. Jessie's in my Sunday School class too! She ALWAYS has a smile on her face and loves to help her other Special Friends when we need it!

Amelia loving on the calf.

 One story I forgot that I'll add here... One lady who came was 87 years old (or 78, not sure). Anyway, she is blind and has been set aside her entire life. She was beside herself to come to Luke 14! While she was at Luke 14, she got to go on her first hayride of her entire life. And had her first cotton candy. Her FIRST cotton candy. Can you imagine such a life in 2009?

Chad had to resort to holding hands... he had two buddies who were runners; But every time I looked they were all smiling!

One short story that just blessed my socks off... On the left is Patrice. She and I have boys the same age and they played soccer together last year. She has recently been asking the Lord to show her where He wants to use her, and she's feeling led toward helping us in the disability ministry. So she comes up to me as I'm pairing guests up with volunteers and says, "Just so you know, Melissa, I'm terrified to do this! I've never done this before." But she came anyway! She put herself out there to serve the Lord even though she was terrified, and she gave glory to God's name in doing so. I'm so proud of her!!

A funny story here about Robert...
Me, at registration time:
"Robert, this is Mr John and he's going to be your buddy tonight! And we're going to grab one of your friends to hang out with you and Mr John too."
Robert: "Aww man! I want a female! And I don't want one of my friends with me."
Me: "Sorry, Buddy! You're stuck with Mr. John."
Robert: "Awww, SHUCKS!"
 Later... Me: "Robert, I'd like to take your picture!"
Robert: "But I got brownie in my teeth... hold on. I gotta rinse my mouth out. There. Now you can take it." :D

Dan has played for us two years in a row now. This time he had a bit of help! But look at the grin on Dan's face. He's having as much fun as the other guy!

And Matthew (yellow name tag) couldn't resist!

Our emcees for the evening... Bradley Bean and Marty Vesser. And a special guest chicken.

Randy Kington, Vietnam Veteran, author and speaker gave the address.

The hardworking clean up crew. It's amazing the what can get done in two hours when you have cheerful helpers!

My partner in crime (read: Sunday School teaching partner, kindred spirit and dear friend), Darlene, and me after 10:30 that night... I'm pretty impressed we were still standing!
The supervisors (not to mention mine and Darlene's husbands). What would we have done without them? (Just bustin' them, btw. They worked hard all day and have sacrificed many hours this spring so Darlene and I could do this thing! MANY other spouses have as well as this is NOT a 2 man show!!! We couldn't do it without all the hundreds of volunteers we had pitching in!)) So does this not just look like the MOST fun you could ever have?! There are sooooo many hours of planning that go into this 3 hour event, but every SECOND is worth it! A guest speaker used this quote of Frederick Buechner's today in his sermon and it perfectly sums up my heart about disability ministry.

  Your greatest calling“is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Disability minstry is that place for me.

May 02, 2009

My Progress

I figured I'd sit down here and procrastinate awhile. Make yourself a warm cup of coffee and join me!

After I wrote on Thursday I headed upstairs to go through all of the baby things. As odd as is may sound, it's a bit of letting go of a dream, I think, for me. It has nothing to do with wondering if we can afford to buy it again should the need arise. But more like, "Why should I get rid of it if this month might be the one??" But it's where I am right now, and some days it's hard to be here.

But here I am, and I have some things to do. We have the storage here, so it's been fine to just leave it up there in closets, but in our new house, there's isn't as much extra space. And baby paraphernalia is so bulky! So I went upstairs Thursday morning resolved to make some decisions... and I did it all without crying!! On the FIAR board, several people suggested I just go through and pass on the stuff that I'm not emotionally attached to. Rather than push myself to do it because I "should," I can just do it a little bit at a time. There's no reason it all has to be gone by next week!

I took a few big toys to the consignments store and got some cash! And I took my infant car seat, maternity clothes (except a short stack favorites), and crib bumper set to our local crisis pregnancy center. I do still have a bucket of linens and lots of clothes, but I can only do so much going through before we move, so that stuff will have to wait. (The boy clothes are being used by nephews, and there may be a niece here soon to use the pink stuff!) But it does feel good to have let some of it go.

So I'm headed upstairs to pack more stuff today. Robert just took a trailer of stuff to the dump, and our garage is very clean!