Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Family Excursion

Last summer, on the recommendation of a friend, we fell in love with a quiet little spot for swimming at Barkcamp State Park. On our numerous drives back the winding road to the lake I noticed signs for hiking trails and kept saying we should check them out. We finally did this past Sunday evening.


Long ago, there was a farm on the Barkcamp State Park site. They have preserved the big, old red barn and various little log buildings are scattered around it. The first little trail we checked out was designed to be wheelchair accessible and had signs along the path with information on some of the different kinds of trees we were seeing. 


It was a lovely evening to be outside, with the smell of honeysuckle heavy on the breeze and new life springing up all around us...







How I love dogwoods. There were lots of them in full bloom and it was simply gorgeous, the white against
 all the green.



I like these two.
 Isaac waited a long time for a brother and in spite of the big age difference there is already a definite 'brother' bond between them.


I'm sure I'm prejudiced, but this child is just absolutely too cute and I wish I could freeze him at this age for a good long while.


We drove on down to the lake and saw lots of people fishing. We played the slowest game of 'Pooh Sticks' ever, with the slow moving water and the wide bridge. Then it was time to head home, with flowers tucked in our hair and good memories stored up in our hearts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Rest of the Tooth Story and Other News

Well, the tooth drama is past for now....at least we hope so!

I spent my weekend taking pain pills around the clock, which kept my pain dulled most of the time. I was worried about Monday, and dreading what lay ahead but was finally so ready to have it over with that it didn't seem so bad.

On Saturday I called the higher powers of Joe's Tire Shop and asked if a worker could be sent over from another store on Monday to take Chris' place. How could they refuse an emotional woman, I mean, really? They nicely agreed to do that and the sun shone a bit brighter after that.

I'll cut the story short and save you the drama.

Turns out, the oral surgeon agreed with the first dentist that the offending tooth was my molar with the large filling, rather than my wisdom tooth. Turns out at the ripe old age of 37 if your wisdom teeth haven't given you any problems yet it's highly likely they never will. Basically, if I wanted to remove them, I could; if I decided not to, that was fine too. Turns out I didn't need surgery or being put to sleep. They numbed me up, removed my molar, and let me go.

So far, I'm doing great. No pain to speak of and no swelling. I feel like doing nothing but laying on the couch and I can't wait to chow down on a good meal but otherwise, doing great.

       ---------------------------------------------------

In other news, Chris has been hanging drywall!!

With his right hand man helping,


The place will be looking different in no time at all!


I can't tell you how exciting it is to see this happening. I confess that when it comes to building/remodeling projects, I am a terrible unbeliever. This makes actually living in The House On The Hill seem possible!

In closing, we have a confirmed bookworm in the house. The oldest two like to read but this one? This one pulls out a book, intending to go outside and play, and ends up sitting in a kneeling position for the next several hours, 
R E A D I N G.
She becomes oblivious to the world around her and has to have her name called twice and doesn't even notice someone taking a picture right in her face! 


Makes me want to curl up with a good book myself.

Happy Tuesday to all. May all your complicated wisdom teeth extractions be turned to a simple molar removal!

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Very Long Story Without A Moral


It all started Tuesday night with me laying in bed saying, "Please. Don't tell me I'm starting with a toothache!"


Wednesday morning I went about my business and I most definitely had something going on with my tooth. Called my dentist and found out I couldn't get in any time soon. There are two dentists in that office, so I called again later to see if I could get in with the other one. Not any time soon but she'd let me know if there was a cancellation. 


Wednesday night rolled around and the pain kicked in with a vengeance. You moms know this drill well, it always does that at night, right? I went to bed having made the decision to show up at the dentists office when the door opened in the morning. "If you're there, they have to do something." Said the wise man at my house.


That night was a living nightmare. Ibuprofen didn't begin to touch the pain. I googled 'how to ease pain from toothache' and tried different ideas. The only thing that helped at all was swishing saltwater in my mouth. That gave me about ten minutes of blessed relief. I spent from about 9:30 pm to 2:00 am swishing saltwater, laying with eyes closed, checking the time and repeating. Sometime after that the pain eased and I slept.


You have to understand that the very thought of walking into a doctor's office and 'being there so they have to do something' is enough to give me a bellyache right there. But I marched in the door at 8 the next morning and told them my sob story and they, very sweetly, said they would see me and I was soon in the chair having x-rays taken of the offending mouth that wasn't even hurting at the moment.


She studied my x-rays, and determined that my left bottom tooth that has about an 8 year old, very deep filling was the culprit. It would need to have a root canal or be extracted but neither could be done that day. I was sent on my way with a prescription for an antibiotic and pain pills and a dentist appointment 3 weeks down the road.


I filled my prescription and was rather annoyed with the silly tooth which wasn't even giving me a twinge of pain. How silly to be annoyed.


I went to bed Thursday night with my mind full of all the things I had failed to accomplish that day that needed to get done on Friday. There was a fundraiser Spaghetti Supper for school Friday night, see, and I still had to make 4 pies and cut up a bowl full of lettuce...


Friday dawned and I got the children off to school and had started my to-do list when the pain hit. Well, I had pain pills now so down one went. You would have never known I took one. I am not even kidding. I soon resorted to my friend, the salt water.


I rolled pie crusts and swished salt water, chopped lettuce and swished some more. I texted my sister, the nurse, and asked if I could take more ibuprofin? I baked my pies and swished some more.


By lunch time I was desperate. I called the wise man at work, who can always work miracles and fix things, for advice. The gist of it was, "Look up some dentists. Walk in and demand help."


I googled dentist's offices and decided to call, swishing salt water before pushing the green button. The receptionist listened to my sob story and said she could get me in at two thirty but she, of course, couldn't promise anything more than an exam and I'd just had one of those the day before!


I got off the phone and frantically called the first dentist to see if I could have my x-rays transferred. "You will have to come in and pick them up because you have to sign and release form." Oh please.


The wise man looked at the time and said, "Go. Now. You can make it." 


I finished making peanut butter pies while this was all going on. Grandma was in town so I called my sister-in-law and asked her to pick up Charles. I didn't even look in the mirror, ladies. I grabbed shoes, purse, phone and keys...oh, and my cup of saltwater and a bowl for spitting...and I left.


By the time I walked in the door of the first dentist to get my x-rays, my stomach was churning, whether from stress or the saltwater I had accidentally swallowed while I swished and made phone calls, I'm not sure. And, would you believe it, the tooth quit hurting.


I raced on to the next town and dentist's office, calling ahead to say I was running late, then calling the wise man to give me directions along the way. "At the third stop light, turn right. At the next light make a left and then another light and make a right and you'll see the office on the right."


Okay, no problem. Except there were a few problems. At the light where I needed to turn left, the car in front of me just sat there. Then, as I watched in disbelief, a lady got out and informed me, "My car just died." She retrieved her baby and diaper bag and crossed the street to the nearest store. She was probably as close to tears as I was, although by that time I didn't even hardly flinch. I just got in the other lane and did what I needed to do.


The only other problem was that I couldn't find the dentist's office. I drove slowly along until I knew I'd gone too far and then turned around and drove slowly back the other way...and then turned around and, Aha! It was on the left, rather than the right.


I walked in the door and up to the counter and there I broke down. Seriously. Had to stand there and get myself under control. 


The receptionist wasn't at all phased. She took me straight back to a little private office and as I walked in the door, I saw on the counter a gift bag with a card that had my name written on it. I looked at in confusion and for a split second I tried to imagine how my husband had managed to pull this off, then I heard her saying, "As a new patient, we have a little gift for you and a card from the dentist..." 


She proceeded to sit down with me and go over my paperwork, filling out my answers on the computer. She left me there briefly, then escorted me back to my chair. There, she introduced me to the nurse, "Hannah, this is Bethany. Bethany, this is Hannah and she is going to be taking good care of you today..."


I was just amazed.


Every last person I saw there treated me that way! I understand completely why every single one of their 70 reviewers online gave them 5 stars. Their service was extraordinary.


Hannah sat down with me and asked me some questions to help ensure my visit was a good one. "When it comes to your teeth, are you more concerned about comfort or about making everything look good?" "Do you prefer hearing detailed explanations or just the main points?"


Turned out, the doctor felt quite certain my pain was not coming from the tooth with the 8 year old filling. He felt pretty certain the problem came from my wisdom tooth which is laying almost sideways and putting pressure on the tooth next to it and, after a more detailed x-ray, we could see is also on a nerve.


"What you need removed is that wisdom tooth, not the tooth beside it. In fact, had you gotten that tooth removed, you would probably have still been experiencing pain."


They got me in with an oral surgeon for an appointment on Monday and before I had ever left their parking lot, had sent off my detailed x-ray and the oral surgeon's office was calling me about price estimates.


I came home, took a shower, and hauled my crew off to the spaghetti supper. As of now, I'm staying on pain pills around the clock and praying the wisdom tooth decides not to wiggle around anymore. I'm blocking out my fears about Monday, although I'm desperately praying we figure out some way that Chris can go along with me to my appointment. It so happens that next week 2 employees at the tire shop are on vacation but I've done about all the brave things I can handle alone, so I'm hoping something can be worked out.


This story has no moral and no real reason to even be told. Except maybe to elicit sympathy and prayers and to remind us all of the difference a few touches of personal care and respect for those we come in contact with can make. I know I, for one, can take some lessons from the Woodlawn Dental Center.


Amen.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Beneath The Surface

If only I had more children, maybe I could just keep on posting about birthdays and not need to write about anything else.....


It's trying to be Springtime in Ohio. I have to remind myself that every year I wonder if it will ever stay warm again and it always does, eventually. We're entering the last months of school, so there's the usual flurry of privilege trips and Track and Field day to prepare for and other year end activities cropping up right and left. Work is picking up on the House On The Hill - plumbing is mostly done, insulation done in the walls, drywall hanging coming up shortly. Our summer keeps looking busier and crazier all the time and it hasn't even begun yet!


That's a picture of the surface.


It would be easy to stick with painting surface pictures. After all, I don't owe the world wide web anything, much less pictures of life under the surface. Then again, maybe that's not the point. Maybe I owe it to myself to be honest and paint the pictures under the surface. Maybe that is part of the tension, the learning to hold it all together in my hand and experiencing true joy. But let me explain...


There are big changes coming into my family this summer. There are changes happening to the home place - renovations, paint; out with the old, in with the new. There are things to be done, decisions to be made. My dad is getting married!


My emotions run the gauntlet as time drags us onward. I feel the joy of new life; new beginnings, new stories, new hope. I feel the peace of sovereign planning; the turning of loneliness to companionship, emptiness to fulfillment. 


At the same time, I feel sorrow for what is past. There is pain in the closing of doors and these changes and adjustments easily stir the pain and the sorrow. We are not only turning a page and beginning a new chapter in our story, we are closing a book and beginning a new sequel in this series.


I'm tempted to take a deep breath and hold it for about 6 months. I know everything is going to be okay. In fact, I'm pretty confident everything is going to be more than okay! I just don't feel like dealing with the emotions and the chaos that seem to make up the path from here to the okay.


The other day I came across this quote, "There is a tension that God is asking me to acknowledge and accept - the tension between ideals and realities. True joy is found by living somewhere between the ideal life and daily realities. That is where Jesus meets me, where His Holy Spirit empowers me, and where I learn to live..." --Sally Clarkson


It is easy for me to either wallow in the emotion and chaos of the now or to take a deep breath and try to make it through to the 'okay' on the other side. Thing is, I would really like to have the true joy part and I don't seem to be finding it by doing either one of those.


Joy and peace are nice, I want to camp there and live happily ever after. But sorrow and pain are real, they must be acknowledged and felt in this old world. If true joy is found in the tension of holding all this together in my hand, then I want to learn to hold it well. I want Jesus to meet me, I want His Holy Spirit to empower me.


I cannot make it on my own.

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Birthday Boy

Yesterday was Charles' third birthday! I enjoy trying my hand at cake decorating, and since his gift was a wooden train set, I've been looking at train cake ideas. I had fun experimenting with baking cake batter in a soup can and bread pan, then figuring out how to turn the pieces into an engine and cars.
He was quite pleased!
The girls had great fun helping me add cookie wheels and candy cargo...
We had grandpas and uncle Ryan's over to celebrate and I wish you could have seen Charles when we sang happy birthday, he just beamed!
He had a little trouble with the candle blowing job but his sisters were quite willing to help him out.
Charles has loved trains for quite awhile. The library we go to has a table and wooden train set and he begs to go there to play with it. The Little Blue engine is one of his favorite books and he's easily listened to it hundreds of times! Several months ago, Chris went looking for a train set and found a super nice one for a fraction of what they normally cost. It's been hiding up at grandpa's, awaiting the big day, and we could all hardly wait to see his face!

He was almost too sleepy to be impressed but he has already spent lots of time playing with his new toys!
He was convinced that daddy got his birthday gift from the library!

Happy Birthday little buddy - although if I would tell you that, you would say, "I'm not little buddy, I'm Charles!!" 

You are so loved!





Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Happy Birthday Jennifer!


Eight years ago, our long awaited third born joined us. I say long awaited for more than one reason - after a miscarriage and a long year of prayer and tears, we were so excited about another little one joining our family. But that wasn't the only waiting we did in regards to Miss Jennifer Lynn, she also made us wait 2 torturous weeks past her due date before she chose to show her face....

Jennifer has been getting the American Girl Magazine for quite a while now, and loves to pore over it's pages. We've always made it quite clear that she shouldn't expect to ever own a doll herself, unless she plans to save her pennies! Imagine her surprise to find that her daddy had searched ebay to find a doll for her eighth birthday :)


She's in love!

I wanted to take a snack to school for Jennifer's classroom and since she doesn't like cake, I planned to make half moon pies. I decided to let her help me make them, rather than surprise her, since she loves to help in the kitchen.

She opted to make mini apple pies in muffin pans instead, which was fine with me! We made the crusts yesterday and froze them overnight.


She had so much fun measuring ingredients - even the shortening - all by herself, and mixing. She loves getting her hands messy! :)


I rolled the dough, and she used a lid to make circles, and a knife to cut them out and then she put them all in the pans by herself too. We layed the circle over a hole, then used a cup to push them down in - worked pretty good!


Today I made crumbs and filled the shells with apple pie filling, sprinkled crumbs on top, and baked them.


I completely forgot to take any pictures of her and her classmates enjoying pie and ice cream this afternoon (couldn't believe I forgot!) but I think the snack was a success anyway :)

So thankful for my bundle of drama and sunshine. She makes our world a brighter place!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

You Say That You Trust Him?

So, you say that you trust Him. What does that mean exactly?

You say that you trust Him; that you believe His plan for you has always been filled with hope. Then why do you cry? Why do you snap at your husband? Why the deep annoyance over the spoiled plans?

You say that you trust Him. Is this how trust looks?

You say that you trust Him, shouldn't there be cheerful smiles and willing, "Ok, that's fine" words coming out of your mouth? Shouldn't there be immediate thinking of others rather then self-pity and "I am a martyr" attitudes?

You say that you trust Him, do you think He doesn't know? Do you think He had no idea how important this week's plans were to you? Think He allowed a death just for the fun of it because He didn't feel like waiting til next week? Think He doesn't see a bigger picture that involves way more people and details than your little eyes could ever see?

Of course I know all these things; of course!

You say that you trust Him, does that mean you're entitled to your tears and annoyance and then you'll straighten up?

I cannot answer all the questions.  I only know that I am human and that I do trust Him.

And so, I cry. I dry my tears and remind my children that God has a big picture. I snap and apologize. I express my annoyance and slowly open my hand and say "Thank you." I re-arrange my to do list and remember that in years to come this week will be only a very tiny part of history.

The words of a song ring in my ears:
    "And here by the water
    I'll build an altar to Praise Him
    Out of the stones that I've found here
    I'll set them down here
    Rough as they are
    Knowing You can make them holy..."

*This post is so much a part of life. This week it is particularly in regard to an anticipated visit from my dad, which was to be the introduction of our family to his friend Sara, being cancelled because of the death of Chris' grandfather in VA. Please pray for his grandma and other relatives, many of whom do not profess Christianity, that the Light of Life would shine through.