Thursday, December 20, 2012

The gift of memories

Ever think about how amazing our memory is? All it takes is seeing a certain thing or hearing a certain song or even smelling a certain smell and we're transported to another place and time! Last week i was browsing in a thrift store when i suddenly had one of those moments. I saw these stacks of brown cups and my eyes must have grown wide! I've never seen those particular cups except in my mom's cupboard! I was instantly transported back to sunday mornings as a little girl. We always had hot cocoa or tea for breakfast and as the youngest, i always got one of those brown cups. They weren't breakable, they held just the right amount for a little girl, and the wide mouth allowed a hot drink to cool faster. I stood in that aisle a little while and savored the memories..... It's only two more sleeps until we head for arkansas and that kitchen with the familiar brown cups...more memories are
waiting to be made and that makes me happy tonight!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Trust and Obey, for there's no other way........

I knew when I spent the month of October writing about "Leaning" that it was for me. But I was thinking 'for me' in the sense of processing the past happenings and things God had been trying to teach me. Somehow I didn't take into account that it might be 'for me' in the sense of preparation! One look at the emails in my inbox from the past month would make you wonder - "What Happened Sunday Night", "CAT Scan Results", "Pics of the others on the trailer in the accident".... just the subject lines are enough to tell you a bit of the stories! It felt like my emotions reached over load status last night when I was feeling sick-ish with stirred up sinus issues. It feels like God is about something so very much bigger than I have even a glimpse of seeing! I'm reminded that all He wants from me is trust. He doesn't need my help to figure things out or to help take care of things or fix things. He wants me to trust in His all knowing plan and rest.... I don't think He minds the good cry in the bathroom though :)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Of warm thoughts, moodiness and focus...

Last night I left for the evening with warm thoughts of nice notes to my husband about how much little things like having the car parked in front of the house and ready for me makes me feel so loved and cared for.... Three hours later I came home feeling moody and thinking only of the pile of dirty dishes I saw in the sink and the children who were waiting for me to put them to bed! I wish this were an isolated incident but I seem to have far too many examples of this kind of thing lately. Maybe it's as simple as my husbands text to my question "What is wrong w/ me?!?" - "You are pregnant." But somehow I doubt it. It's true, in the busyness of life these days feeling tired and fat and added aches and hormones does color a person's day. Feeling like you are pushing yourself to do what needs to be done does makes every squabble and messy room loom larger than usual! Still, the fact remains that I choose what I focus on and that choice that I make can be the difference between warm feelings and moodiness!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

And The Winner Is.........

Wow! I wasn't quite prepared for the flood of comments on my itty bitty, 0 Comments blog! But what fun I had reading them all!! I loved hearing the variety of books you've been reading-and the amount! Some of you have quite a stack going! I can't even boast of 1. Except, of course, Tiggy Goes to the Hospital, the Sweet Pickles books, and endless Laura and Mary stories on CD... Oh, y'all came to find out about a Winner? So sorry! Gotta stretch my blog's bit of popularity for all it's worth, you know :) One thing yet: I want y'all to know that in addition to Dorcas and I sharing husbands w/ similar qualities, we also share "the realization that the things that cause us the most consternation about our husbands are simply the other side of the traits we love and admire most, and we consider ourselves privileged and blessed!"(Dorcas) Yes, yes, I have randomly drawn a winner and we happen to attend the same church! CHERYL MILLER, I will hand deliver your book on Sunday! Thanks y'all. Now go buy that book! :)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Needed: Blue Glasses and Hearing Aids

One evening last week I sent Chris an exasperated text saying I felt like *ahem* choking some kids and going and doing something fun! (I know.) I was trying to involve children with cleaning house and make supper and I felt tired, fat and decidedly grouchy! Chris came home and suggested we eat quickly and go to town. I'm sure I looked at him like he was from Mars! At any rate, he could tell I wasn't a fan. The idea was dropped and we had one of those evenings where we, well...didn't avoid each other, but each did our own thing. The next morning he asked me "Why?" sigh. "Come on. That wasn't really the point of my text!" Then, trying to be Oh so helpful I explained "I'm a woman. Sometimes I need to just blow off and then I feel better. I don't necessarily need it fixed." Suddenly I saw myself plainly! Chris had offered me a full cup of love by offering to "go do something fun" and I had taken it and dumped it in disgust because I wanted "pink" love, and his was "blue"! Town? No thanks. Love? Accepted!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Book Review and First Ever Give Away!

Isn't it interesting how a string of events can bring you to a certain place in time? I remember the day last winter when I looked up a blog my sister told me about. I spent hours reading back in the archives and the name of an author, Dorcas Smucker, caught my attention. The name sounded familiar and I soon hopped over to Life in the Shoe and started reading. I fell in love quickly and when, many months later, Dorcas offered a chance at a spot on the blog tour for her newest book, Tea and Trouble Brewing, I jumped at the chance. Of course, in true "Bethany" fashion, as the day drew closer I fought the urge to jump back out of the chance :) but here we are! It's amazing to me how you can feel like you "click" with a person you've never met. Maybe it's because Dorcas and I share some things in common...we're both Mennonite, after all and, while she is mother to six, I'm expecting my fifth :)  We also share a love for writing - a compeling urge to capture lessons, memories, events - with written words. The day my package with Tea and Trouble Brewing arrived in the mail, I rushed through my work so I could curl up in a chair and read! When I reached page 121 and read the chapter titled "Paul and the Vacuum Cleaner", I discovered we shared yet one more thing in common, perhaps the most significant one of all! I laughed aloud as I read how Paul refused to cooperate with the portrait potographer and Dorcas' description of his "wolf-with-fresh-caribou repair methods". When I read the chapter aloud to Chris and received a hearty "Thank you!!" on the line "...he still doesn't do what he's told if he thinks it's stupid." I knew I was correct. We share husbands with many of the same personality traits!

Tea and Trouble Brewing is full of delightful stories about Dorcas and Paul Smucker who, with their 6 children, live in a farm house in Oregon.  Each chapter is taken from one of Dorcas' monthly columns published in their local paper, The Register Guard. Dorcas' candid honesty and insight as she relates personal triumphs and failures has the potential for producing laughter and tears, deep pondering, and reminiscing of your own. It's just the sort of book to make me look forward to a 14 hour trip to Arkansas at Christmas time so I can read chapters aloud and share the goodness with the rest of my family!

The best part of all? Because of an innocent little string of events, today I get to offer you a chance to win a copy of Tea and Trouble Brewing! All you have to do is leave a comment on  A) this blog post  B) facebook  C) send me an email at christopherbethany@juno.com  Tell me what book you are currently reading or the last book you have enjoyed (if it's Saggy Baggy Elephant that counts! :)) I'll gather the names from all the comments on December 6 and draw a lucky winner. I will then announce the winner and as soon as I receive their email address, a signed copy of Tea and Trouble Brewing will be on it's way!

Of course, only one of you will be lucky enough to win, but that doesn't mean you have to stay left out. Tea and Trouble Brewing is available here  or, you can send a check for $15 to: Dorcas Smucker  31148 Substation Drive, Harrisburg, OR 97446.  And there's more! Since one book of Dorcas' writing will probably make you wish for more, she has three more books for you to enjoy - Ordinary Days, Upstairs the Peasants Are Revolting, Downstairs the Queen Is Knitting - and now's the time to get them! She's offering the complete set of 4 books for $40. Just send a check to the above address and you'll have lots of stories to enjoy :)

So...don't forget to leave your comment and check back for a winner on December 6!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Making memories

It's fun doing things for your children just because you especially know it will make them happy. Today jasmine has a friend here for the day! It's a first for ohio (i'm ashamed to admit it) and she was so excited. Something brought "clay cookies" to my mind, so i planned to mix them up to occupy part of their time. I remember numerous times as a child enjoying the fun and mess of clay cookies. You make the dough and color small portions then shape with cookie cutters or whatever your imagination can think of and bake them. They had a lot of fun and it was something the little girls could enjoy with the big girls. Like usual, toward the end we got sick of it and the cookies got bigger and fatter and less and less creative :) there was a nice, big flour mess and the stack of dishes is still waiting for me ... Still, i hope someday somewhere some more mammas will remember clay cookies
with fond memories and stir some up for their children! :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Amongst It All

I guess I still haven't recovered from a month of writing daily! Somehow I haven't been able to slip back into my normal routine here. Maybe it's because my days have been filled with "busy" lately. Chris has been working on our heating system and on our bedroom that is not yet finished. This brings extra mess and chaos to the rest of the house which, while I'm rather happy to endure for the sake of a bedroom, does get old! Then too we've brought a few more things out of storage like our big and small book cases (now where in the world are the shelf pegs??) and, of course, boxes of books to be sorted and put on shelves (IF we can find those pegs!) Not to mention I've had the furniture re-positioned every which way trying to decide how best to fit everything in! Oh, and of course I helped w/ the hot lunch Thanksgiving meal on Tuesday and tomorrow Chris' family will all be together... Yes, it's busy and chaotic around here! But it's good. Amongst it all there's much, much good, and I am so very Thankful.

Friday, November 16, 2012

For the love of books!

I think it's safe to say that this child loves books! We still have boxes of things in storage that we haven't seen in over a year. In some of those boxes are books, waiting for our book shelf to be brought home and set up. A few weeks ago when jennifer was sick, i brought the box of children's books home. What fun! We sorted through them, picking out ones that they remembered and reading "new" ones that were isaac and jasmine's favorites. Jennifer layed around and looked and looked at books! Recently i discovered another treat that she has been enjoying. The local library has the laura and mary books on tape/cd! The first book got listened to quite thoroughly. Some of the tapes we heard over and over! Last night we got the next 2 books and she has spent *all*day* sitting close to the computer listening to those cds!! It's fun to watch her absorbing stories that i've loved for years.
Books are certainly a treasure to be loved!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back At Last :) ... Lessons on Focus

I am not a shopper. Nor am I a good decision maker (hmm...are those 2 connected?) So, an invitation to join a group of ladies for a day of shopping at an Outlet Mall sent me grabbing the nearest excuse (a big day planned the day before) and saying no. Turned out my big day got changed and I was thrown into indecision... "I don't know these women and am not the same stripe!" *And who keeps saying they're lonely and longs for interaction?* "I'm just not a shopper! Especially not that kind of stores!" *Who says it has to be about shopping? Why can't you have a good day and not buy a thing?* End result? Thursday morning I headed out feeling like an 18 yr old walking into Bible School for the 1st time. I was determined to remember 2 things: 1) It's not about shopping 2) Listen to Hearts. That day was so good for me! I realized that in spite of differences, we were 12 women with hearts that want to follow Him. Focusing on that instead of 'what do they think of me' and 'what do I think of them' was so freeing!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - The End!

I'll have to admit, I feel like celebrating today! :) Writing for 27 days straight has been very stretching! It was good for me to push on and finish what I started even when I didn't feel like it. It was also good for me to actually think out things that have just been going through my mind and string them into some semblence of order that made sense. I'm glad I did it but I am ready to write about normal every day things again. Writing without the pressure of needing to do it every day! It did create an excellent opportunity to practice what I was preaching! :) I know next week I'll probably forget all about leaning when I'm right in the midst of some difficulty. I hope, though, that this writing experience can be a help in the process of making me more conscious of the posture of my heart. Today will be an excellent test: lack of sleep + worry about my little girl with a UTI + wet, wet dreary weather + a van that doesn't work and needing to scrunch 5 school children in the car twice a day...Ok Lord!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - Passing It On

Our children are by nature great "picker-upers". I'm not talking about picking up around the house (don't we wish that would come naturally?!), I'm talking about picking up on the way we live. They notice everything - attitudes, actions, feelings... even very young children! Of course our children still have to make their own choices about what they will believe and how they will live. Still, as parents, we make a huge impact on those choices! My parents were "leaners". As a child, I knew where my parents went for help and direction! It was not at all uncommon to pray together about specific needs. When someone was sick or something went wrong, praying was one of the first things we did. I know that made a big impact on me and how I viewed God. I know I've said it before, but nothing builds trust like seeing God at work! Trust is what leaning is ultimately all about. If we can give our children tangible examples of trusting the Father, I think that can be a huge help in passing on the choice of leaning.

Monday, October 29, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - Can The Rich Do It?

I remember laying in bed one night and Chris saying "I don't even know if I want to ever get to the place where I have plenty of money!" What do we really do with Jesus' words in Mark 10:23-25? Can we have the riches, just not trust in them? In Deut 6:10-12 the Israelites were admonished to beware lest they forget the Lord when they get to the place where they have everything they need w/o needing to work for it. It's so easy to forget! So easy to trust in our things! I look back at what my parents lived with when they moved to a little mission in AR years ago. Then I look around at what most of us think we're *entitled* to for comfortable living these days. I wonder if we add a burden to our lives, rather than a blessing, when we "finally have things nice"? I know it's impossible for time to stand still, but it really seems like the further a family/community/church progresses financially, the more apt they are to lose out spiritually. Maybe I'll just leave you to ponder these things in your heart.... :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - Can We Stay Bent?

So, in the struggle for control, and the human-ness of our hearts, is there any way to stay "bent"? I hate to disappoint you, but I don't think so. Like everything else in the Christian life I don't think we can ever keep one posture all the time. It's a continual growing, learning, stretching journey. However, I do think we can get to the place where we bend more quickly. Like a paper that's been folded over and over in the same direction, I think we can get to the place where we recognize the need and respond more promptly. In any other skill we want to learn, we know that practicing is the key. I think spiritual "skills" are the same way. If we really want to learn something, we must practice it over and over. Riding a bike doesn't take nearly as much concentration the 100th time as it did the first 10 times! I think, somewhat in the same way, if we practice "leaning" we will become more quick to turn to the Father and let Him take control. It won't come naturally, but it can come more easily.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - He Wants Us To Choose Him

Why did God make us creatures of control? Why didn't He create us like little babies who rely totally on their parents with no thought of anything else? There's alot of "theology" here, but what I see is this: God wants us to choose Him. There are so many parallels between parents and children and God and us. As a parent, there's nothing that makes my heart happier than to see my children choosing certain ways because they know it's what I want and they love me. God doesn't want us to lay down our will and lean because that's all we are capable of, or because we have to. He wants us to choose Him because we love Him and need Him! Like a parent who's child is intent on learning something new, He patiently watches while we try our best. He's ready to soothe the scratched up knees from the first bike ride or bandage the cut from the first attempt with sharp scissors. But what His "to and fro" eyes are really looking for, are His children who look up and say, "Daddy, I can't do this! Will He please help me?"

Friday, October 26, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - The Struggle For Control

Control, control, control. To some extent or another, as humans, we are control freaks! We try to control everything - circumstances, relationships, responsibilities, possessions, losses... In big and small ways we desperately try to control every detail of our lives. When there are things that we can't control, we still do our best to maintain some sense of it. And it is sneaky. Oh! Is it ever! It creeps into small places where we don't recognize it as control at all. This explains our struggle with leaning. Leaning means opening our hands and letting go of control. It means letting God work out the details. It means leaving our hands open when the details turn out different than what we think they should. Leaning is not some magic "Now He'll give me what I want", it's a committed "Now I'll want what He gives". Leaning is not an easy way out. Always the monster of Control is there ready to clutch at the reins. But the fact remains, leaning is the position in which God shows Himself strong on our behalf!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - The Sneaky Enemy

I told Chris last night, I'm over this topic now! I had scribbled down a rough "outline" at the beginning of this adventure and I'd actually been anxious to reach the last part. It felt like I was putting in lots of filler and the last part had the real meat! But now I'm here and suddenly I feel lost. I can't seem to get my thoughts together. They come out in fragments that don't string together and I'm left wondering what exactly am I trying to say? Why? There's probably several factors but the biggest one, no doubt, is that in the middle of writing about leaning, I've failed to practice what I was preaching. Earlier in the month I was practicing, you better believe I was! This whole writing for 27 days had me in a constantly bent position! But lately? Lately I've been standing pretty straight. Sigh. This enemy is such a sneaky little monster! It creeps in quietly before we even realize it's around. Who is this crafty enemy that tries it's best to slip in at every turn? It's an enemy called Control.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - Personal Loss

I don't think I've ever experienced as much loss as I have in the past year and a half. I've felt like an onion, sometimes, as the layers have been peeled away one after the other! I remember one particularly low time a little over a year ago when I wrote down every loss I could think of. It felt like God had taken e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. I didn't even have my own house or possessions! I wept and I stormed and I grieved. It's so easy to live out of feelings rather than facts! The fact was that I still had my husband and 4 children and my Heavenly Father. The fact also was that He wanted me to realize that was really all I needed! The other fact that I've slowly begun to see is this: God IS love. He IS good. Just because all I could see was loss did not mean that's all there was. In the same way I ask things of my children that they don't like because I can see the bigger picture, in a much bigger way that is what God is all about in our lives... but we have to lean, we have to trust, we have to let Him!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - A Grade Called Losses

When I say "losses", I am not primarily refering to death. Certainly death is a loss, but I have been realizing that there are many many more areas of "losses". I don't in any way want to leave the impression that I think they are worse than/equal to death, but I do think they are very real! We can lose our job, our house, our health, our abilities, our "positions", our reputation... Marriage and adding children brings losses- loss of freedom, personal time, ability to be involved w/ the same activities... Growing older brings losses- loss of abilities, health, responsibilities... Moving brings losses- loss of home, church, friends... Children growing up brings losses- loss of innocent days, children leaving home, grandchildren moving away... It has been helpful for me to recognize loss for what it is and to realize that what I am feeling is grief. It's ok to grieve, God made us that way, but He also wants to carry us beyond and use these losses for good in our lives. But, again, we have to let Him!

Monday, October 22, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - The Responsibility of Motherhood

I have always enjoyed small children, preferably ages 6 months-4 yrs. Becoming a mother was a big responsibility, realizing it's up to me to care for this helpless baby! I would have to say, though, that my children hitting ages 7-10 has been a whole knew dimension in motherhood for me. Younger children have feelings and opinions, yes, but my position as mother is much more one of "I'm in charge in the end" at that stage. An older child's opinions and feelings are much stronger and need validation and being heard for a good parent-child relationship. I struggle with that responsibility! A lot of times instead of using it as an opportunity to lean on my Father, I get frustrated. It's so much easier for me to say "I said so, so that's just the way it is!" and ignore the hurt and anger in my children's hearts. I really do want to learn to let this responsibility take me to the Father and lean on Him for wisdom. It's a place where I need to lay it down and say "I can't do this on my own, please show me how!"

Sunday, October 21, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - A Grade Called Responsibilities

As I was thinking about "grades", this struck me as a big one. I think calling us to new or added responsibilities is one way that God pushes us into a leaning position. When we find ourselves in positions that aren't necessarily our choice or we're not sure about, life can be very uncomfortable! Maybe we decide "I'm gonna do this!" Or maybe we say "There's no way!" and run as far away as possible. Or, maybe we drag our feet and complain and fuss and sigh the whole way through, just waiting for the day when we can be done with this job! Sometimes God does want us to do things we never thought we could do. In fact, I think He kind of likes to give us those responsibilities! Why? Maybe that's the only way we'll need Him. If we did only the things that we feel comfortable doing, don't you suppose we could handle it on our own? That'll never do, you know, because God wants to show Himself strong on our behalf! So, a big responsibility? Just a bigger opportunity to see what God will do ... if we let Him!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - A Relationship Example

Have you ever had a conversation like this one with your spouse? "So did you do ______?" "No, I didn't think you wanted me to." "How could you have thought that?! I SAID ______!" "And that's really what you meant? I thought you meant _____!!" Anything further is a downward spiral and very likely you end up in bed both of you still trying to defend your case. This happened at my house last week. And as I was laying there this voice said "Ahem, aren't you planning to write about, um, leaning in relationships next week??" Ugh. No, it wasn't Chris, it was the One who wants to be leaned upon and I did NOT in any way want to be reminded at that moment! Truth was, I didn't wanna lean! I didn't want to lay down my view and honestly ask the Father how He looked at it. That is really what He wants to do, teach us to see w/ His eyes and learn to make our relationships about others instead of all about us. Conflicts lose their struggle when I lay my view down and truly care about the other person. But it takes Him!

Friday, October 19, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - A Grade Called Relationships

"No man is an island, entire of itself..." -John Donne I think it's safe to say that we all have relationships in our lives. As long as we are on this earth we will deal with people to a greater or lesser degree. And, as long as we're here dealing with humans, we will run into relationship problems! No matter how much we like or get along with a person, there will be something, sometime, that will upset us or surprise us or let us down in our relationships. In fact, the closer the relationship, the higher the stakes for hurt/pain! What do we do with that? The most natural thing is to crawl into our shell and hide in safety-just don't have close relationships and then we don't have to deal with it! But God created us with a need for other people. He thought up relationships! Do you suppose He planned the inevitable conflicts so that we would also need Him? Could the difficulties in our relationships be one more chance for us to run hard after the Father and allow Him to show Himself strong on our behalf?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - A Blue Van

One "essential" possession, in this country, is a vehicle. Chris has always said that he "buys them cheap, and runs the wheels off them", but before our current van it was more joke than reality. Today I wonder if a wheel MIGHT actually fall off that van some day. We bought it over five years ago, and lets just say we jokingly refer to it as the "Badom Badom" van for a reason. If you have ever stood on a sidewalk as we went by, you need no explanation. (and please accept our apologies) We are still driving it because Chris and the Lord "made a deal." Chris would drive the van as long as it ran, and the Lord would keep it running. That was over two years ago, and they have both kept their end of the bargain. And so, we "badom badom" our way down the highway. And, though I still cringe at times when those people on the sidewalk whirl around to see what on earth just passed them, I hope I am learning to trust God to teach me His values. And I wonder, if somewhere, God is smiling..................

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - A Grade Called Possessions

We all like stuff. More stuff! Different stuff! Nice stuff! Even those of us who think we have little could have our possessions reduced by half an still have more than the basics. We live in a "bigger is better, newer is better, name brand is better" society. The push is to get it now and enjoy all the benefits! And it's never enough. There's always something else we're hoping to posses one of these days! Sometimes I wonder if all the stuff possesses us, instead of the other way around. We get so caught up in "If only I had" and "I couldn't do without" and "I really need" that I wonder what we're trusting in? Our stuff? Or the One who really owns it all? God wants to supply all our needs but when we busily set about to fulfill our needs AND our wants, does He even get a chance? I wonder what would happen if we would choose to be content with such things as we have instead of needing the "bigger, the newer and the name brand"? Would we be surprised at the ways God could show Himself strong on our behalf?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - Circumstances Made Personal

Chris was taking a week off of work and I was so thrilled! I had huge expectations for this week: he was planning to work on our unfinished bedroom (yay!!!), we were going for my first prenatal visit and a day of shopping... These were the days of "morning/noon/evening sickness" and this week looked like a sweet oasis! Well, everything changed when Chris developed a terrible earache! He ended up at the Dr and spent most of the week on the couch! He drug himself along to my prenatal appointment, laying in the passenger seat while I drove... That was a terribly hard week for me. I couldn't believe God would "do" this to me! He knew I NEEDED this week!! I knew very well that God knew what He was doing but oh, I sure didn't feel like accepting it! I remember stormy tears and finally giving up and saying, "Ok God. You know what's best. I don't understand but I trust You!" Nothing much changed really, except my heart. My heart felt peaceful after that even though the week didn't nearly fulfill my expectations.

Monday, October 15, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - A Grade Called Circumstances

I think one of God's most common and every day grades in this business is one called circumstances. There are so many circumstances, big and small, that make up our lives. Many of them are so ordinary that we hardly notice them at all-the cranky child that made the morning routine take longer, the potatoes that didn't want to get done for supper... Of course then there's the flat tires and the magic marker on the couch that shake our worlds a bit harder! And, sometimes, there are the really unexpected things-ear aches that require Dr visits and Dr visits that end up in hospital stays and job offers that move you 14 hrs across the United States... that not only shake our worlds but threaten to turn them upside down! What would happen if we learned to view these circumstances, big and small, as opportunities to turn our hearts to the Father and allow Him to show Himself strong on our behalf? What if, instead of ruining our day, a flat tire would be an exciting opportunity to see what God will do this time?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - God's Grade School

So, what if your life is a completely different story? What if you're not facing financial struggles, you have a brand new house and dependable vehicles? What if your life is completely different? God longs for all of His children to lean no matter what their stories and He's quite creative in His attempts to bring us to that point! He certainly doesn't deal with everyone the same way. In the same way we wouldn't think of trying to enroll 6 year old Johnny in High School, so God works with us. He knows our hearts and what is going to get our attention and bring us to the end of ourselves. Granted, even then sometimes we are so stubborn that we don't realize what God is trying to do! Even when we do recognize it and learn from it, God is all about taking us into the next "grade" in His school. This learning to lean business is not a one time lesson, certificate received and done, type of deal! We wouldn't be content to teach our children one life lesson and then they're good to go and neither is God.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - What it Allows God to Do

As we leaned on our "cane" and walked, we watched in awe as God showed Himself strong. Over and over again in the next weeks and months we watched as God supplied specific needs. The timing was phenomenal and the ways many and creative! Maybe we just took more notice, but I like to think that because of the changed posture of our hearts God was able to show Himself strong on our behalf. More than once it was an anonymous gift slipped into our mailbox at church. Several times it was an unexpected counter top job for Chris to do on the side or a bit extra coming from somewhere we weren't planning on. Our children's school tuition bill began arriving marked "paid" and Isaac and Lillian's hospital bills got taken care of. Again, our circumstances didn't really change much but God showed Himself strong in many specific ways for us! Every bridge we cross that holds builds a little more trust in the builder and trust is what leaning is really all about. There's just nothing more exciting than seeing God at work!

Friday, October 12, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - A Posture Of The Heart

Obviously Chris didn't quit his job, the bills didn't stop coming, nor food appear in our cupboards. Actually, very little about our circumstances changed. It was still necessary for Chris to work 2 hours from home and spend very little time w/ me and 4 little ones. We still had old vehicles that gave us problems and a house that needed siding. So what changed? I think our hearts changed their posture. When we came to our Father and said, "We can't do this anymore. There is no way we can carry this load! We're placing it on Your shoulders now. We're quite content to drive old vehicles and live in unsided houses and work hard to pay our bills but we're trusting You to work this whole deal out. We can't make sense of it, but we trust that You can and we're following you!" our hearts found Peace. We were no longer struggling along to lift worn out feet to take the next step, we were leaning heavily on our "cane" and walking. Strangely enough, before our very eyes we began to see exciting things happening!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - So after you quit, then what?

How do you quit when the bills still keep coming? How do you stop when your children are still hungry and need new clothes? Do you just throw up your hands, settle down on the couch with your feet propped up and really just quit? If God longs for us to rely on Him, how does that look? What does He expect out of us? What about the other verses, the ones about the sluggard considering the ant's ways and the man who doesn't provide being worse than an infidel? If God wants us to be good stewards and not be sluggards and provide for our own but His deepest longing is for us to lean, than how, pray tell, does that look?? Do you remember the picture of the old lady with the cane? When her legs wore out and her feet couldn't carry her anymore she didn't just sit down and quit. She didn't give up and stop going places. She did, however, stop relying on her own two feet to get her there. She picked up her cane and leaned heavily on it, trusting that it wouldn't break under her weight... but she kept on walking.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - When you sit down and quit

We were some of God's best "helpers" back in the day. We said we were trusting, that we couldn't do it alone, but there was no peace. We worked, and we struggled, and we came up w/ new ideas. We thought if we could just get past this obstacle, work a little harder, try something else, we'd surely come out on top! We were exhausted, hanging by a thread but we weren't about to give up! There comes a time, finally, that you stop. When everywhere you place your foot for the next step you only meet w/ gravel you finally have no choice. You sit down and throw up your hands and you just stop! That's when your optimistic, never give up, just do the next thing husband tells you, "I quit. From now on this is God's deal and I'm done! It's on Him now." I didn't see a window open into Heaven, but I think if there would have been one I would have seen the Father's "searching to and fro" eyes suddenly light up as He leaned forward in anticipation. "Finally they're going to let me show myself strong on their behalf!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - The Typical Christian Way

Anybody who's had any "church" upbringing knows this stuff. We've heard the verses. In fact, we can even quote them at appropriate times-"Take no thought for the morrow..." "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart..." and the clincher of all clinchers? "My God shall supply ALL your need..." We know this stuff, preach this stuff, solemnly say we believe this stuff. Then we promptly go and try to help the Lord out as much as we can. We make sure we have a new vehicle, old ones break down so easily! We make sure we have a good paying job, we need to be saving for a bigger house, you know! And insurance, we definitely need that, every kind we can possibly find! By all means we need to buy name brand clothing, you get what you pay for these days and, we are to be good stewards after all! I have just one question here: If God wants us to need Him, longs for us to lean, where (in the typical Christian's life) is there any smidgen of need? Where, in all our "helping", do we find the need to lean completely on Him?

Monday, October 8, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - The Longing of the Father

"And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa king of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the king of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubim a huge host, with very many chariots and horseman? Yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, he delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." 2 Chron 16:7-9 I think these verses are an amazing picture into our Father's heart! Isn't that what we look for from our own children? Aren't we searching, hoping for their reliance on us? Their trust in our wisdom and that we have their best interest in mind? I can almost see Him looking down on His children, searching to and fro throughout the whole earth, longing to show His amazing power, longing to find children who will rely-will lean-on Him! What is He finding?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

27 Days: Leaning - What does the word mean?

What does the word Lean bring to your mind? I'm thinking of several pictures - an old lady, laboring along, leaning heavily on her cane... Two men, deep in conversation, leaning comfortably against a wall or fence... A tired child, eyes drooping and head nodding, leaning against a parent's shoulder. What do these pictures all have in common? They're all leaning, yes, but there's more to it. They're all relying on something besides themselves. Imagine if the old lady's cane would suddenly break, she would quite likely land on her nose! The two men, what do you suppose would happen if someone sneakily removed their prop? And the tired child, they are about to close their eyes and depend completely on their caregiver to keep them from falling. All three are depending totally on something other than themselves to hold them up. They are trusting their "props" implicitly! None of them are leaning gingerly, fearing they'll fall any second. This is the picture. This is the kind of leaning that I'm talking about.

31 Days (minus 3): Leaning - It's what He wants

Eleven years and three months ago I married my best friend. We were young and happy and far from rich. We settled into our "rent free, pay the utilities, many years old" trailer and embarked on the new adventure of marriage. A year later we added a son to our lives and 21 months after that, a daughter. Four years and some rough spots later found us with daughter number 2, 15 acres of land, a remodeled house and barely scraping by. We were still holding our heads high and trying just a little bit harder. The next 3 years brought one unexpected crisis after another. Chris' work dwindled, he started a job 2 hrs from home, Isaac needed surgery, daughter number 3 was added and hospitalized for 6 days, the job 2 hrs away fell apart taking time and money invested with it... God had us in school and we didn't even know it. Slowly, purposefully, painfully God was showing His deepest longing for us-for all human kind. Softly, lovingly, persistently we heard Him pleading, "I want you to need me. I want you to LEAN."

Friday, October 5, 2012

31 Days (minus 3): On Learning To Lean

Some of the blogs I read are doing a "31 Days" series this month - choosing a subject on their heart and writing about it every day in October. I resisted the urge to join, fearing I'd run out of words by day 15, arguing that I should pick another month and do the full 31...still, the urge was there. This morning I read Flower Patch Farmgirl's 4th post on "Going" and felt smitten. So.... for the next 27 days I will be attempting to string some of my thoughts/ lessons/ ideas, on Learning To Lean together and sharing them with you. I'm a little bit excited to take up the challenge and a lot a bit scared to say I'll do it! This "leaning" business is an area God has slowly but surely been teaching me and stretching me in, especially in the last year or two. I certainly don't have the subject down pat but I would love to share my heart with you, and hopefully you will feel free to share your thoughts and input with me! So... tomorrow I'll be back with day 1 of 27!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Gold pavement, shoes, and dryers

Did you know that God is a very capable supplier of needs? He's got all kinds of resources and can bring along good deals on a wide variety of merchandise! I'm reminded of Otto Koning's words, "God is not stuck for riches, He's using gold for pavement up there!!" Truly He does seem to be just waiting for us to give Him opportunities to spill a little of that wealth into our lives if we give Him a chance. We've given Him several chances lately and I'm still marveling at His amazing answers! From "simple" needs of shoes for children, to "bigger" needs like a dryer for a small space. Once again I am convinced that God longs for us to lean and does what He can to keep us in that position...if we will only trust Him.....and give Him a chance!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I love to scrapbook. Up until lillian was born, i always had the childrens personal albums up to date. I never had our family albums completely caught up but i kept my pictures in perfect order in folders on the computer and developed them in a timely manner. It was just something i enjoyed so it got done! You'll notice i'm using the past tense? I don't know what happened when lillian was born but ever since then my scrapbooking has taken a downward spiral. I'm 2 years behind on the children's birthdays and in 2007 in my family album. My folders on the computer are here there and everywhere and i have gobs of undeveloped pictures! The chaos puts me completely out of the mood to even restart when i think of it. Today i pulled the stuff out and soon remembered why i haven't done this recently! I did accomplish 4 pages but oh the mess!! Two little girls handiwork is strewn everywhere....it
was still kinda fun though :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Out of the ordinary: roses

Cake decorating has always intruiged me. Awhile back i got to watch some one do a cake and marveled how easy it really is if you know what you're doing! Yesterday i bought myself a simple decorating set and when it was chilly this morning and i thought i should bake something i knew it had to be something frosted! Couldn't just be cake, i got inspired to make sugar cookies. About 26 roses, one pile of dishes, 12 cookies sprinkled by 2 enthusiastic girlies and a big mess later i'm still thrilled to be able to say i can make roses but ready to throw a sheet over the mess! :) i still have a whole bunch of cookies left to frost but i think i'll wait and let jasmine in on the fun. She might even get in on the dishes! Sometimes it's so good to do something out of the ordinary even if by the time you're done you're quite ready for ordinary again!

Monday, September 24, 2012

A little info

I've had a couple people say to me recently that they must have missed a blog post. I usually don't post a link to facebook when there's a new blog post. That's the thing I like about blogs - if someone wants to read every post they can but they don't have it put in their face every time unless they want to. IF you want to find out every time I post you can subscribe to my blog. I tried it today just to make sure the button works and it did, at least for me! :) I can also add your email address to a list and you will receive the post as an email if you would rather do that. If so, just send your address to christopherbethany@juno.com. And, if you'd rather check in here every so often, or only read the posts I link on facebook that's quite fine too! Just thought I'd give a little info since some people asked.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I am not one of those women who have their house decorated in their minds before the walls are even up. I have a hard enough time deciding what to put on the walls once they're actually there and painted! Add to that the fact that the first weeks of living here i didn't feel good and i won't even bother making excuses about still having bare walls! I'm finally getting in the mood to do things like that though, and this morning i actually made something happen on a wall....amazing! :) this picture is a beautiful cheap thing that my sister gave me one of the first years i was married. The frame got wet sometime while in storage and warped :( so, last night when chris and i went to town on our "date" i looked around at frames and found...nothing. Then i looked at cheap pictures and found a perfect frame! Took the 2 apart, ironed the wrinkled print and put it in the new frame! Pretty
pleased with the accomplishment :)

Monday, September 17, 2012

"I shall take a brace. And if I can't look cheerful, I shall look as c heerful as I can!" (Susan in Rilla of Ingleside) :)

Ever look around at your life suddenly and say "Yikes! How did I get here?!?" There's something about your oldest turning 10 and finding out you're expecting your 5th (5th!) that does that, at least to me! Somehow the sound of that doesn't match who I think I am. I'm supposed to be young married, the mother of toddlers and just hold on, how did I get here? What if I don't wanna be here?? People w/ 10 yr olds expecting their 5th (5th!) are supposed to be sensible, staid, getting-on-toward-middle-age folks. The ones who look at youth sagely and don't think a volleyball game would be a fun evening activity. The moms w/ slightly messy hair and a patient smile, the dads who used to be great ball players but would now just as soon prop their feet up w/ a newspaper. I'll admit I've felt a little sad and rebellious and a lot like digging in my heels and demanding a rewind. I'm not really sure what I think that will accomplish! Life will go on...and on...and if this is who I am than I better be it the best way!

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Secret's Revealed

I'm not sure what the blogging dry spell is all about. It's probably partly a change in circumstances. I have a house to take care of now instead of way too much time on my hands to think and write! It's also probably partly because, face it, when life feels the most difficult is often when we find ourselves leaning the hardest and finding the most inspiration from God. Not that life is all easy street these days, but having our own space diminished a lot of stress. Still, it's more than that and there's a simple explanation. See, about 6 weeks ago I suddenly became a different version of myself. It started slowly and painlessly and gradually increased in an alarmingly downward spiral. I became a tired, unmotivated version. A lay on the couch all afternoon and drag myself off to do essentials version. A white crackers for snacks and "Honey I *need* some cottage cheese could you please bring some home?" version. Yes, this might explain the lack of blogging inspiration. You see, we are expecting baby #5!

Friday, September 7, 2012

How they grow...

Why is it that the mention of doing dishes brings groans and sighs from 8 and 10 year olds, but suggest the idea to 3 and 4 year olds and you get big, sparkly eyes and "could we?!" in excited voices? I'm not that great at letting the bright eyes turn sparkly by saying "yes, you may!" to be honest, i don't usually suggest the idea. Usually i'm hoping to quickly get it done myself before any little eyes have the chance to get bright with big ideas! Tonight 8 and 10 escaped the house before i got them put to work. 3 and 4 were planning to go out and i was thinking up excuses for them to stay in when i hit on the suggestion that they should wash the dishes. Oh the enthusiasm!! Bright eyes turned sparkly, and surprisingly enough, the drainer filled with clean glasses, bowls, plates, all neatly stacked! O the simple joys of being young...no wonder jesus said we should become like them...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy birthday

Someday when i'm a real, grown-up mom, i won't wait until the day of my child's birthday to do everything. I'll pick up the perfect gift a month in advance and hide it away for the big day. I'll call grandpas ahead of time and invite them for cake and ice cream. And, if i have the bright idea to make something other than a regular rectangle for a cake, i'll make it the day before and tuck it safely away. All of this would lend itself nicely to a relaxed, fun birthday! Oh well, until i reach that milestone, we'll settle for gifts for gifts snatched at walmart the afternoon of the birthday and ice cream w/o grandpas since they already had plans and a rushed afternoon (again, of said birthday) trying to make purse cakes that should have been chilled and look like they might fall over. She still turned 3 quite happily so i guess that's what matters...who cares about early grey hair anyway?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Best Way

I heard a message once, long ago, that came to my mind this week. The speaker worked at a place where they shipped books. On the order form was a place to bubble in which mode of shipping the customer wanted-overnight, ground, air, etc. There was 1 slot that said Best Way. If this slot was chosen it gave the company the liberty to see where the items were going, how many, etc and choose the best means of transportation. He then drew the analogy that in our lives God wants us to bubble in "Best Way" when we can't understand why or what's going on. This week was supposed to be a lovely week off for Chris. A week of finishing up projects on the house and enjoying each other. Monday he started w/ an earache that landed him at the Dr Tuesday and he's still not up to par. Our nights have been rocky and our days draggy, not at all the plan! But I had to think of this message and say "Best Way God!" That doesn't erase the disappointment and stress but it does allow me to rest in God's all knowing perspective!

Monday, August 27, 2012

What goes around...

I am the youngest in my family of six, with two brothers next to me in line. As anyone with brothers can imagine, this was cause for many opportunities to scream and run tattle taling to mom. (They used to call me Hettie, you know the little sister in the Caddie Woodlawn books? I probably told mom that too!) My mom spoke these words of wisdom to me on more than one occasion, "Just ignore them and they'll stop. They just want to hear you scream!" True words, but Oh, so hard to follow when all you want is to get that teasing big brother in trouble!! Guess who's mouth those words are coming out of these days? The other day, in the midst of brother teasing/little sister screaming...again...I suddenly had to smile to myself. The old saying is true, I guess. "What goes around comes around!" I think I'll start praying for a brother/sister combination for each of my children so my mom's words of wisdom can be passed down through the generations. "Just ignore them and they'll stop..." They make perfect sense now!

Friday, August 24, 2012

a little update

Dear little woefully neglected blog..... I will be back in full force again one of these days, I promise. Until then, a little update on life... School has begun again! Week one is down as history. Still not used to getting around and on the road every morning and afternoon but I'm loving my days alone with the two little girls! They have played and played together this week and I never get tired of watching and listening (except, of course, when they're fighting over the same piece of string they want tied around their waist...again...) I've enjoyed Isaac and Jasmine's excitement over school and friends too. They both moved into different classrooms from last year, so there's some new things to get used to. Isaac's switch, especially, will be cause for some growing up I have a feeling. Which is good...and scary! Next week Chris has off work so we'll be working on the house once again! Looking forward to him being around all week! Until later then......

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Bathroom: Mom's best hide out

I can remember supper being over, the table a mess and the after eating conversation being long. Mom would get up from the table and head for the bathroom, "Y'all have this cleared off by the time I come out and I'll wash the dishes." My sisters and I sometimes talked about how mom seemed to need a visit to the bathroom at strategic times and would return to the frey of life later with a bit different attitude. As a mom myself I now fully understand these bathroom visits! Think about it. The bathroom is the only place a mom can legitimately go and say "Cry, yell, holler if you want. I'm in the bathroom and I'll come out when I'm done!" The bathroom is the ticket for any mom who needs a little break, a good cry, a prayer session, a private place to make a phone call... it can all be done alone in that little room. Granted, the door will eventually be bombarded, the hollers and crying will eventually get too loud, the frey will have to be faced again but a little solitude can do wonders for a weary mom!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The little girl in me

A few weeks ago i helped jasmine make a doll house out of a cardboard box. Many memories came back to me of my own cardboard box dollhouse! Mine was made by my big sister and she had crafted curtains and little furniture out of boxes and cardboard. Probably if i could see it now it wouldn't be as far out as my memory makes it, but it was pretty fantastic! The little girl in me came through loud and strong and the next time we were at dollar general found me checking the toy aisle. Sure enough! There were little girls that would fit in the house for only $1. Back home with 3 girls owning dolls instead of 1, the next obvious idea was making clothes. Jasmine tried her hand and they had fun fashioning this and that. Today turned out to be the day that i took on the project. Turns out the ideas in my head didn't work out so well when i actually used teeny tiny pieces. So...i actually looked
online an came up w/ a pattern! Wasted day? I think not! :) i'm a hero!!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

According to the good pleasure of His Will

How many of you, when you were little, got the feeling your parents just did whatever they wanted? You'd ask to do something or have something and they got to decide whatever they wanted and you were left to live with it! I know I thought that sometimes. Of course now, as a parent myself, it doesn't look that way at all! We have reasons for our decisions and usually we try to make them based on the good of our child-whether it looks like it to them or not! We've been memorizing Eph 1 and there's a phrase several times now that's got me thinking about this. It says, "According to the good pleasure of His will..." and "According to His good pleasure..." I don't even know if those phrases go with my thoughts or not, but don't we sometimes feel about God like little children do about their parents-"He can just do whatever He jolly well wants!"? And it's true, God can! But if we, being evil, make decisions for our children's good, how much more does our Heavenly Father for us? That thought comforts me tonight!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Things I'm enjoying...

*Little girls at play calling "Mom!" and when I answer they say "I'm not talking to you!" *Big boy going to work with Daddy and coming home looking like a tire shop. *Learning verses together before bed and listening to Lillian's version "Paul an Apossible of Jesus Christ..." *Observing the 4 year gap between girls diminishing while at play with a cardboard box turned dollhouse *Jennifer's comments during church - "Mom, her dress is just the color of carrots!!" (the lady sitting right beside me) and about the man with the long beard who gave a testimony "He can't even hardly talk right cause of his hair!" :) *big girl on the phone with a girl friend *my big boy proudly mowing the lawn even if it's blistering hot *listening to the dad effectively settle squabbles while I lay on my bed and read email and write blog posts and smile and say "hmmm...so that's how you do it!" *Consciously stopping my tirade of "Oh groan, how am I gonna do this" with purposeful lists of "Thank you God for......" Happy Monday!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Lack gratitude, then lack patience, then, ultimately, lack Love - A. V.

It started out fresh and hopeful. I had big plans! Curtains. My window set up here is different then the house I came from but I'm creative, ya know. And frugal! Don't forget that. Oh, and I could hang these things myself, just watch me! A gash on my arm didn't deter me in the least. Curtains. Only four panels between 1 large and 1 small window wasn't stopping me either! (creative and frugal, remember?) My 8 yr old's questions, ideas and comments nearly did me in though. And when the day was half gone and my to do list was still at "curtains" at the top and I didn't like any of the "creative" options I'd come up with....well, let's just say the freshness and hopefulness was pretty much gone! I redeemed the day somewhat by baking cookies and letting said 8 yr old make the meatloaf for supper. But it all fell back apart when the man arrived w/ a comment on the "creative" curtains and "O, I thought you were buying new curtains." Wrong thing to say! Tonight I thought of this title...hmmm...yes...my day. Sigh!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Nothin Special

I think my "writer" is broke! I just don't have any inspiration to write these days. Or maybe it's more I don't have any energy to put into writing. There's been so much going on for the last 2 weeks especially that I hardly know what "real" life is anymore! Chris' brother and wife left today so maybe we can find a new normal...whatever that might be :) It's only 3 weeks until school starts!! I've got some pressing sewing and shopping to do in the next 3 weeks! Isaac and Jasmine are excited that the time is getting close. They miss interaction with their friends and I'm glad they're excited. There may be a trip to AR for a wedding yet before school starts and I'm daring to get excited about that too! :) So, life won't be boring any time soon. There's going to be plenty to do on our little shack for quite a long time yet! But it will come and right now I'm just relishing every mundane task performed in MY house, using MY possessions, for MY people :) I know I'll forget soon but I'm enjoying it anyway!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

We're In Our House!!!!!!!!

It's late and I am oh, so tired, but I've been silent almost longer then I can stand! It all comes of trying to surprise family members who may or may not read your blog posts... We spent the first night in our little "Shack by the Road" last night! It's not done and there's a tremendous amount of work to be done before everything's squared away...but we're in, and it's just US! Well, actually, it's not. My sister, Kristine, is here right now. Her coming pushed us to get in and many kind and thoughtful friends and family lent time and resources to make it possible! Someday maybe I can tell the whole story. It's been pretty amazing around here lately!! You know what else is amazing? Exactly 1 year ago this week is when we moved to Ohio. Sometimes I wonder if I'm the same person that climbed in that van and drove the whole way to Ohio last year?! It's been a year with many ups and a whole lot of downs and more stretching and teaching then I knew was possible...but I had better quit and enjoy some sleep! :)

Monday, July 16, 2012

That second question that makes a difference

We've all heard of acts of kindness that made a huge difference in someone's life. Have you ever been the recipient of such an act? Last week was a rough week, Chris was completely worn out and blue. This is so strangely out of the ordinary that I hardly knew which end was up anymore! Friday night the parents were invited to VBS for the final night so we went. We were soon wishing we'd have worn signs saying "No. Thanks for asking." When Eli Schrock's sat down across from us to eat and asked the familiar question "Are you in your house yet?" we had to laugh! But, Eli asked another question, "What can we do to help?" Before we knew it he was planning to come over Saturday and bring the router Chris needed and telling him where to find more glue! Saturday Chris and Eli took our counter tops to Eli's shop to work on. By the time they came back Chris was like a different person!! You never know what an act of kindness might mean to someone else. It might seem small to you, but it might do wonders for them!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

This little lady discovered the fun of taking pictures with my phone recently and now she's always begging for the chance. Today i gave her my phone and you would have thought it was christmas! She scurried around, giggling with glee, capturing blurry images of the sewing machine, the baby doll, me on the couch, the shirts hanging on a hook, a picture in a book..... Every new images was dutifully shown to me and chortled over! It made me think of ann voskamp in her book "one thousand gifts". When did everything lose it's wonder? When did we grow up and everything become mundane and ordinary? If god really wants me to go around my days with glee like jennifer with my phone then i'm afraid i've been failing him miserably! *sigh* somehow i'm afraid that i have, and he does.... I also know that he forgives and his mercies are new every morning...

Monday, July 9, 2012

I've been waiting all day for inspiration to strike but it just hasn't appeared. It's been a normal day of lots of laundry, lots of dishes and lots of teasing and fusses to settle. Sprinkled amongst those were some ouchies to blow and some messes to clean up and some meals to cook. The day climaxed with the first night of vbs and 3 excited children going off to see what it's like in ohio! Jennifer nearly backed out at the last minute but her shining eyes and happy stories afterward were worth the encouragement and helping her go through with it! The little lady who snitched my glasses was left out of the vbs festivities. She went w/ chris and i to town and quietly took in our supper and a trip to walmart and our lively discussions about looking at life through the "long view" and so forth. She clutched new tablets and enjoyed her kit kat on the way home, ending up w/ chocolate all over
her face and hands! All in all a decent monday i must say :)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why does a loving God allow hard things?

Life has taken a tail spin lately! But then, what is "normal" anyway? There was company, then a bad back, then a storm an no electricity for 4 days, then a death message... We had hoped to be moving into our house Saturday, instead we'll be attending a funeral. I wonder if God ever intended for us to live "normal" lives? Do you think His highest plan was for us to sit in comfy houses with well paying jobs and shiny vehicles to drive around? I don't think He sighs with pleasure when He sees his children living "normal" lives. What do you say when someone asks, "Why would a loving God allow such hard things?" I think the answer is easy, really. WE DON'T NEED HIM OTHERWISE! God is all about drawing mankind to Himself. Face it, the only way we'll come is if we NEED Him! From a 2 yr old's "I can do it by myself" on, that's just the way we're made. And sometimes the "hard thing" isn't just about us, sometimes it's about drawing others-God wants to draw ALL men. Maybe His highest goal is for us to live needy...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Phone Call

Moving and not having your own house tends to get your attention and straighten up some priorities. The fourth day without electricity is pretty attention grabbing too. There's nothing quite as attention grabbing and priority straightening though as a phone call with a death message. Nothing knocks you over flat, sets you up straight, knocks the wind out of your sails and looks you straight in the eye in one fell swoop quite like that. It came this morning. Chris' cousin Linda's husband, Rojo, is singing in a Heavenly Choir. We didn't want him there, we wanted him here, hugging his babies and kissing his wife good bye as he left for work this morning! Our hearts cry and we sit around numbly with no electricity and no house knocked neatly into place in our list of priorities. Truth is, we're all longing to sing in that Heavenly Choir, it would just be nice if we could all join at the same time! So, Rojo, we rejoice at your completed Journey! And, Jesus, we're glad we can trust Linda and her babies to You.

Monday, July 2, 2012

On Power Outages and Attitudes

I've been through my share of power outages in my time. Our area in AR was known for ice storms and tornados...and power outages! When I was young I always thought it was kinda fun! Using lanterns an candles and living like the pioneers for a few days... Of course mom always had a gas stove so we didn't go hungry, which made life easier. Being a mom in that situation was a bit different, rocking children who are used to sleeping with night lights, entertaining and keeping little people warm/cool, needing to get the clothes washed eventually... Being out for nearly 2 weeks once was a little beyond "fun" to be sure! Still, with generators, meals at grandpas, games by candle light, reading books out loud... it makes great memories to look back on and talk about! In case you hadn't guessed, we're out of electric right now. I realized last night how much difference an attitude makes! Yes, it's hot, dark, unhandy, awful...but there's porch swings, games, books... and we might as well make some good memories! :)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

How about we ask Him?

Ok. I've started this and deleted it 3 times. The plain and simple truth is, my back is out of whack and I'm sick of it. The end. I could try to make some great lesson about "being cheerful and not whining and being a crank when your back hurts" or "how the Lord slows us down sometimes" or "learning to trust even when we don't understand", etc. But honestly? I'm tired of my back hurting, we don't have money for a chiropracter, tomorrow we have 2 bushel of beans to do, next week we're hoping to start moving boxes upon boxes and did I mention about my back? I know I need all the above lessons and then some. And I figure the back deal is a great opportunity for God to do some teaching. But tonight, what I really would like to say is, will y'all please pray for my back? I know God has it covered and however He wants to work it out is ok but sometimes I wonder if He doesn't answer because we don't just *ask*. So I'm asking you to help me ask! And don't forget the "Your will be done" part. Thank you, friends!

Monday, June 25, 2012

There is no fear in love.......

I sat with you in Sunday School yesterday, bench upon bench of women and me in the middle. I nodded as the talk flowed about pain and following through uncharted waters. I listened as verses and thoughts were shared and prayer requests were unburdened. I felt empty and small and lonely in the midst of the crowd but my mouth went dry and my prayer requests stuck in my throat so I sat with my back aching and said nothing. It wasn't your fault I felt out of place. If I would have asked each of you personally, you would have all said your life had the same goal as mine: to be a faithful follower of God. The trouble lay in my heart as I looked at the externals and refused to be vulnerable. Maybe it was ok to be silent. Maybe the tears would have come too freely and the sympathetic eyes would have been too much and it was not the time and place. But my selfish heart was not ok! My fear of man and intense focus on me rather then the needs and hearts of you who sat so close around me was the problem. I John 4:18

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Fight

There's this everlasting battle in this thing called "the Christian life" have you figured that out yet? It's called the old man vs. the new man, the flesh vs. the spirit. It's always there, under the surface, just waiting to spring into combat mode. A busy week and all the looked forward to visitors come and gone, a back severely out of whack, words with your spouse, church issues and loneliness.... that's about 5 things more then necessary to trigger an intense battle. The Spirit says "Rejoice evermore" and the Flesh says "Just give me a good cry and some pity". The New Man says "Count the gifts" and the Old Man says "But first get in a good round of counting the troubles". I think I'll mess up the battle plan completely. I'm climbing in bed without putting any children to bed and pulling the covers up to my chin and shutting out all the voices. Nobody's winning tonight! I'm going to sleep and hopefully in the morning the enemies will have called a truce! G'night.

Monday, June 18, 2012

The greatest of these is Love

I have a cold. And I have a head ache. And my back has been bothering me. And, I'm tired. There were no naps today, so bedtime brought with it the usual whining and fussing that a no-nap-bedtime brings. There was no cooperation and even less happiness. My head ached to be laying on my pillow and my hand itched to dole out some swats and be done with the ordeal! There were some swats and words til suddenly I stopped. The whiny little girl really needed some attention, not discipline and how many of these moments am I going to pass up? I do it all the time, I don't have time to love. So we rocked and I sang 3 or 4 songs that my older 2 would have known at their age and I wondered why? Why don't I have time for love? Discipline is needed, yes. But sometimes, sometimes don't I just need a little love? And aren't little people still pretty much people, just like me? They're sleeping now, peaceful little faces. I hope somehow, in spite of all my mistakes, they remember rocking and singing new songs....and love.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day

In a world where many struggle to understand and grasp a Heavenly Father's love because of their earthly pattern, I haven't. In a world where so many children fear their father's abuse in actions or words, I never have. In a world where so many children never saw their father love and cherish their mother, I always have. In a world where their father is the last person many would go to with a problem, mine was always the first. In a world so full of children desperately longing for their father's love and approval, I've never doubted mine. This morning there are several fathers in my life who I love and respect. There's the father of my children, the father of the father of my children, and then, there's Daddy. Anyone can be a father but it takes someone Special to be a Daddy! In this world there may be many who inherit more money than me but I've inherited wealth of much greater value! On the list of never ending gifts, #1,017. The underserving privilege of calling such a man Daddy. Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Some days ordinary is good and comfy. Some days exciting adventures break up the ordinary and turn it into thrilling! Then, there are those days when ordinary is just plain old same old and there are no thrillers to be had. That's when you throw the simplest of lunches together and head out for the park with your gas light on. You scrunch up in the little "house" and have a picnic. Then, because everything you want to play with is as hot as a biscuit, you pull old towels out of the trunk like you planned it, and spread them in the little car and on the slide to give a cool ride! You play pitch and catch with the 2 oldest and laugh at the way you never could catch w/ a ball glove. Then you ration the last of the water and play a game of "slap" with jasmine and tuck wild flowers little hands picked into an empty cup. Then you pack up and return to ordinary, sun kissed and smiling! Who
says you need thrillers anyway?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Is it really only 8 feet?

Arriving at the outdoor hymn sing, we seated ourselves on a nearby picnic table bench since Chris' parents were bringing our chairs. Five or ten minutes later they showed up and Chris got up to help w/ chairs, etc and then he and Isaac sat down on the chairs. He motioned for me to come over but seeing no empty chair and being just fine on my picnic table bench 8 ft away, I stayed put. And in that instant I felt it, that deep down KNOWING that I should hop right up and move! But where was my chair? And if I moved, my 2 little girls w/ their little chairs would want to move too and why bother? It would just be an unecessary ruckus for 60 pairs of eyes to check out! Still, I knew. KNEW! And I squashed it. I am trying to learn to listen to my inner "knowing" especially in regard to respecting my husband. It's so easy to squash it, to reason it away. I mean how big a deal is not moving 8 ft? Trust me, it's important! After all, how big a deal IS moving 8 ft? About as big a deal as him helping me wash dishes??

Friday, June 8, 2012

One Thousand Gifts

I wrote down my 1,000th gift last week! It's interesting to look back over the pages. Ten month's worth of jotting things down... To be honest it's more like ten month's worth of sporadically jotting. I blame that partly on not having my own house and keeping my notebook in a drawer most of the time. Out of sight out of mind, you know. Truth is, while I do think I learned something from it, I didn't really make it a way of life. It didn't really become part of me. Some of the time it was more a part of me than others, yes. Some of the time it was "O yeah, that list! Let's see. What can I come up with?" Still, it was good for me. Looking back over the pages is maybe as good for me as anything! Seeing all the times God was there, right there in that moment. There's something about looking back at all the "bridges" that have held in the past that strengthens your heart. I'm not sure if I'll keep counting or not. There's something kinda anti-climatical about 1,001 1,002... But then there's 2,000 out there! :)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Catch Up News

If I was a "real" blogger, I'd have lots of pictures to catch you up on our Memorial Day week end and house progress. Since I'm a "pretend" blogger and can't do that, I'll just tell you. We had a fun Memorial Day week end at a cabin in Cambridge, OH with all the Joe's Tire employees an families. It felt like a crime to waste Chris' days off not working on the house but I'm glad we did it. We needed a break and some different scenery! The cabin was beautiful with lots of fun stuff to do and it was good to get to know the people Chris works with a little better. As for the house, we didn't hit our goal of June 2, but we have gotten a lot done! All but 1 of the rooms are either primed or painted. The plumbing isn't quite done yet and we need counter tops and floor covering. We could be in in 2 weeks if we kept up a steady pace but it'll probably be more like end of June. We're pretty burned out on "a steady pace" (meaning-every spare minute)! So, there's the update...you'll just have to imagine the pictures!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Happy 11th Anniversary!

One year and 10 months after that "fateful phone call", I stood with Chris before God and these witnesses and said "I do." Today, 11 years later, I look back on our story and marvel at a God who can take Mr Know-It-All and Miss Stuck Up and write such a tale! The last 11 years have definitely brought us through better and worse, sickness and health, prosperity and adversity...and more. One thing has not changed in these 11 years. Mr Know-It-All? No. He's quite an older and wiser version. Miss Stuck Up? No. I don't think you'd recognize her as the same person. God? Yes. The God who brought us together in the first place has never changed an ounce! And He continues to write our story in unexpected and surprising chapters. The friendship that budded in such an unusual way is still blooming profusely! There is no one on earth I would rather call "friend". I love you Christopher! Thank you for 11 years in the top 1/10th of the top 10% of marriages in the world :) And here's to many, many more!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Chapter 14. In Which We Reach The End

While he did wait for another week after telling Miss T his plans, the BIG DAY finally came, August 2, 1999... This day was chosen because Bethany was on the youth committee with The Chief Of Information Himself, who informed Chris that Bethany would be at a meeting that night to plan youth activities. With no fear that Bethany might answer the phone, Chris took a long look at the spinning, flashing, glow-in-the-dark, green light. Then, picking up the phone he dialed 1-870-269-8764 and waited... "Hello, Elmer? This is Chris Eicher calling...." On the way home that night Bethany shared her frustration with Mr J over how she had yet to hear when she would be going to FMH and how hard it was to wait patiently. As he dropped her off, Mr J said "I'll be praying for you." Little did she know what he knew! However the decision was not really difficult. Bethany knew in her heart the answer was "yes" and so she began her journey to becoming Bethany Eicher...which is a whole other story but we have reached The End!

Go here for one last post...

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chapter 13. In Which They Finally Meet Again And The Stage Is Set

It was July when Bethany travelled to IN, along with her parents and Miss T, for the Youth Fellowship Meetings. These meetings were divided into districts and Bethany knew quite well that OH and AR were not in the same district. Still, she hoped Chris might show up. And he did! His trusty FBI agent, Mr J, told him Bethany would be there and so he went. They didn't spend a lot of time together but did manage one long talk in the hall while their friends walked by and pretended not to notice them. In the course of conversation Chris shared his plans for going to Faith Mission Home. In surprise, Bethany shared her going to Faith Mission story! And, at last, the green light spun and blinked. No way was he going to FMH if she was going too! The time had come to ask, and soon. There was one person he needed to talk to, Miss T. You see, Chris wasn't quite as dense as Bethany had thought. He didn't want Bethany to have to tell Miss T, so he took her aside and informed her of his plans. And so, the stage was set.

Go here for Chapter 14

Chapter 12. In Which We Sing A Familiar Tune And A Matter Is Settled

It so happened that Chris' trip to AR coincided with VBS. Thursday night Miss T took Bethany aside to fill her ears! She had been shopping at Walmart that day when who should appear but Chris and Mr K!! AND they had told Miss T they might come to VBS that night! All evening Bethany waited...but in vain. As her house was only a stone's throw from Mr J, she observed their porch party as she finished packing for her departure in the morning. It would have been so easy to MAKE seeing each other happen, but Chris was quite content to leave it to the Lord. And so, the morning found Bethany on a plane to Belize and Chris attending the morning session of VBS. Once again, so near and yet so far away! Bethany enjoyed her time in Belize and returned home wondering what the future held for her. Imagine her surprise to find a letter waiting to confirm a dream! It contained an application for Faith Mission Home, a place for mentally handicapped children. With her parent's blessing she made plans to go there for a year.

Go here for Chapter 13

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Chapter 11. In Which Chris Has A Birthday And Bethany Receives A Surpr ise

Spring sped on toward summer and one day a green light appeared in Chris' mailbox! It happened this way. Miss T remembered that Chris' birthday fell on June 1 and proposed to Bethany that they send him a card. She agreed hesitantly, knowing her parents might frown on the idea. Miss T drafted a poem and Bethany produced a photo. They signed their names and Miss T sent the greeting on it's merry way! Weeks later, the phone rang at Bethany's house ... not unusual. Her sister answered it ... also, not unusual. Seconds later she handed it to Bethany, "I think it's Chris Eicher!" GULP. This WAS unusual!! Sure enough, seeing an excuse to contact Bethany, he had picked up the phone and called her. They proceeded to have a "friendly" chat and all the while Bethany's mind was spinning "what am I gonna say when I get off of here?!" Much to Bethany's relief, no great fuss was made. She did glean one noteworthy news item. Chris and Mr K were planning a trip in June which included a stop in AR at Mr J's house! Hmm.....

Go here for Chapter 12

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chapter 10. In Which They Nearly Meet And We Learn Of The FBI

And so, the 2 individuals in our story returned to "normal" life. Although neither could forget the friendship that had budded in the most unusual way. To tell the truth, they missed each other! And when Bethany went to OH to visit her sister, she really did miss him. By a whisker. You see, Bethany was spending several weeks w/ her married sister. An acquaintance from CBS called her up w/ an invitation to a volleyball game one night. An evening of so many strangers was too much for Bethany's shy nature and she stayed home. Weeks later her sister's letter revealed that Chris Eicher was at that volleyball game!! If only...but she had missed it! Meanwhile, Chris spent his summer working and searching for green lights concerning Bethany. He had what he called his FBI-friends who knew of his interest in Bethany and gave advice and information. These included bishops, ministers, CBS teachers, CBS roommates of both he and Bethany, and of course Mr J, Chief Of Information Himself. One day a green light appeared!

Go here for Chapter 11

Monday, May 28, 2012

Chapter 9. In Which Miss T is Offered A Ride And They Say Good Bye

Now Miss T had a brother in IN whom she wished to visit. She had a way to return to AR in a few weeks, but how to get there in the first place? Enter the kindhearted (but dense!) Chris Eicher. Seeing as he lived in OH, it would be a simple matter to drop Miss T off on his way home. When Bethany heard of his offer, she was fit to be tied. Of all the things Chris had done concerning Miss T, this was by far the dumbest yet! But, again, what could she say? Why should she care? So, Saturday night found Chris at Mr J's house, a room mate of Chris' from Bethany's church. After church Sunday Miss T had dinner at Bethany's house and waited for her ride to arrive. He came presently and Bethany, after saying her goodbyes to Miss T, found herself on the porch with... HIM. It felt awkward, suddenly, to say goodbye. They shook hands and stood there, as if there should be something more than merely goodbye. But what? And so it was merely goodbye. Then Chris drove away w/ Miss T as Bethany forlornly watched them go.

Go here for Chapter 10

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Chapter 8. In Which Miss T Hitches A Ride And Bethany Protects Her

The last big event of CBS was a trip to Hillcrest to give a program. The Clarion staff planned to return immediately afterward to work on the yearbook. Now it happened that Miss T learned of the plan and obtained permission to go w/ them as she had alot of homework. Bethany was indignant! Homework indeed. But what could she say? The ride included only her and 2 boys. Neither could she argue when Chris opted to sit in the back seat w/ Miss T. But she was furious. What an idiot! Had he never heard of leading girls on? The ride back was less than merry. They drove along in silence only to realize they'd majorly missed their road! After procuring a map and stopping for gas the atmosphere suddenly changed. You see, Chris was in the driver's seat now and Bethany smugly kept her spot notwithstanding Miss T's imploring looks! Now that Miss T was protected there was laughter and chatter and singing. And to ensure her further protection Bethany made certain she went straight to her room to do homework upon arrival!

Go here for Chapter 9

Friday, May 25, 2012

Her little hand

Someday this little hand might cook or clean or sew or tend a garden or busily can fresh vegetables for a hungry family. Someday it might touch a firstborn child or hold a husband's hand or smooth a sick child's brow or wipe pain filled eyes. Someday this hand might feed the hungry in africa or fold in prayer for the lost. And someday this little hand will fold in death. But today? Today this little hand needs mine. It reaches for mine to go on a walk, it pats my back when i pick her up, and when she's tired or hurt this little hand searches for mine and her fingers caress my familiar skin. This nap time ritual is made sweeter by the fact that once it was my little hand that needed my mother's. My little hand that searched and felt for the familiar skin. Someday this little hand won't need mine anymore but today? I treasure today.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chapter 7. In Which Bethany Writes Chris an Astonishing Note

The many indications that something more than "friendship" was developing between us is truly interesting to recount. There was the way we "ended up" in nearly all the same classes 4th term, then the way we'd both end up in a classroom 15 min before class time to "study". The volleyball tournament where Chris watched Bethany all day and she wondered if he was ok, and picture night when Bethany claimed a seat beside Chris where there was no room for Miss T. There was the group Chris organized to sing at a nearby prison. He asked Bethany, of course, to choose the girls and poor Miss T didn't meet the age requirement. There was the ride back to CBS from gospel team (but that's another chapter!) And then there was Bethany's note of encouragement she dropped in Chris' lap. The note that made his eyes bug. The note that said she was praying for whatever was bothering him, never dreaming that marrying HER was the problem bothering him! Funny, really. So she was praying about marrying him and didn't even know it!

Go here for Chapter 8

Chapter 6. In Which We Learn A Secret

There was one small detail in his friendship with Bethany which Chris never told anyone. Sometime between the first Clarion meeting and the Saturday boat ride, the Lord told him he would marry Bethany. It wasn't an audible voice and it didn't happen in a single moment. But one day he knew. Knew as plainly as if God had voiced it from Heaven. And the realization startled him. Why her?!? He wasn't even sure he LIKED her and she was going to be his WIFE?!? Sure he had to admit she wasn't the stuck up person he had first thought her to be, but that didn't mean he wanted to MARRY her! Yet he KNEW, and there was a strange peace about it that he couldn't describe. So in many ways he spent the rest of his time at CBS as one might who knows that someday he will inherit his family's fortune and so must prepare for that day. An earlier heartbreak he didn't care to repeat caused him to proceed with caution. He sought advice from anyone he could think of in an effort to make SURE his crazy "knowing" was real.

Go here for Chapter 7

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chapter 5. In Which We Are Introduced To "the Triangle" and the Plot Thickens

4th term arrived and with it Bethany's best friend (hereafter referred to as Miss T). She and Chris shared an earlier friendship built mostly on the soft spot in Chris' heart for those like Miss T who joined the Mennonites. And so began an interesting Triangle. Sharing a mutual friend who was struggling to make her way in the Mennonite world allowed Chris and Bethany to deepen their friendship. It was all in the name of helping Miss T of course! Besides, the YUCK factor was still there. There wasn't any possibility Bethany would ever fall for that know-it-all! Still, Miss T's prescence put Bethany between a rock and a hard place. She watched Chris and Miss T and their discussions and saw the good he could do her. At the same time she watched (and listened to) Miss T and knew Chris' attention was giving her other ideas besides advisor. She did not want to see Miss T get hurt. How could Chris not see what he was doing? Dumb, blind boys!! And yet...there was something else there too...but what exactly?

Go here for Chapter 6

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

9 for 9: Finishing the "In Which" Series

In true "Bethany" fashion, I'm getting a little tired of stringing our story out over a hundred Thursdays. So.....since there are 9 more days of May and 9 more chapters of our story. And since I know you're all sitting in suspense from Thursday to Thursday just dying to know what happens next. Beginning tomorrow I will be posting a chapter every day! :)

Monday, May 21, 2012

Little pleasures...

Who would have guessed that a pipe cleaner family could give 2 little girls so much fun and pleasure? i made jennifer and lillian each a little family and they played and played taking them for rides in their shoe "cars" and making them do different things. Interesting that they started with one little person who they said was themself, then requested a mom and dad and then a grandpa and grandma! Hmmm... Might that have something to do with our living arrangement these days? :) every so often they get brought to mom to repair squashed arms and legs and a bit ago i found lillians family in one gigantic "hug" after they had been stuffed in her purse :) these pipe cleaners were originally part of jennifer's 4th birthday gift along with a container of beads to string on them. They've played hours with those as well! Dishes await... Too bad these little people don't help with the work :)

Friday, May 18, 2012

I'll take the Beautiful, but why the Ugly?

Anyone who is married knows the feeling, at least I think so! You have this lovely sharing time together, you and him, and your hearts are so close you almost feel like you're pumping each other's blood. The next days there's this glow and all you have to do is look in each other's eyes and that close warmth returns. You feel like life just couldn't get any better and how did I ever get so blessed? And then, it happens. It's the smallest thing that starts it, you're feeling down and want a little sympathy and he wants you to listen to something he's saying when you're busy and not interested. Before you know what's happening it's all about big things, your selfishness and his not understanding, and where did it all go? There's tears, avoiding eyes, backs turned in bed and words. Too many words. Thankfully w/ God there's also redemption. There's slow opening of eyes to truth, apologies, strong arms that hold. And slowly I'm realizing that w/o the ugly and the redemption, there would never be the beautiful!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Chapter 4. In Which The Opinion Changing Begins

The 1st Clarion meeting found Bethany feeling clueless about her role and uncertain how she would relate w/ the other members. She must have decided to just be herself, for Chris came away from the meeting in wide eyed amazement! He never dreamed this stuck up girl could talk and laugh and, in short, act so crazy! Hmm...they both left wondering in bewilderment which person was real-the one they thought they knew or the one they had actually had a good time with?? Then came Saturday. Bethany joined a small group with plans to go motor boating. Upon arrival at the boat dock, they were met by 3 boys, 1 of whom was Chris Eicher! And, they shared the same boat. Whatever. Sunday brought ANOTHER surprise. Bethany planned to attend her own church w/ a group of students from CBS. But who invited Chris Eicher? And who rode in the same car, in the same backseat? Uh huh. Looking back it is amazing how they ended up together that week end. Neither one knew the other was going along either day until-there they were!

Go here for Chapter 5

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hand me that Gold Star!

I need a big, gold star for bravery: I accomplished a first today! Jennifer, Lillian and I drove to the mall all by ourselves! :) I am not good with learning how to drive to new places. And driving on interstates scares me silly. Well, everywhere I wanna go here is a new place and most of them you have to go interstate to get there... I'm learning, slowly. The best way to learn is to just go do it by myself! I'll never remember the way to a place just by riding with someone! So, I did it!! I won't tell you how many times I was on the phone with Chris or how carefully he explained the map he drew for me :) The point is I did it and now I think I could do it again...maybe even without my phone! Maybe. In other news? Work on the house. Work on the house. Work on the house.... It's coming! I can almost taste it!! I don't even know if I'll know how to act! And opening all those boxes that have been stored for 9+ months? Christmas, y'all! I can't even remember what all I have anymore!! Happy Monday to all....