Thursday, February 27

annnnd September through February

So apparently I'm blogging every six months. I thought I had published more posts, but I also thought I was on top of blog post hackers who comment with phishing links. But I wasn't (I just took care of that).

We have a new house. It's a project. We have the kitchen and upstairs bathroom torn apart now, and it's not so bad, because we have about double the space in our former house, which we sold in October. We are so blessed.

And school is in full swing! We are loving Classical Conversations again this year!

Everything is behind. I am disorganized. It's getting better. But sometimes not. No one got any holiday cards this year, oops. They are still sitting in their orange shutterfly envelope, leering "Happy New Year" at me. Thank goodness I had a coupon code and only paid shipping!

I joined a MOPS group in a nearby town, and love it. It's nice to have support from fellow moms who love Jesus and their kids. It's nice to force myself into meeting new people.

Michael started a new side business selling Michigan shaped cutting boards and trivets. It's really fun to see him have fun being creative.

My other (maternal) grandma is in Heaven as of December, and I'm sure it's seemed like a second to her. As I hear of hurts, sickness, heartache and sorrow from my friends going through family and marriage struggles, cancer battles and financial distress, I long to be Home also. Until then, I cling to the One who created me and has a Purpose for all of what happens on this crazy planet.

He has been good.


Thursday, September 19

May thru September: sort of a blur

May: oh, look! the end of the school year! woo hoo!

June: grandma very sick, grandma promoted to Heaven. House on the market. Offer in the first day, same day grandma goes to Heaven. Offer too low. Counter back and forth, no sale. One last update, never ending showings.

July/August: Thinking maybe we should have taken the "too low" offer after all. Nate and family come for visit, two weeks of pure fun. And exhaustion. Showing after showing. "awesome house. too small" yeah, that's what we said. grandma's memorial service, offer on house, things going wrong with house. Took the offer, repairs attempted and successful but more issues uncovered. Unexpected expense after unexpected expense. What?!?!! School is starting already!?!? FOUND A FIXER UPPER THAT WE CAN BUY! offer accepted, apply for loan, (far below our approval amount) and found out the laws have changed and the house has to be "complete" so there's a list of repairs here and repairs there and WOWSA. overwhelming. not sleeping well, not functioning well...it's crazy.

September: CC begins, great first week, cut down in my prime by the strep bacteria. Oh My Swollen Glands. A full week gone! We're getting back on track...

In all this, God works for us and in us! It's been a super time of learning and I'm sure there's more to come. I have to say I'm very excited to sign the papers and get this chapter over with!!  It has been really fun to get to know the older man who owns the new house. He is the original owner and such a sweet guy.  The new house needs a lot of work but upstairs it's a bathroom renovation and cleaning and painting.  I can handle that!! Downstairs we have visions of wall removal and wall creation, new flooring and bathroom renovation. But we'll have more space! and a partial basement! And the price is right for the neighborhood, so we should be able to make it work as far as investment goes. As heartbreaking as it will be to leave our "sweat and blood" house, and especially our lovely neighbors, we're very excited to have another project house. I'll be pinching myself when we sign the papers. There's just one thing.

The new neighbor has a lovely garden. And. A cottonwood tree.

You remember our 4' diameter cottonwood that we had removed just this year? And how greatly I rejoiced in the lack of sticky pods and messy branches. The hands raised in praise. The happy hallelujah dance. As you can imagine, I'm already plotting my "please remove that nasty tree" strategy.  A plate of sugar cookies decorated like tree slices, complete with age rings; a yule log cake with cottonwood bark...a chainsaw wrapped up with a bow.  Wink, wink.

I can't wait to post before (and after!) photos of the house! We've got lots of vision, at least!

Friday, May 17

O Pilgrim, Come

This song/poem has been a real encouragement to me lately.  I hope it blesses you!

O pilgrim come, here is the cross
Your pardon and your peace
Collapse upon the grace of God
Whose mercy is complete
O pilgrim come, here is the cross

O pilgrim come, here is the cross
Cast all your pride away
And earthly treasures count as loss
In light of all you gain
O pilgrim come, here is the cross

Here is mercy
Come be crucified with Christ
Here is mercy
Come be raised with Him to life

O pilgrim come, here is the cross
God's judgment on your sin
Drink deep the shame that leads to life
And broken enter in
O pilgrim come, here is the cross
O pilgrim come, here is the cross

O pilgrim come, here is the cross
And here your boast should be
What I could never do myself
My God has done for me
O pilgrim come, here is the cross

O pilgrim come, here is the cross
No other path attend
O here begin your journeying
And here your journey end
O pilgrim come, here is the cross
O pilgrim come, here is the cross

Written by Wes King and Douglas McKelvey

Tuesday, April 23

nobody tells you the real stuff anymore

I love being 33.  Love it.  There are really cool things about being older than I used to be, like seeing my friends with kids that look exactly like younger versions of themselves, and being able to say things like, "twenty years ago..."  There are lots of great things in my life that I have to be 33 to really appreciate.  However. When I was young, nobody said real things to me about my future as an older human.

1. Nobody told me that eyebrows all of a sudden go crazy.  Seriously crazy.  Well, they do.

2. Nobody told me about hair that looks like eyebrows growing from other places, places from which it probably should be removed, like chins (for example).

3. Nobody told me that pillow lines stop disappearing within the first 15 minutes of waking up.  I need at least half an hour, now, and I expect that number to continue to increase.

4. Nobody told me about the times that all of a sudden you start crying like a baby with absolutely no control.  It could be because you have a moment of clarity, or you see something sweet like an older couple walking and holding hands, or even super cheesy like a Hallmark commercial, or even something random like a leaf blowing down the sidewalk.  I think this is because of older-ness, but I could be wrong.

5. Nobody told me about sleep, and how precious it really is.  Nobody told me to relish the years when I could freely choose when and how and how long I could sleep.  They should have.

I know there are more, but...

6. Nobody told me about memory fritzes and just plain forgetfulness.  Seriously.  I need to get with the program!

You know you have things to add to this list...

Wednesday, March 27

On Expectations

I was thinking a little bit this morning about expectations.  We all have them.  And I can't imagine that Jesus' disciples were exempt from having expectations.  Of course, it's one of those things that you sort of have to speculate.

The speculation really isn't that far of a jump - even though Jesus told them with his own words that he would die and rise again the third day, the disciples couldn't believe it.  (Matthew 16:21-23) You know how we are - always with the self made plans, always with the crazy hopes that our plans will prevail in the face of God's sovereign plan.  We've seen it in ourselves and we can see it in all of Scripture - prophets and people of God hope through the end that their plans will be carried out instead of God's plans. Sometimes begging Him to follow this - our - plan.

Jesus came into town on a donkey and people formed lines to see him and shout "Hosannah!" and were very excited to call Him King. At the end of His triumphal procession, He went on a temple rampage and got rid of all the corrupt vendors.  He healed people who came to Him, and the Pharisees were outraged when Jesus called them out in ways that no one else would dare. I'm sure the disciples thought they were going to be part of a gigantic political overthrow - it's really not that far of a leap, at least not logically.  Sure, Jesus reminded them that He was about to be crucified, and even gave them a time frame, but it's hard being human.  And it's really hard letting go of those expectations.

And then, a few days later, Jesus was dead, just like He promised.  Talk about a roller coaster of highs and lows. I can't imagine experiencing that kind of confusion and disappointment. The things that went on in the disciples minds - well, I imagine they were conflicted.  Wanting to trust the Savior and uncertain of their future, perhaps in fear for their lives - it must have been horrific.

Then, the resurrection.  Jesus defeated death; the tomb was empty.  He is ALIVE.

And suddenly the plans of God were made a little more clear.  Jesus was who He said He was.  The message of the gospel was validated.  The disciples had a mission, and carried it out.  They knew.

I know I have expectations, big and small.  Of how things should be, of how much I should have to pay for something, of how elected officials should act, of which laws should be passed, of who should be allowed to live, of who should be brought to justice, of who should be advocated for.  And sometimes my "plans" happen, and sometimes they don't.  I'm not always okay with this.

But I need to be okay with this, because I am not God.  I do not see things from His viewpoint;  I do not know His plans. Sometimes I get to see a little glimpse of what He's doing.  And that is - thrilling!  He DOES promise that He loves us; He promises to take tender care of His children. He has proven Himself faithful.

A lot of times I don't know anything about His plan. He doesn't promise that I'll go through life without disappointment, without pain, without being witness to or victim of injustice and suffering, or that everything will be great.  He doesn't promise the success of our nation, of our economy;  in fact, He doesn't promise the success of anybody but Himself. 

But there is something thing I can be sure of: God wins, and we will all worship Him. 

In the end, God wins.  And between now and the end, it's not about me or my plans, or my expectations.  It's about God and HIS plan. 

Does this mean I don't fight injustice, or stop advocating, or petitioning? Certainly not.  Does it mean I just flop into a doormat or float along doing nothing to fight against evil? NO.  But my foundation has to be sure. And my expectation has to be HIM.  I have to trust, knowing that if God wants to use something I don't get, it is really okay.  He hasn't forgotten. Nothing has escaped His notice.  It is ok.

It is MORE than ok.  He's Alive, He is Risen, He has conquered death and the grave.  He has an awesome plan, beyond my wildest dreams.  I am expecting Great Things.

Wednesday, March 13

Allergic Reaction

I took Cadey for an allergy skin test.  She's not allergic to anything (even though she may still have gastrointestinal sensitivities that would explain symptoms but not show up on this test).

But I am allergic to something, or rather, someone: the doctor.  And I will NOT be going back.

The conversation went something like this.

Doc: Tell me more about why you came
Me: Well, the family doctor wanted to rule out allergies as a cause for Cadey's rashes
Doc: OK, tell me about the rashes, how long to they last?
Me: it varies, totally unpredictable.
Doc: does she react to other things? Soap? Lotion? Did she react to her baby shots?
Me: It doesn't seem like it, and she hasn't had shots yet so I don't know
Doc: Why not?
Me (really not wanting to get into it): oh, there are lots of reasons.
Doc: Like what?
Me (big sigh): just lots of reasons
Doc: well, what are they?
Me: I've done quite a bit of research...
Doc: *sarcastic and cutting me off* Oh, I didn't realize you were an epidemiologist.  What is it that you do?
Me: silently stewing.

Later...
Doc: so have you ever seen a polio patient?
Me: silent
Doc: HAVE YOU????
Me: no (stewing and thinking, really? polio?)
Doc: well, iron lungs are coming back, they're bringing them back - you might want to look into that and change your mind.
Me: silent  (willing myself to be silent) *checks out*

The rest of the appointment was a total disaster.  The doctor over-explained each test with great speed and technical terms, concluding each explanation with a disparaging, "I don't know how much of that you can understand" when I would ask a simple process question.  It was horrible and I just wanted to escape.

Really, it's just another point against doctors, a group which I *try* to evaluate individually and with grace.  Every experience like this makes me generally more distrustful.  It's really unfortunate, and makes me MOST thankful for our doctors who do not act this way. So, because I was not prepared to discuss it then, I am now writing one of those pointless open letters. OK maybe catharsis is the point.

Dear Doctor,
If you don't want to hear my answer, it is not acceptable to push me into answering just so that you can cut me off.  Also, it is not ok to use sarcasm in your office toward anyone.  It is not professional; it's also very unkind and almost always ineffective.  Third, you do not know me, and yet, you are making assumptions about my intelligence. This does not make me value your obvious intelligence or years of expertise more.  Fourth, if you truly think I can't handle researching to decide if or when I should vaccinate my children, why would you assume that I can handle researching iron lungs?

Lastly, if you are going to try to convince me of the need to vaccinate, please use something that is a little more of a known and proven risk than a wild polio outbreak in an Amish community almost 34 years ago.  Maybe you could site the whooping cough outbreak in California in 2010 or Washington State just last year, or the 3 cases of measles last year that "really had Michigan doctors worried."  Perhaps you could regale me with horror stories as other doctors have done. Maybe that would be more effective.  (But probably not.)  Remember: honey is more effective than vinegar.

I will not be back to your office.

Sincerely,
Jenny

Friday, March 1

There is A Hope

There is a hope that burns within my heart, that gives me strength for ev'ry passing day;
A glimpse of glory now revealed in meagre part yet drives all doubt away
I stand in Christ with sins forgiv'n, and Christ in me, the hope of heav'n! 
My highest calling and my deepest joy; to make His will my home.

There is a hope that lifts my weary head, a consolation strong against despair,
That when the world has plunged me in its deepest pit, I find the Savior there!
Through present suff'rings, future's fear, He whispers 'courage' in my ear.
For I am safe in everlasting arms, and they will lead me home.

There is a hope that stands the test of time, that lifts my eyes beyond the beck'ning grave
To see the matchless beauty of a day divine, when I behold His face!
When suff'rings cease, when sorrows die, when ev'ry longing satisfied,
Then joy unspeakable will flood my soul, for I am truly home!

Stuart Townend, c 2007 ThankYou Music

You can take a listen to the song here, although it is in scorch format so you'll have to sing along yourself!