Sunday, July 25, 2010

a (hopefully) small setback

I am almost packed for this trip that was supposed to begin around 4 o'clock today.  But, just about the time that everything was almost ready and the kids had reached a fever pitch, the phone rang.

Mama:  we've got a problem ...
Me:  uh-oh ...
The kids ... what, what?????

Mama proceeded to tell me that on the way to church this morning, Daddy noticed an unusual noise coming from the van.  He has a preliminary diagnosis of a wheel bearing going out.  But, we won't know for sure until he can get it checked out in the morning.

When I told the kids what was going on, LB and JW just groaned and went on about their business.  D cried at first and then proceeded to tell me that now he will NEVER get to climb a mountain.

So, for now, the trip is on hold and for the sake of my kids extreme excitement (and my parents' pocketbook) I am praying for a bad wheel bearing and a departure only delayed, not canceled. 

And finally, I am thanking God that, whatever the problem, it was discovered while in the comfort of our own city and not in the middle of nowhere between here and Montana, 'cause trust me, there is a lot of nowhere between here and there.

Friday, July 23, 2010

i can't believe that i am actually going to do this

Let me be blunt ...

I am going to take a trip to Montana ...

we'll be gone for two weeks.

I am going with Mama, Daddy and my three kids ...

and without Ronnie.

Oh, and another little tidbit of information ... we just finalized this decision today ... we leave Sunday!


Before you accuse me of having taken leave of my senses (which I have been accusing myself of all afternoon) or of being a bad wife, let me tell you that I didn't plan to go at first.  Actually, when Mama called me yesterday the invitation started out for my two oldest children.  You may think this strange, but I actually thought it would be nice for them to go and me stay at home with my little guy and do some organizing of bedrooms and major prep for school.  Then Daddy mentioned that maybe D and I would like to go too.  My first reaction was, no thank you.  I just wasn't (and still am not) completely sure that I want to be gone that long without Ronnie.  It was only after talking to Ronnie that I even considered going and then only because he basically told me that I should go.  He didn't say that the kids couldn't go without me, but for whatever reason, the just thinks that my going is the right thing to do.

I am not sure if it is because he thinks I need the time away from ordinary responsibilities, or because he thinks my parents really want me to go, or maybe some peace and quiet sounds good to him, too.

But, whatever his reasoning, I have agreed and we leave in less than two days.  I know that I will enjoy the time spent with my parents, especially since Mama should be feeling pretty good after her last chemo treatment and since when we get home they will have to change the type of chemo she is getting and who knows how the new one will make her feel.  We have learned to take advantage of the times when she feels good.  The other nice part is that I will be able to help with the driving.  The trip goes much faster when you have three drivers ... our goal will be to drive straight through from here to Anaconda, Montana, about a 48 hour drive.

Oddly, the kids aren't as excited as I thought they would be.  I think they are kind of like me.  A little nervous about leaving their Daddy for so long.  I think that they will be fine once we go, but I know that we will all miss him.

With all that said, let me introduce you to our destination.

Anaconda is, or rather was, a copper mining town.  The town was built around the smelter and the Anaconda Company was everything.  At least that is how I understand it.  The picture to the left is the smelter stack, surrounded by large piles of slag ... the junk left over after the mining process.  (Please forgive me ... I don't really know all the technical terms!)  The stack really isn't very pretty to look at, but they keep it around because it is a very real part of the history of the town.  My sister-in-law is from there and I am sure that she could do a much better job of sharing the history ... but for now I'll just tell you that if you happen to be interested, they have a really nice website you can visit by clicking here.
The town is really very nice.  It is small and you can walk to many places.  One of LB's first comments to the boys is that there is a Dairy Queen that you can just walk up to the window and order ... no dining room, just tables outside and they are only open in the summer!
You can take a short drive and visit Georgetown Lake, which is absolutely breathtaking.

I don't know what all we will be doing while we are there.  I do know that this is mainly a trip to relax ... so we won't have a whole lot of predetermined plans.  I would like to take the kids to the fish hatchery and to Lost Creek Falls.  I also know that I plan to do a small amount of school work while we are there.  I will probably take the big kids to the library and let them learn a little local history and we plan to map our trip and do some geography on the way.  My Daddy has a wealth of information about Montana and specifically the areas we will be visiting, so I am sure that will be a great history lesson for the kids ... and lets face it, history is more interesting told to you by your Papa than reading it in any dusty old book!

For now, I really need to go start packing and help LB solve the very real crisis of which of her dolls/stuffed animals will make the journey with us and which ones will have to stay behind with Daddy!

Since I don't have a laptop, my computer access will be non-existent once we leave.  I will have lots of blogging to catch up on when I return ... both reading y'all and posting our experiences.  Who knows, two weeks with no internet may be really good for me!

So, I suppose I will see you guys in a couple of weeks.

Unless I chicken out ...


Wow ... I have been given my first blog award! 

Thank you, Felicity!

The idea is that I am now supposed to pass this on to 12 of my favorite blogs.  There is only one problem ... I am a faithful reader of only a few blogs.  I know that there are many more out there that I would love to read, but I don't have a whole lot of time for reading blogs (or anything else, for that matter), so I haven't had time to create a long list of blogs I love to read.  With that said, the ladies listed (randomly) below have made my short list because you all make me smile and/or give me something to think about! 

Katie ... you make the list too, but since your blog is private, I can't link to it!

Anyway ... the way I understand the way this works, is that you are now supposed to share this on your blog and then pass it on to 12 (more or less) of your favorites. 

Thanks, ladies, for sharing part of your world with me and making mine a little brighter!

Monday, July 19, 2010

an overdue thank you and an unexpected blessing

I have been referring to VBS in my last couple of posts and now that it is done, I realize that there is something I should have said that I haven't ... yet.

In my last post I mentioned that sometimes people save their hard work (on decorations) and share it with other churches.  We benefited from several of these churches this year, but there was one special person who helped my husband out tremendously by providing the stage decorations.  Not only did he allow us to use his hard work, he came out to the church twice to help Ronnie set it all up (or more accurately, for Ronnie to help him set it up!) and, now that we are done, he came back again and took it all down.

Some of you know him ... his wife is both a blogging and a real life friend of mine ... so Rie, please thank your "He's too good to me" for being so nice to us. 
We truly appreciate it! 

By the way, we'll try to come up with something else he can help us with, just so you can have Burger King! ;-)


Now on to the unexpected blessing.  I am finding it hard to find words to express this one.  Last Thursday night, at the end of our VBS Family Night, our friend Brad informed Ronnie that he had a couple of presentations to make.  We knew about the first one.  Brad is our missions teacher and he gave a very cool prize to the children who brought the most supplies for the mission project ~ Operation Christmas Child. 

The second presentation was a complete shock to me and left my husband speechless ... which was apparently what they were going for.

All week during VBS, Brad quietly, with the help of our adult class, planned to honor Ronnie for the hard work he puts into VBS each year.  This is our 10th VBS at Crossview and though he hasn't been director for all of those years, he has always worked behind the scenes to keep everything running smoothly.  It brought tears to my eyes to hear Brad express the appreciation of the church for his service, but what came next was the real shocker.  Brad handed Ronnie a certificate and an envelope and asked him to open the envelope and read what it said.  That in and of itself was a little unusual and the look on Ronnie's face told me that he was completely shocked by what he saw when he opened the envelope.

When Ronnie finally composed himself enough to speak, he read a gift certificate giving him an all expense paid trip on the mission trip to Kodiak, Alaska next year.  Wow!  He has always wanted to go and now he will be going.  What a blessing!

So, I know what Ronnie will be doing next year on Memorial Day ... I guess the kids and I will be looking for something to do with ourselves!

Thank you Brad (and Amy) for your part in this and even though I don't think any of you read this, thank you, Crossview, for blessing my husband (and me) in such an unexpected way!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

saying goodbye to another year of vbs

It is late and I am tired.  Ronnie and the kids are asleep, but I am not quite ready to end the day (even though the clock ended it an hour ago).

VBS week is always unique.   Themes change, the music changes, the kids change and grow, but the week somehow stays the same.  It may only come once a year, but in some strange way, that I don't quite know how to put into words, VBS is always the same.

Whether we do it for four days (like this year) or five (like every other year), I am always tired at the end, but never quite ready to say goodbye.  Even this year, when I have already admitted what a struggle this week has been, I am still sad to see it go.

I have always thought that with the amount of work that goes into the preparation for VBS, it is a shame that it doesn't last longer.  Many people work long hours to create the illusion of travelling to some far off place, only to stuff their hard work into a garbage can at the end of the week.  ~sigh~  Alas, this just the way it is.  Fortunately, especially for our small church, some people save that hard work and pass it on to other churches.  But the decorations that have made their way to our little VBS are on the last leg of their journey.

I know, this part is a little silly, but it also isn't the real reason I am sad to see VBS come to an end.

It is the kids.

Not my kids.  They love VBS as much as anybody, but I am not sad for them.

You see, my kids will be back in church on Sunday and next Wednesday, with teachers who love them and want nothing more than to share God's truths with them every chance they get.  Many of the children who come to our little VBS each year are just like my kids.  They come and they have fun, but for them, Bible School is simply an extension of church life.

Please don't misunderstand me, I am not negating the importance of VBS for all the kids, but when it is all said and done, the faces I see are the ones that I know probably won't set foot in a church again until VBS rolls around next year.

For those kids, and we had a few, even in our group of less than 25 kids, I want just one more day, one more week even, if it would mean one more opportunity to share God's love with them.  I am not so naive as to think that one week of VBS can undo all the weeks of not being fed the word of God on a regular basis, but I do know that every time a seed is planted is one more opportunity for fruit to grow in the lives of these children.  I just don't want to waste any opportunity to plant one of those seeds.

I am so thankful that God allowed me an opportunity to be involved in one more VBS.  I am also thankful that He has once again proved faithful, even in the spiritual funk I have been in this week, and blessed me through this experience.  Most of all, I am thankful for the promises of God's Word concerning the sharing of the gospel, so I will leave you with a couple of them.

I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 1 Corinthians 3:6

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. Isaiah 55:11

It is comforting to know that, while God expects us to be faithful in what He asks us to do, He is still in control and He works best through our weaknesses.

So, as we say goodbye to another year of VBS, I can rest in the knowledge that the Word of God has been shared this week.  Seeds have been planted or watered and in His power and His timing, He will give the increase.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

1 Peter 5:7

This is Bible School week. Usually it is one of my favorite weeks of the year, but this one has been different.

Last night (Monday - day 2 for us) our Bible verse was 1 Peter 5:7 ... Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.

I spent several minutes explaining the verse to my class of 1st and 2nd graders.  Once I felt sure that they understood the meaning of the words, I told them to imagine that they were standing on the edge of a deep canyon.  Then we listed things that they struggle with ... getting along with brothers/sisters, obeying parents, learning multiplication facts, helping with a new baby brother ... to name just a few.  Finally, I took that list and threw it into the canyon. 


Because I wanted them to fully understand (at least to the best of my ability to explain and their ability to visualize) the fact that God wants us to literally throw all of our problems on Him and allow Him to handle them for us.

I hope they got it.

Because, apparently I didn't.

I spent all day today stewing about a perceived problem ... a problem that I cannot change.  The decision has been made and the course is set.  And what's more, very few others, if any, even see it as a problem ... actually, most everyone I know seems to be very satisfied with the decision.

So, why is it such a problem for me?

The truth is, it doesn't even matter.

What does matter is that I have allowed the enemy into my life ...
to steal my joy in teaching VBS,
to kill my effectiveness as a witness for Christ,
to destroy God's plans for me this week.

The question still remains; perhaps someday we will know if the decision that was made was the right one. 

Or maybe we won't. 

Maybe the day will come when I am able to voice why this has bothered me so much. 

Or maybe it won't.

I cannot predict how things will play out in this situation.  Undoubtedly, the plan will go on and soon my struggles will fade into the background.

I cannot change anything or anyone but myself.  With that in mind, I am claiming the scripture that I so desperately wanted the kids to understand at a tender age and throwing my struggles into the deep canyon of God's love for me.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

cannin' maters ... a family affair

My family has been canning tomatoes for as long as I can remember.  I think it was actually my Daddy's sister that got Mama started with the recipe for what we call tomato relish, but over the years she has tweaked and fine-tuned the process to make it her own. 

Now that I am an adult and no longer being forced to can tomatoes, I enjoy the process.  It takes time and a lot of chopping, but it is almost always done with several family members involved which makes the work go faster and the time pass more quickly.  All in all, I find it an enjoyable process.

There are still remnants of my childhood in the process, though.  One thing hasn't changed ... Mama is still in charge!  She freely gives orders to anyone helping, beginning with my Daddy and working her way through any of her kids and their spouses and then on to my kids (if they happen to be close enough to the house).  Of course, she is the one who knows the process inside and out and no one really minds her being in charge.  Actually, I kind of prefer it that way.  Sometimes it is nice just to do as you are told.

For years, Mama was the only person who would actually handle the cutting of the tomatoes.  Any one of us might be the one popping the skins or chopping the veggies, but Mama always handled the actual tomatoes.  Mostly, this was because she didn't trust any of us kids to not accidentally get a bad tomato into the mix.  While this was a distinct possibility back then, the tradition continues now that we are adults (and capable of smelling a bad tomato).  It makes her nervous to watch me (or anyone else) and it makes me nervous knowing that she is watching me and knowing that she can cut them at least twice as fast as I can.

Just for the record, I could can tomatoes at home in my own kitchen, but I would much prefer keeping it a family affair.  There is something satisfying about spending the day in the home where I grew up, doing the things with my husband and kids that I did with my parents as a kid.  I can't exactly describe it, but I know that it is something I will carry with me even after this process does move to my own kitchen sometime in the future.
The kids did get to have a little fun while we were working last Saturday.  They have discovered the joy of complete abandon while riding their bikes down a steep hill through the trees and into the back yard.  This is something my brothers enjoyed when we were kids, but I don't remember ever doing it myself.  Seems as though I do remember one of those trips down the hill ending in an emergency room trip for one of the boys, but I am trying not to think about that!

Uncle Bob (my oldest brother) riding D on the back of his bike and LB heading back up the hill.

JW getting ready to head back up for another trip down the hill.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

since I wouldn't let them play in the rain . . .

. . . they chose the mud instead.

My instinct was to be mad at them, but I just couldn't help laughing ... and then blogging about it!


#23 for 2010
Hosted by Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window ... it is pretty dreary ... but we need the rain and I finally got the grass cut yesterday, so all is well.

I am hearing ... Granny (Ronnie's mom) talking to someone up front ... not sure if one of the kids is up or if she is on the phone.

I am going ... not sure that we are going anywhere today, with the yucky weather, I'm content to just hang out at home.
I am wearing ... black shorts and an orange t-shirt.

I am noticing that ... D's pants are getting too short ... again!  At least it is summer and he can wear shorts most of the time.

I am thinking ... about Bible school coming up next week and what I need to do to get ready.

I am hoping ... that the final prep for VBS goes well this week and that we will see results from the flyers we distributed this weekend.

I am reading ... VBS lessons ... at least that is what I will be reading this week.

I am creating ... dresses ... still working on the ones to donate (see last week's daybook).

On my mind ... seems that VBS is dominating my thoughts this week ... maybe because I have a lot to do to prepare for next week.

I am remembering ... the wonderful weekend we have had ... it was such a great time with friends and family.

Counting my blessings ... 44 quarts of tomatoes canned, Mama's bar full of tomatoes we'll have to can later this week, pickles soaking in lime, kids riding their bikes in my parents' yard, adults working together to complete a task, church picnics, fireworks, celebrating our heritage.

Words that I am pondering ... Mama shared something she heard in a sermon talking about the church and it has really stuck with me ... "Anything not supernatural, is superficial."

From the learning rooms ... we are on hold while Granny is here.

From the kitchen ... pickles to be washed and put in ice water for now ... they will be moved to syrup this afternoon and cooked tonight or in the morning.

Around the house ... things are fairly clean, but the laundry is growing by the minute.

A few plans for the rest of the week ... visiting with Granny and getting ready for VBS will pretty much dominate the week.

One of my favorite things ... canned tomatoes, ready for whatever I want to cook!

A picture to share with you ... just part of the process, celery washed and ready to be chopped and added to the tomatoes.

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

my new toy

Okay, so it isn't really new ...
 (actually, it is 20~something years old)
but it is new to me.

It may have been just a little dusty when I got it ...

but it was free (!) ...

and quite easy to clean.

I just picked it up this morning and already ...

I finally finished this!
Of course, all I had to do was sew the hem and fix the shoulder ties, but still . . .
I am proud of getting it done and I even added decorative buttons to cover up
the not so pretty stitches attaching the ties to the dress.

I don't know what my next project will be ...
LB has big plans for learning to sew herself and also
for me making doll clothes for her American Girl doll, so we shall see.

Whatever project I (or we) decide to tackle ...
none of it would be possible if my sister-in-law
hadn't been willing to donate to my cause!

Thank you, Teresa!
I hope you enjoy your weekend visiting your
baby girl while I sew for mine!