Friday, September 28, 2007

Won't you be my neighbor?

Last night I had to take my neighbor to the emergency room. She's okay, but they are still trying to figure out what exactly the problem is. For a young, healthy mom, her chest pains and nausea were quite concerning. When I pulled up in front of her house to take her to the hospital, our next door neighbors were coming out of the house, helping with the baby and assisting as needed. They, too had gotten a call and knew that M wasn't feeling well so they went over in person to check on her.

That is why I love my little dead end street. I love that there are people right next door and across the street that will be by my side in an instant if I need them. They care about our family and our daily happenings. They loan us a ladder or give me a cup of sugar when I run out. After living in apartments where no one makes eye contact with anyone else, living in our little neighborhood is everything I ever hoped it would be.

It's taken time, but it's so worth it. Two days a week M and D and our three babies walk on the bike trail together. Our families gather together for dinner and to hang out with one another on a regular basis. This weekend we are having a yard sale together as part of our neighborhood's annual sale and picnic. We are a part of each other's daily lives.

It feels good to belong.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Slow down

It has been a slow week around here. Wiping lots of runny noses, trying my hand at quilting with mixed results, and getting a great haircut have been the highlights. We finally ordered our new windows and a month from now we will be living large with new, clean, bigger, nicer windows. I can't wait to have that project off our to-do list. A slow week, but a good one.

For the last several days I have been trying to put into words what my heart is saying when I read about baby Copeland and her family. God has brought them to mind literally hundreds of times in the last week to pray. I am broken for them and can't begin to comprehend how they are feeling. Through them and a heart-wrenching tragedy of another family close to home, God is teaching Cale and I to be more thankful for our sweet, healthy girl. Bedtime hugs are a little longer, kisses more frequent, and holding the weight of her body against mine has never felt so good.

I take so much for granted in my daily life. Yes, I am thankful for a nice house to live in and a car that runs and money for food. But what I am most thankful for are not things; they are my sweet, kind, loving husband and my sassy, busy, delightful little girl. I am thankful for reminders to love them better and appreciate their presence in my life more.

And I will take a slow week with the two of them by my side any time.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Falling Into Reading

The Fall Into Reading 2007 challenge is here and I have a short list this time around. I haven't had a lot of time to read of late so I am hoping that this list will help me to get motivated when I do have time. This is probably not a complete list as I usually get inspired on visits to the bookstore or library and will add to this as the months progress. Am I the only one who goes to the bookstore and picks out books I want to read, writes down the names and authors and then goes home and requests them from the library? I love to read, but my thriftiness compels me to heavily utilize the library. Or the clearance shelf at Half-Price Books! And now the list:

A Widow for One Year by John Irving

The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler

The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

All My Road Before Me: the diary of C.S. Lewis by C.S. Lewis

The Christian Home School by Gregg Harris

Happy reading to everyone!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Breaking the news

For the last several months there has been some exciting news in our lives that I haven't really been able to write about. I'm not sure what exactly changed today, but something did. We spent the morning at a seminar for America World Adoption Association because we are going to adopt from Ethiopia!

Adoption is something that was always in our minds as a someday thing. But early this summer through a series of events we are confident that the Lord is leading us to making that someday NOW. We have spent the last few months praying and researching and talking and praying some more, seeking the Lord's guidance and wisdom as we pursued this God-sized dream He has placed in our hearts.

Something about going to the seminar today made it even more of a reality that this is our future. If there were any part of us that was doubting this decision, we both walked out of there with a clear sense of purpose and a resounding "YES" in our hearts. We are excited to really, officially begin the process. It is our hope that we will submit our application in the next few weeks and then the fun begins. We have lots of paperwork in our immediate future and untold joy at the end of it all.

We can not wait to see who God will add to our family!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Growing up is hard to do

We have entered into a new phase at our house...Haven is now the proud new owner of a potty seat. And proud she is. She is very excited about this new idea and keeps asking to go into the bathroom. I'm not sure how much she really understands at this point, but the fact that she's interested is all I need to encourage her. No pressure, but plenty of opportunity.



Part of me is not so sure I'm ready for this. She's my baby. We can't possibly be ready for this stage already, can we? Nineteen months have flown by that have completely and forever changed my life and my heart. How did it happen so fast?



The other part of me knows that I'll never be ready for all the changes that come our way, but that resistance does me no good. It's potty training this week, but preschool and slumber parties and college are a blink away. A bit dramatic in my progression, yes, but there is truth in that. Each day that can seem so long as I walk in the midst of it, is part of a chain of days and weeks and months and years that will take us places I can't even imagine at a rate I'm not too comfortable with.

Thankfully there is grace for each day. Not to be stored up and tucked away for the months and years to come, but grace for today. And that's all I need.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Week- end Hodgepodge (a.k.a. a list)

I'm not sure why it has felt like such a long week, but I am ever so thankful it is Friday. Lots of good things to look forward to this weekend with a high temp of 64 degrees tomorrow ranking close to the top. And now random thoughts, from me to you.

1. Tonight I get to take Amber out to celebrate her birthday. Our plans are still a bit up in the air, but I can assure that the evening will revolve around good food, good deals, good conversation and hopefully a good movie. I am so excited that I get to start off Amber's birthday weekend extravaganza with her!

2. We are in the process of getting new windows and it is no fun. I can see why people call up a window company and they magically have new windows all in place a few weeks later. We aren't going on such a clear cut route. In order to cut costs, we are ordering them from a building supply company and then hiring someone else to install them. It will save us mucho dinero, but it is causing us (and by us, I mean Cale) a great deal of stress. It doesn't help that our current widows are probably original to the house which was built in 1915 so they are crazy big and crazy sizes. I made Cale promise me that it would all be over by Thanksgiving. He did so, but rather nervously.

3. I saw these at Target yesterday and I am going to have to get Haven a pair. They are seriously adorable and just what she needs now that it's sock season again. Poor little thing has done a few splits on the kitchen floor and the socks have also severely limited her climbing power (which is not a bad thing!). They aren't puffy and don't have some animated character head bobbling on the front which are big pluses in my book. (Not that bobbling heads are bad, just not the look I'm going for.)

4. This post by Sarah got my mind racing ahead to Christmas and to all the wonderful traditions that we have started with our family. One of my many projects for fall is acquiring all the elements for us to have a Jesse Tree. I am so excited to be able to start a new tradition with Haven this Christmas and believe it is something we will all look forward to each year to help us celebrate Jesus' birth.

5. I'm compiling a list of all my projects that are in various states of undone this fall; it is long and seems somewhat intimidating to me, but we're gonna press on and see what happens. A few items include: learning to quilt with my neighbors, sew a pair of pants for Haven, embroider a set of napkins to give as a gift, paint her hand-me-down wagon a lovely shade of apple green, remove excess items from my house in time for our neighborhood garage sale, and reorganize every closet in the house. It's going to be a busy fall. And is it not impressive that I just managed to create a list inside a list? My writing skills have no bounds.

And now I need to get to work around here!

Monday, September 10, 2007

27

This weekend we celebrated 27 years of Cale's life. It was such a busy weekend that I didn't even get a chance to post that it was his birthday. So this is a bit belated, but still important. We actually started celebrating last weekend with my family and just carried it throughout the whole week. Three different cakes, three birthday meals, his favorite cookies (my special recipe chocolate chip which are pretty much the reason he married me!), an afternoon date, a movie, listening to Haven "sing" Happy Birthday over and over again, going to church, watching the Steelers demolish the Browns and lots of time together- a good birthday week/weekend on many fronts.

More than anything I hope Cale knows how much Haven and I love and value him. We celebrate every day that we share this wonderful experience called our life together. He is a man striving after the Lord who longs to be the best husband and father. He makes us feel loved and cherished and serves us both with a pure heart.

"Her heart went out to wives less fortunate. After all, it wasn't fair that her husband was both the smartest and most handsome guy in town....Thanks for making me the envy of women everywhere."

Happy Birthday, Cale!

Thursday, September 6, 2007

My Favorite Things: Fall Edition

Fall is in the air. Hard to believe when it's 95 degrees outside but I'm believing. Well, desperately hoping is more like it. But fall means so many great things and I would like to take one moment and share just a few of them with you.

Football season. No, I am not taking about college football. I am talking about the NFL. The Pittsburgh Steelers my friends. Five time Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers. I am a serious fan, which might come as a surprise to some. But it's true and I am nothing but proud of my Steelers heritage. In fact, time was spent this past weekend while in the great state of Pennsylvania to procure appropriate Steelers attire for every member of my family from my mom down to the baby who is 10 months old. Haven is all ready to go. I've taught her to say "Touchdown!" while throwing her arms in the air and she tries real hard to say, "Go, Big Ben!" That's a bit more of a mouthful for her.

Haven in her Troy Polamalu #43 jersey



Boots and sweaters. I am so tired of my capri pants and same old shirts I have been wearing since May. I am ready to get out the sweaters and get some new jeans and wear socks again. There is very little that makes me as happy as a brisk fall day with my cute boots and a cozy sweater for company. And maybe Cale, too. Can't wait for lots of those days!

Soup and chili. I love a good pot of soup simmering away on the stove or some chili bubbling away in the crock pot. I am one of those people who can not/will not eat soup in the summer. It just seems wrong to me. But come fall we are hitting the soups like it's our job. (Which it kind of is mine so I guess that works.) I have also been spending some time on allrecipes.com and saving soup recipes to my recipe box like crazy. And if you've never been to that site, what are you waiting for?!! It is easy to navigate and full of tons of great ideas and reviews.

Corduroys. My husband looks good in a nice pair of cords. Real good. And I am thankful that it's September because I feel as if it's okay to bring them back into circulation once again. Maybe not while it's still above 90, but soon, very soon. It really opens up his clothing options for work and it makes me happy. It's the simple things in life that really bring me joy.

Down comforters. It's a bit early to bring this old friend out, but her time will come. I love my down comforter. Cale introduced me to the wonders of down when we got married and sleep and warmth have never been the same. Perhaps it's because I was coming off the coldest winter of my life where I had to sleep with a hat on to stay even remotely warm while buried under my 5 layers of blankets. Either way, the down comforter is my friend. Nothing says fall to me quite like sleeping with the windows open and cuddling under the downie with Cale.

And now I am off to dream of fall days where I'm wearing my favorite sweater and boots while eating a bowl of soup and watching the Steelers win and Cale is sitting next to my in some cute corduroys and then we go to sleep under the downie. My dream will come true soon enough!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Old and new

The friendships that I have with Godly women are not something I take lightly. My circle of friends fluctuates during different seasons of my life, but right now I feel overwhelmed by all the great women I can call a friend. Last week was filled with time spent with so many of them. Old and new; there is comfort in the friends who have walked with you through much of life and there is joy in feeling instantly connected to someone that you are just getting to know.

I had lunch with one of the new friends last week. She is young and passionate about the Lord. She spent much of our lunch asking me questions because she truly desires to know and understand me. It's refreshing to spend time with someone who doesn't want to talk about themselves! That same evening I was blessed to get an entire evening of kid-free hang out time with Amber. We were celebrating our semi-regular Girl's Night Out. Shopping, eating, shopping, dessert and a movie. Seven hours of total freedom! It was wonderful and I am daily thankful for this woman's friendship and influence in my life. I love having a friend that I can still talk on the phone to for 25 minutes despite the fact that we just spent several hours together. I love that we share the ins and outs of our day and I know what she's cooking for dinner and that I get as excited as she does when she gets a great deal.

The next day I went over to my friend J's house and we managed to have great conversation in the midst of kids with questions and making lunch. J and I have been friends for awhile, but have been spending more time together and realizing more and more how great the other is. That evening I met up with a friend from our house church that I am doing a Bible study with. We usually meet with our daughters in tow so having an hour with just the two of us at Barnes and Noble was fabulous. We were able to share what the Lord has been teaching us, both through the study we are doing and in other areas of our life. We marveled at the way God's timing is so perfect and the way He always seems to tie things together from different parts of our life. It was an encouraging and challenging hour together.

We headed out of town on Thursday and I was so excited to discover that one of my old friends was in town and we would be able to see her. The only downer is that we didn't meet up until 11pm! And guess what we did? We went to the grocery store and Walmart! Living on the edge, I know! But it was fun because it reminded me of years past and doing necessary things at all hours of the night with her. We talked in the parking lot in her car until 1:45am. So much to catch up on and share. New love in her life and all that God is teaching her through that. Encouraging her that you never get it all figured out (and yes, that is encouraging to know!). She and I have walked through a lot together and some of my favorite youth ministry memories, or really, mishaps revolve around her. She is a stay-up-late-laugh-alot kind of friend who I am so thankful for!

Sometimes I have really great ideas and I had one of those late last week. Jess only lives about and hour and a half from my mom's house so I suggested that she and her husband come spend the day with us. We had a quick stop planned at their new house, but I was feeling the need for more time together. Thankfully, Jess felt the same and she and Curt came over Saturday. We celebrated Cale's birthday together and they so easily fit into the rest of our family. We really didn't do anything special, ate a lot of good food, savored the beautiful weather and just enjoyed being in the same place. I miss that. I miss her. I miss being part of the daily happenings and just showing up at her house to hang out because I had nothing else to do. I miss road trips and praying together and cruising the book store for cheap books. But life changes you and moves you and right now we are in different places. But our connection to each other remains strong and I won't let that go.

We change and we grow. We move on and we look back. It's all a journey and at least for this moment I am grateful to walk through it with these women by my side.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Home

I feel like we traveled back in time this weekend as we spent time at "home" with my family. We took a short drive out to the tiny little farm town I grew up in and the memories hit me like a ton of bricks. Some are sweet and wonderful and others still hurt with a pain I didn't know was possible. Time doesn't heal all wounds. Time helps the scars fade, but the wound is still there, under the surface, waiting to get bumped just the wrong way. And it hurts all over again. Not quite as much, but the sting is still there.

The passage of time was so evident to me as we drove past the house I grew up in and saw how tall the trees are that I helped plant over 15 years ago. Our house was right next to the church where my dad was pastor, so the house and church seem one in the same in my mind. Some things never seem to change and I find comfort in that. The house looks much the same- the long driveway , flowers out front and the same old shed out back. New things jump out to me immediately- a new sign, newly painted shutters and trees that have been removed. The "new" addition that we helped build while serving there is starting to show it's age 20 years later.

The weekend was filled with good times and good memories. We took Haven to our family camp for the first time and watched her run around on the beach with her cousins. She sat in chairs where her grandpa once sat and read bedtime stories on the bed where I passed many a lazy summer afternoon reading away. S'mores and mountain pies were consumed,balls were thrown, kites flown and hills rolled down (don't ask!). It was everything I remember it being, but different as I enjoyed it from a new perspective.

We rounded out our weekend with a birthday dinner, a baptism and a family picnic. It really was a great trip filled with family and friends. The kind that makes you feel a bit let down when you get home. Sad that it's over and looking ahead to the next trip. It might be true that you really can't go home again, but at least for this weekend I feel like I did. And I can't wait to go again.