Sunday, November 30, 2008

Less gifts - more PRESENCE

This has been going around a bunch, but in case you haven't seen it already, please take a minute to watch this...Thanks!

I know a lot of us nod our heads and agree, but please let me encourage you to really ACT on these feelings. Take a minute to ask yourself if you're doing anything differently this year...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 28

I am thankful for my sewing machine. Dave got it for me a while back and I think it was my most 'favoritest' gift ever! I don't really know how to sew, but that's beside the point right now! I really wanted one b/c it represents the Mom/wife I want to be. Since then I have learned a lot and made a few things...recently I have made even more. I have been gaining confidence! For mostly straight stitches, mind you, but this is huge for me. I am thankful that Dave got that for me and the best part was that he listened to all my hints!! So thank you honey...and I hope to post soon about some of my sewing adventures...I am thankful for my sewing machine.

30 days of thankfulness - day 27

I am thankful for my blogging friends! There are so many bloggers out there that inspire me...
There's Joyce (who alerted me to this whole 30 days of thankfulness challenge)
Bethany (who is seriously super-mom - she builds! she cooks! she teaches! she draws! she writes! and WELL!)
Elizabeth (who cracks me up)
Revka (who is so creative)
Holly (who holds it all together as a mom of many and keeps it simple)
Shawn (who is a dad, in case you didn't already figure that out, that gives me 'the other perspective' and gives me the drive to beef up so I can carry my kids around in a pack!)
Rachel (who is so much like me, reflective and contemplative)
Jenni (who also makes me laugh, but questions things in this world too)
Jennifer (who has so many green ideas to get a family started)
and Tracy (who inspired me to write my own blog)
Now guess how many of these ladies (and Shawn) I know in real life? I would love to meet them all, of course, and I hope that someday that might happen...I pray for all these ladies (and Shawn) even though I don't know them. I know that by writing a blog, they have the power to reach and influence other people by their words and the stories of their lives that they choose to share. You have no idea (ok maybe you do, but that's the cliche) how many people mention something they saw me write about on my blog. "I never thought of trying that..." or "We really should ride our bikes more!" or "Hey - where can I get one of those??" The point is that these bloggers inspire me and I am grateful for them. Some of them read my blog, too, and leave comments which I appreciate (btw, that's not required - if I mentioned you and you don't read my blog, no worries! =) I'm not fishing for a compliment or comment...) . Anyway, it's gotten to the point that, yes, I call some of them friends even if we have never met! I am thankful for my blogging friends.

30 days of thankfulness - day 26

(We have all been sick lately, w/me getting the worst of it! So...I'm playing catch up at the end of the month in a big way. Bear w/me as I slowly get these up...)
I am thankful for our freedom of choice when it comes to education. So many times people assume that since I'm a licensed teacher and a Christian, that must mean I plan to homeschool my kids. I don't. I'm not trying to start debate over that, this is not the place! My point is simply the fact that I am so happy we can be in a place where we can all choose what we believe is best. I have friends who homeschool, friends who send their kids to public school, friends who send their kids to Christian, Lutheran or whatever private school, and friends whose kids do some kind of hybrid charter-homeschool thing. We can all choose what we like and no one hassles us about it (at least, they shouldn't!) or puts us in jail if we choose the wrong thing. Another aspect of all this is that we should be thankful our girls can attend school...sometimes I think we take that for granted too! As a teacher, as a parent and as a community member, I am thankful for our freedom of choice when it comes to education.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 25

I am thankful for my bathrobe. It's old (I got it when I left for college) and pilly and unfashionable, but don't get weirded out if I tell you I wear it every day. Most afternoons, when it's just me at home and the boys are asleep, I'm cold. That's b/c I'm too cheap to turn the heat up! But I have a simple cheap solution. I put my bathrobe on. That's right, over my clothes. I don't care if you know it! It keeps me warm. I have no shame! The only problem is that we got these new doors (where is she going w/this? Hold on...) and they don't have peep holes. So if anyone unexpected ever knocks on the door (which rarely happens in the middle of the afternoon!), I have to remember to take it off b/c random people probably don't want to see me in my bathrobe even if I have clothes on underneath!! Still! I am thankful for my bathrobe.
(Oh Joyce! Is the month nearly over yet?? I am thankful for so many things but I seem to be finding myself telling stories and secrets for no apparent reason! 5 more days!!!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 24 (warning - it's long!)

I am thankful for Dave. He is 31 years old today!! Happy Birthday honey! Here are 31 reasons why I love him...
1) He has curly hair...
2) and blue eyes.
3) He is tall (dark and handsome too!)
4) He makes me laugh.
5) He loves his family - that's one of the major reasons I fell in love w/him.
6) He loves sports like me.
7) He speaks Spanish, like me - that's how we started getting to know each other. In college we both attended InterVarsity Christian Fellowship together, but when our junior year started, it turned out we had a lot of classes together. He would always bring the crossword puzzle from the newspaper and I would fill in the stuff he didn't know! Sometimes, he'd be paying attention in class and I would sneakily fill it all out! He hated that but I think he loved it too =) He even asked me to marry him in Spanish!
8) He wants 12 kids, like me!
9) He is smart.
10) He's a hard worker.
11) He lets me stay home w/our kids. I am very fortunate that he is willing to work, help us budget and that he finds it beneficial to our kids. He encourages me a lot!
12) He takes care of me.
13) He plays music - the best part is that he is one of those guys who doesn't really read music, he just jams out to whatever he feels like! A while back he was in a jazz combo (we miss the gigs Shiji had!!) and I had so much fun going to all these coffeehouses and swing dancing! Dave loves to play blues and jazz, but also likes worship music and will play classical if you ask...
14) He was the first person to get me to do a Bible study (I think it helped that I had a huge crush on him, obviously!!). I had never done anything like that before and he asked if we could read/study the book of Job together. Yeah - the book of Job? For my first time? Yeah...that book is filled w/so much...angst and stuff!! I learned a lot. But by now I'm a lot more comfortable doing stuff like that. And I still love reading/studying w/him!
15) He likes outdoor activities like camping, biking, going to parks, etc
16) He's willing to partake in 'all that tree-hugger stuff' as he calls it! He was a little resistant to things like using hankies and what not at first, but he's totally on board now. In fact, he even catches me cheating sometimes! He has commented more than once on how he is glad we are making changes.
17) He dances like a goof, so naturally that makes me look good! LOL! I'm kidding, I know I'm a goofy dancer too! After we got married, we took a dance class together and we had some swing lessons. It was fun...even though I still don't let him lead!
18) He likes going to oddball touristy stuff when we're on vacation. Have you seen the stone cement sculptures in WI? Or that one house that has a car sunk into their front yard? I have dragged DW to enough of these 'off the beaten path' type things that he actually gets excited and finds some of his own now too.
19) He can and does smother me w/kisses!
20) He keeps me warm when we go camping and I'm sooooo coldddddd! When we were on our honeymoon, we were camping in Canada (do I need to explain that there was snow in JUNE??) and I couldn't sleep b/c my body kept shaking and bouncing from the cold. Dave wrapped his arms around my head and told me to relax and go to sleep, that he would keep me warm. I giggled so hard b/c I told him the headlines tomorrow would be about how this newly married couple was found dead in their tent and it looked like the guy smothered the girl!! All I remember after that was waking up it worked! Anyway, he is always about 30* warmer than I am so he keeps me warm a lot.
21) He is compassionate for others, like his students or foster kids, etc...
22) He reminds me of his dad. I used to get annoyed by stuff like that, but now that Dad is Home, I love seeing things in Dave that remind me of him.
23) He thinks I'm beautiful and he buys me flowers!
24) He's a great tutor/mentor. He loved being a middle school teacher...he loves having kids at the house over the summer to work on math and stuff. He enjoys getting to know them in a smaller setting and teaching to their strengths and weaknesses.
25) He gets along w/my family. He loves to talk sports w/my Dad and brother and teases my mom =) His favorite story to tell is the one where he went downstairs to talk to my dad about asking to marry me. He says he never saw the TV go off so fast!! If you ask him, he will tell you more about that story, he loves it...
26) He shares what he learns/has learned w/me. He's always teaching me music stuff (I'm always forgetting!), cooking stuff and football stuff. He was taking some classes through the Institute of Creation Research and would always share what he was learning about. I love that stuff! That's a big part of why I became a Christian! But I guess that's another story you're all still waiting on...sorry, I'll get on that sometime over this holiday weekend.
27) He still wants to grow old w/me, after almost 10 years.
28) He pulls out my wayward white hairs! Now don't you all go commenting and telling me that's a bad thing to do! I don't care. If the white ones want to hang out w/the brown ones, they are free to do so as long as they lay down nice and straight. As soon as they start standing up and getting all zigzaggy, they are pulled. And no I will never dye my hair. So just let it be. And yes, I don't really have good genes for hair color so you can just get used to seeing me w/white hair...
29) He loves me every second, even when I am irrational, inconsolable, and incommunicative. He CHOOSES to love ME. He chooses to love me and keep God at the center of our marriage.
30) He respects my body. When we first started dating, I had 'experience' and he didn't. The first big date we had was to the Madison farmer's market, to be followed by a UWBadgers game. As we walked around the capitol square, he ASKED to hold my HAND. I swear I must have stopped in my tracks b/c every guy I had ever 'dated' or 'flirted' w/, tried to do so much more w/o ever asking. They didn't really respect my body and I guess neither did I b/c I let any rate, here was this guy asking to hold my hand. I was thinking, "Who does this??" But I was also thinking, "OH I am soooo going to marry this guy!" And then I was thinking, "I'd better say YES before he gives up on me!" So I said yes and he held my hand and then he dragged the puddle that was me all over town for the rest of the day =)
31) He is the man God chose for me!
I am thankful for Dave!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 23

I am thankful for our library. Yeah, this is a lame one, I guess...but seriously, I have saved a lot of money by going to the library! I get books that give me ideas, books that teach, books to read, books to read to Mo and books w/pics I like to drool over (organized homes, mostly!). We go there to let Mo play sometimes on cold winter days, to read and to check out movies. Sometimes they have story time...I also like to read the posters. They have this huge wall where they post notices about community events (remember how earlier I mentioned I know tons of activities in town?). I'm sure there are many more reasons to love the library and I'm sure you all have one too, so it's not that big of a deal, but still! I am thankful for our library.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 22

I am thankful for conviction. By conviction I mean being convinced of wrong-doing, or at least doing something that could have been done in a better way. Many times in my life I have felt a sense of conviction, sometimes for big things, sometimes for little things. Lately Dave and I have been both feeling a sense of conviction about how we spend our money and our time. We're so not rich, but we're so not broke either. We tithe. But we eat out a lot too. There are things we do well, but things we can do better. A while back Dave and I picked out some verses that we felt would be our family's 'mottos' or central values if you will. One of them was 1 Thess 4:11-12. "Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work w/your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody." We (especially me, working in the home) felt the part about staying busy and working was important, rather than doing things out and about. Tonight, Pastor Chuck brought to everyone's attention a bunch of verses that evoked a sense of conviction for me. After more than 10 years as a Christian, I still say, "That's in the Bible??" Here's a few that I furiously scribbled down for later reflection...(my own emphasis added)
Prov 12:24 Diligent hands will rule but laziness ends in slave labor.
Prov 30:8-9 Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, 'Who is the LORD ?' Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.
Col 3:23 What ever you do, work at it w/all your heart, as working unto the Lord.
2 Cor 9:11 You have been made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
Pastor Chuck is our new pastor and he usually ends sermons by challenging us to take action. I've already discussed my sense of conviction about these topics before w/Dave and we've already plotted a course of action (things like eating out less, giving more, teaching our kids the value of hard work - as in Mo has a job list now! etc)...and I believe that will only result in thanksgiving to God! I am thankful for conviction.
(sorry - I just re-read this post and realized how much I rambled. I tried to tie too many things together! I just got so excited when I came home from service...oh well...I hope tomorrow's post will be a little clearer!)

30 days of thankfulness - day 21

I am thankful for my marriage of almost 10 years. To say you've done something for 10 years (at least for me!) is pretty amazing. For 10 years I've done my best to communicate w/Dave, I've commented on his hair and clothes before he left the house, I've listened to his stories about classes or teaching, I've opened myself up to his family, I've watched him cook me dinner, I've curled my short legs up in bed so his long ones could stretch out diagonally, I've traveled w/him, I've been the nervous one who demanded a plan for everything, I've embarrassed him, I've prayed w/him...etc...there are so many things we've done together. I hope I never take them or him for granted! We got married kind of young compared to a lot of people our age and wow - the first year was NOT something I'd like to repeat! But we both worked hard to keep God in the center of our marriage and then we blinked and here we are! We know and have known people that are/were married a lot longer, so it's not like we're going to win a prize for longest marriage ever or anything, but having a relationship like this w/someone is still a beautiful thing. =) I am thankful for my marriage of almost 10 years.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 20

I am thankful for memories. I don't know if that's the right word to describe it, but maybe you'll get it after I explain. Today I took the boys and visited my Grandpa. He kept asking Moses, "Have you been lost? Where have you been?" because we don't get there often enough! At one point Mo brought out the toy Mobil truck. My Grandpa used to drive a Mobil truck, back in the day when he made deliveries to each farm in town and such. He started to tell Mo about a picture of his truck and wondered aloud where that picture was. You know me, a sucker for photos and stories, I remembered a few boxes upstairs and dragged them out. We found so many...some I had never seen before!! I wanted to grab a pen and scribble down every last word he said...who they were, why was that truck upside down in the snow, this was the wedding of what relative? and can you believe they took apart a house and used the materials to build this one!! Most of these photos are starting to get bent or tattered from being loose in a box and again, you know me, we can't have that! Some time soon, I hope to get back there and organize them, label them, protect them. Have you ever thought about how people can remember details from things that were nearly one hundred years ago?? I can't even remember what I ate for dinner last night!!! But hearing stories about CC camp, my Grandma's family, when my Grandpa was in the Army, etc made me so thankful...Grandpa asked me, "You like hearing all this stuff?" Of course I do!! He wanted to tell me more but the boys were getting restless. All those stories and memories help me see my Grandpa in a new way. The emotion in his voice, the way he laughs and the pride he has in seeing his's beautiful. I am thankful for memories.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 19

(This post is sort of related to the last one...)
I am thankful for all the things this community has to offer us as a family. There is an art museum w/a kids' creation room, a large hotel w/a water park, an indoor sports facility, a good library w/a play area, a dying mall that recently put in a play area, lots of parks, a community recreation dept w/lots of programs, a Y, Lake Michigan beaches, a state park, humane society, a bike path, thrift stores, a kids' museum, a Family Resource center, etc...I know I'm forgetting some things and I'm sure the local people will remind me! We also have so many more things I could mention that are in the surrounding area, like less than a half hour away, but who likes to read lists? I usually read the newspaper's event listings and find all sorts of fun stuff to take the kids show, tractor exhibit/planes/petting zoo at the airport, sand castle contests, largest worldwide freshwater surfing contest, brat days, pancake breakfasts, etc. I find them and invite everyone I know to go! They make fun of me that I'm like some kind of county tourism director or something...if only I got paid for it! (PS - if anyone from the tourism dept is reading this, I would love to work from home for you! You have no idea how much power a stay at home momma has in the advertising dept!) I am thankful for all this community has to offer us as a family.

30 days of thankfulness - day 18

I am thankful for cultural diversity in my community and in my life. This town has a very large Hmong population, the 5th highest in the nation. We also have a large Hispanic population. Among other reasons for appreciating this are the grocery stores and restaurants! I just bought some sticky rice at the 'Oriental Market' (that's the name of the place, I didn't call it that to be un-PC). I enjoy going in there and seeing the different foods w/labels that I can't read. The cool thing is that almost every time I ask someone, they are more than happy to teach me about the food and products there! (Why, you ask, does someone who doesn't cook get into this stuff? Remember I like learning! New foods and tastes fascinate me, that doesn't mean I want to cook them!) I love how the Hmong culture has a strong sense of family. Almost everyone is related and they really take care of each other. They respect older generations, too, which is something I wish more American people did. Anyway - the reason I brought all this up is that Dave and I frequently comment on how by living here and teaching in the ELL field, Moses is exposed to WAAAY more people of different cultures than we ever were growing up! I believe that is to his benefit. He loves going to Hmong New Year and seeing all the money on their clothes, he loves eating quesadillas and hitting pinatas, he always tries to speak Spanish like us!! He knows a lot of words and phrases (A LOT more than I thought! His newest is "No hay fuego!") but when he hears people talking in a stream of Spanish he will make it up and join in. We all get a good laugh out of that! I am thankful for diversity in my community and in my life.

30 days of thankfulness - day 17

I am thankful for our CSA box. When Dave and I started dating, our meals together consisted of things like hamburger helper, brats, and meat and potatoes. When we got married, we pretty much widened the meat category (a lot of our meals were cooked by Dave, would you have guessed?! =) Remember, I am not much of a cook...) As the years went on, we got a little fancier and added pastas (my favorite!) but they usually had to have brats or meat in them too. Are you seeing a theme? Before we had Mo, we tried the Atkins diet. It worked well for us, but we mainly focused on the meat and not much else. When we were pregnant w/Mo, I kept warning my meat-loving hubby that now we would need to start eating better. As in, fruits and veggies! He would eat fruits under duress, and he mostly liked the expensive ones! But veggies? Do potatoes count? Yeah...anyway - fast forward to the part where we make casseroles w/veggies in them. That's acceptable. Occasionally we eat veggies on the side of our meat. For the children! But this past year we signed up for a CSA box (Community supported agriculture) and it has definitely changed us =) We eat salads, drink green smoothies, get creative w/our recipes and even eat some meatless meals - *GASP*!! Shhh, don't say it too loud, the meat gods will strike us down! LOL!!! Anyway, this is our last week, I think, before the storage share comes. Then we will be up to our ears in potatoes and onions! I think there will be a lot of potato soup in our freezer...I am thankful for our CSA box.

30 days of thankfulnees - day 16

(I am falling behind! So sorry - Joyce how do you do it??)
I am thankful for access to technology. (I hope I didn't do this one already!) Every day I can log into my computer and read email from people far away, check facebook and reconnect w/some really great kids I babysat for, check the online grocery ad, read updates and get well wishes for my mom, see if the library has a book I want to read, track sports teams, do my banking, read mommy blogs, search for scripture, read the local daily news...etc......By technology, I also mean stuff like phones, cameras, dishwasher, washing machine, TV/DVD, etc. There is so much technology in my life that MANY people in the world will never experience in their whole lifetime! Many of you know about my mom's accident and when she went to the rehab center, my dad got her a cell phone. She started calling lots of people and sometimes, if we weren't home, she'd leave multiple messages! I LOVED coming home and hearing her voice...I saved 7 of those messages. Dave thinks I'm crazy but if you could only hear them you'd understand. People, I almost lost my mom. The 7 messages represent a mountain that she the first one, she speaks quietly and slowly, each message she sounds better. In the latest one, she practically sounds like the mom I knew before the accident! I won't be erasing those messages for a while. I am thankful for the access to technology.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 15

I am thankful for someday. Today I hung out w/some girlfriends and there was talk of what we hope to do 'someday'. It got me thinking about how I used to think of someday and how some things turned out that way and some didn't...
I used to think all I wanted was to be a kindergarten teacher. I was a Spanish and ELL teacher and now I'm a stay at home mom.
I used to think I would live far, far away from my hometown (doesn't everyone?!) but now I live less than an hour from there.
I used to think I was going to marry my HS sweetheart (we dated for 4 years and he all but proposed - a friend talked him out of it!). I don't regret those days, but I believe it was God's plan that I marry Dave and I am soooo much happier w/that!
I used to think I would have a ton of kids (I still want that) but now I know (again) God's plan is different. Most days I can handle that. Some days I can't. But I believe God gave me this desire for a I'm working on waiting patiently!
I used to think I had to keep all the traditions my family did/ I know that I can make my own. I struggle sometimes thinking that not keeping them shows disrespect, but they know me and they know that's not my intentions.
NOW...I think someday we will move out to the country. I think someday we will go on a missions trip (hopefully someday soon!). I think know someday Moses will be taller than me, sooner rather than later! I think someday I will be the Mom who goes to parent teacher conferences and then goes home and hugs my kid for doing so well in band, or choir or orchestra...I think someday I will be the kind of Mom who goes to the Homecoming game and makes her kid check in every quarter. I think someday I will be the kind of Mom (like mine!) who would rather have those boys over at our house than out. I'll ask them all kinds of questions and suggest good girls for them to date. LOL!! Oh I could go on...I am thankful for someday.

Friday, November 14, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 14

I am thankful for my best friend Dawn! It's her birthday today, so happy birthday girl! I don't know if you all know this but she is pretty much the reason I got saved. Well, her and God of course, know what I mean! There are a few things you should know about my girl Dawn:
1) She is an expert seamstress! She made the dress I wore when I stood up for Dave's sister's wedding. She always makes matching dresses for her and her daughter Eden and they looked like they stepped out of a catalog!
2) Her wedding was one week before mine. Yeah when we lived together it was like wedding central - there was lots of talk about all that...Dawn and her new hubby came back from their honeymoon early so she could be my matron of honor. That was an incredible gift to me! I was so happy to share that day w/her!
3) Dawn and I moved into our apartment between sophomore and junior year of college during the summer. EARLY! We didn't have a TV at first - we used to just sit and watch the fish tank!! We slept in until lunch, got dressed around 2, got sick of watching the fish by 4, talked about dinner and got back into our pjs around 6! LOL! I am laughing so hard typing this b/c we used to just lay around - no one was on campus yet and we didn't have a car and we were so bored! But we laughed all the time!! I don't remember what about, but it was nuts. We were so crazy...
4) Dawn was the first Christian I knew really up close and personal. She used to lay in the bottom bunk and read me stuff from the Bible that I never knew was there. One time she told me the story of this couple that lied and God just struck them down dead. I couldn't get over that - I think I even asked her, "It really says that? Dead?" I remember that Dawn listened to VCY radio a lot and I thought it was such stuffy old people music, but the first time I heard the song "Because He Lives" I cried. That song says a lot of what I was feeling during those times. After that I didn't mind VCY so much.
5) We've known each other since the summer before high school. For those of you doing the math, that's like 17 yrs!! We have been comfortable w/each other for a very long time. So comfortable that...we always talk about GI stuff (not the Army kind of GI either!). That's all I'm going to say about that, but Dawn, you are the best and I love you!
I am thankful for my best friend Dawn.
(ps - photo coming soon - like as soon as I get it in the scanner...)

30 days of thankfulness - day 13

I am thankful for the comfort of God's word. Lately I have been feeling a little pouty and left out. I feel like everyone else is having a baby, getting a new house, starting (and completing!) a project they always wanted to do...and I feel like I'm just not being heard or something. I don't know how to explain it, it's a mood. I will snap out of it soon, I know...I am really excited for my friend Wendy, who FINALLY had her baby girl! She is named River Ruth, and I think the name is pretty. May it always remind us of the water of life, offered to us by Jesus Himself...anyway, I'm getting off topic here. You can tell I'm behind in writing these and now I am not sounding very polished and put together right? Well, my point today is that I often find comfort in God's word. When Dave and I started dating, I used to get these panic attack type things and he would recite Psalm 23 for me. Later, when I'd get all anxious and fret about stuff out of my control, he'd remind me to read God's word. I can't tell you how many times my sullen expression would change b/c I'd crack open the Bible and find a verse that seemed to jump out at me!! My other favorite thing about God's word is that so many times in the Bible, things from the OT and the NT line up and almost validate themselves, if you will. That's cool...well, I'm not a pastor or anything, but I find that reading God's word reminds me that He is all the comfort I need. He will never leave me or forsake me...I am thankful for the comfort of God's word.

30 days of thankfulness - day 12

I am thankful for my renovated kitchen! I have been trying to be more domestic lately (don't laugh, I have been trying really hard) and it every now and then my hubby and I comment on how big a difference this renovation has made. We knocked out a wall and had a peninsula put in, we've got more cabinets, we've got more counter space, the table is out of the center of the room....etc....I guess this is a pretty selfish thing to be thankful for. Sometimes I try to blame my poor attitude about things in the kitchen on other stuff, but it's really just me. I am reminded today how much I have been blessed to have this (relatively) new space and how comfortable I feel here...I am thankful for my renovated kitchen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 11

I am thankful for the veterans and those that are currently serving in the armed forces. Say what you want about war (and by that I mean please don't post comments about whether or not we should be in one!), but I believe that the troops should be supported NO MATTER WHAT. Look, us individual citizens don't get to decide if, where, when or how long they are involved, so the least we can do is support them. On that note, here are a few links...
There are probably a ton of them out there...but if you could take the time to pray for them, I know God answers prayer. Like I said, it's the least we can do! I am thankful for the veterans and those that are currently serving...
John 15:13 KJV Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

right here in li'l ol' WI!

I found this company in WI that turns your old blue jeans into insulation! Who knew?? So if you are someone looking to insulate or build, please check this place out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 10

I am thankful for I Love Lucy/Lucille Ball! I'm sorry, I hate it when people endorse random things on their websites, but I'm having the kind of day where I need a laugh and that show always makes me laugh. I of course like the episodes where Lucy is in the vat of grapes trying to make wine and gets in a fight w/the European woman, and the one where she is trying to work on the candy line and can't keep up, the Vitameatavegamin one where she gets drunk doing the commercial! The one that really gets me is the when the Ricardo's have moved to the country and she tries to make bread....all I know is that the bread starts coming out of the oven and pushes her up against the wall...I have to go find that episode now! There are lots of other current/recent shows that make me laugh but I think Lucy is some good clean fun! Plus, I've always been into women who excelled in fields previously dominated by men =) Another woman comic who claims Lucy as her inspiration is Bonnie Hunt - have you seen her in anything? She's funny too! Well, what are some of your favorite shows? Do you have a person that makes you laugh no matter what they are in? I am thankful for I Love Lucy/Lucille Ball!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - day 9

I am thankful Moses has 2 parents. For the time being, Ayden does too, I guess. Last night Dave stayed home w/a sick Mo while Ayden and I went to church. Today, Dave and Ayden went while Mo and I stayed home. So many times, Dave and I have marveled at how single parents do it! It's such a blessing to be able to relieve each other and work together to raise him/them. There are so many other deep reasons, but I'm not really going to preach about them here. I think there are so many benefits for Mo, but my point is simply the fact that I'm grateful parenting is something Dave and I can do together. I am thankful Moses has 2 parents.

30 days of thankfulness - day 8

I am thankful for the gift of teaching/learning. As you know, I'm a teacher and so is Dave. But that's not the kind of teaching I'm talking about...tonight I went to church and heard a missionary speak. He told some awesome stories, but that's not the point. I really felt like I learned something from him and I appreciate that. There have been so many teachers in my life that I am thankful for! My first Spanish teacher is an amazing lady...I always wanted to be like her and maybe someday I will. I learned a lot from my BFF Dawn Mills and basically got saved b/c of her! I learned a lot from Dave, from a Spanish professor named John Stone, from Pastor Joe Grier at Grace Chapel, from a guy I dated in HS who was a mechanic, from speakers at church, from Margaret Homer, from other moms who seem to do stuff so much better than me, from other bloggers who post recipes, ideas and patterns, and I'm sure I could go on. Yes, it's an awesome feeling to teach someone something, but it's an even better feeling to learn. My parents always would look stuff up for us when we asked tough questions - we made a lot of trips to the library! - and they are still great models for learning. I am thankful for the gift of teaching/learning.

Friday, November 7, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - Day 7

I am thankful for the miracle of healing! More specifically, the miracle that is my Mom's healing. Today, after nearly 2 months of being in the hospital and a rehab facility, my Mom comes home. As in home home! Home to sleep in her own bed and eat her own food!! Two months ago she was in a bad bike accident and suffered 2 severe traumatic brain injuries. Now she walks w/o a cane, she has passed many physical and mental 'tests' they have given her and she is making dinner for my Dad tonight! I don't think there are words in the English language to describe our joy! Praise God, for this would never have been possible w/o the miracle of healing. I myself have been witness to a few other times that people have been healed, and those experiences make my faith stronger. I know a lot of you already know the story behind Moses - how we just couldn't seem to have kids. Despite wanting 12!! Anyway, there was a faith healer who came to church and I told people (mostly DW) that I didn't really believe in that and why bother going. Many people strongly encouraged me to come...but I didn't go. DW played piano for the service and I had to pick him up when it was done. I got there and they were still going strong! Not wanting to be there and grumbling I slinked into the back and slumped in a chair. Another couple from church (their last name is Holycross - isn't that cool??) came a almost literally dragged me up there. They got Dave and the man prayed over us. I cried and could hardly talk. I felt hot, embarrassed, nervous and overwhelmed. I didn't know why I cried! Anyway - the faith healer told me he prays over women in churches like this all the time and he comes back in 9 months and there's a baby explosion...I walked out thinking, "Yeah whatever..." One month later we found out we were pregnant. And then it seemed every women around me was pregnant!! There were honestly 20+ babies born in 2 months of each other!! I should know, I was the nursery coordinator!! Mo shares his birth week w/7 other kids from the church. So yes, I believe in 'all that' now. I believe I was healed and I plan to go get prayed over by the same man at the end of this month! So I am (very!) thankful for the miracle of healing!

30 days of thankfulness - Day 6

I am thankful for Ayden. Our foster son will most likely go back to his Mom, sooner rather than later, which is good. But I am thankful he has been w/us for so many reasons! I feel like having a foster child is a sign that God is answering our prayer, He hasn't forgotten about us, we can be good parents etc...I am thankful I had the chance to see my son Moses help care for another child like his brother. I learned a lot about Mo over the past 3 weeks and I think he has learned a lot about our unconditional love as a family too! He 'gets it' that we aren't replacing him or giving more love to someone else...I am thankful for the practice! Having a little one in the house again is an amazing reminder of Matthew 18:3-5. We are so blessed to be a part of something bigger...

30 days of thankfulness - Day 5

I am thankful that I know Jesus. I plan to write my testimony out tonight and add it to this post. It's something I've been meaning to I'm cheating a little and just giving the 'teaser' to this one right now....

30 Days of Thankfulness - Day 4

I am thankful for this blog! Ok, this is sort of a silly one, but I just realized that my 1 year blogversary (or however you want to say it!) came and went on Oct 29. I thought of it like a week before it happened and mentally planned this cool post...anyway, I am thankful for this blog for a couple of reasons. It's like therapy for me! It serves as a baby book when I can't remember momentous things in Mo's life. It helps me communicate w/friends and family. It indirectly holds me accountable - when people ask me about stuff I wrote, I know you're all reading/watching and keeping tabs on me =) That's good! I think having a blog gives meaning to the stuff I do. Not that it wouldn't have meaning otherwise, but look, it makes me feel important, ok? Anyway, I am thankful for this blog. I think you should all go out and write one! If you do, let me know. I hope to start a "Mel reads" thing in the sidebar...

Monday, November 3, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - Day 3

I am thankful for my neighbors. This will probably sound a lot like my last post, but I know the neighbors are always watching out for the kids and they bring them special treats and stuff...When we first moved here, DW and I were a little disappointed b/c most (ok, almost ALL) of the neighbors are quite a bit older than us. The ones on each side could be our grandparents! We thought, "Oh bummer, our kids won't have anyone to play w/!" What we didn't think of was the fact that these people would treat our kids like their own grandkids and would treat us much like their own kids! Moses loves to see what Sarge is working on, he loves to talk to Leon about the fish he caught...One time, during the summer, Moses window upstairs was open. He was supposed to be going to sleep and I heard him yelling. "SARGE!! Sarge - whatcha doin'?" I had to control my laughter before I went up to scold him! The neighbors watch the house when we are gone and they are ever so thoughtful. I hope someday to be as good of a neighbor as they are!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

30 days of thankfulness - Day 2

I am thankful for the relationships we have with our brothers and sisters in Christ. Today was a hectic day at church...long story...but so many times I knew that other people were looking out for Moses, caring for Ayden, asking us how things are going etc. I love our church family! We have learned so much from others, we have been so blessed by others, we have been prayed over/for by others and we feel so loved! I'm sure we could have relationships w/people outside of church (and we do) but there is almost an unspoken deepness to those we have w/in the church.

30 days of thankfulness - Day 1

(I know I'm a wee bit late to jump into this challenge, but Joyce at Tall Grass Worship is doing this challenge and I had to join. I have so many things to be thankful let's pretend this is Nov 1 today and then I'll go write the Nov 2 post ok?)

I am thankful for physical ability. I'm not a talented athlete but there are a lot of things I can do (don't laugh!). Today I biked to church. It was hard and I complain a lot but the truth is I have no physical handicap or limitation. I can get on my bike and ride anytime. I can walk home from a hair appt (something else I did today), I can use the push mower on the lawn, or I can run after my boys. I do not struggle w/things like diabetes or sickness, much less something like ALS or CP. Many times I pray for people who are suffering, but rarely do I say a prayer of thanks for my own health. I'm not trying to sound modest or whatever, I just mean that I don't think of these things! I take for granted the way my body works. I have aches and pains and I keep asking DW when I got old, but seriously, I am capable of doing a lot of physical activity. So today, I am thankful for physical ability.