Friday, July 31, 2009

PB & J's

Last Friday, went with me to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for Food for Thought. She had a great time. First, she colored some lunch bags with special hearts. Then she helped bagged the sandwiches.
She can't wait to go back again.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Not much going on

Well, the week has been pretty normal. We've been helping my sister move to her new apartment and cleaning her old one. As well as visiting and helping Grandpa and Grandma with their adjusting to the new diet. I made them a cookbook of good recipes. The one the hospital recommended cost nearly $40, so I just did internet searches and came up with recipes for free, printed them and put them in a binder for them.

It's been great getting to go over and talk with Grandpa. The great thing is that even though his body seems to be falling apart, his mind isn't. Which is a blessing. He is full of wisdom and it's a blessing to be able to have heart to heart talks with him even when he's sick.

Friday, July 24, 2009

He knows the plans He has for me...

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
~ Jeremiah 29:11

I can't believe the summer is half way over. I'm still as white as ever and I feel as if it hasn't even really begun. August 31st I begin my fall semester, which is to be my last. In December, I will graduate with my Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry. With that completed I will also graduate from my denominations prescribed course of study for ordination as an elder. I will technically be a pastor looking for an assignment. The assignment is the next step in the ordination process. I need to have 3 years on staff at a church in our denomination.

One frustrating part is that I've been serving for 3 years and had my church been paying me even a minor amount that could have counted. But that wasn't the case, so now I'm waiting for an assignment. I had thought that perhaps the changes that have happened here in our home church would maybe open up some opportunity to stay here. It doesn't appear that it is going to be that way.

I've been patiently waiting. My resume is on the job board, but I haven't been pursuing a position because I truly believe that God has the position for me already in His plans. It is just really hard to not know what He has in store for our family.

I'm determined to continue to serve and I look daily for new opportunities to serve my community and Christ. It has become my prayer that God would break my heart with what breaks His and that He would use me where I am, as preparation for where He is taking me.

I believe that I have posted this song before recently but it is so fitting to my feelings that I thought to post it again.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Grandpa came home yesterday afternoon. On Monday, his kidney with the tumor began to function on it's own (a miracle and answer to prayer). It steadily came up. The tumor remains but the it is functioning well enough to do its job. The doctors decided that since it is functioning good enough to do get the job done that they would not risk the surgery. The surgery would have been a great risk, so they are pushing it off for right now. They will have to do a biopsy on the tumor soon to determine if it is cancerous or not. But they want to at this point just leave it be and get that kidney operating as best as possible.

He came home with a very strict diet. So I have been working with Aunt Connie to help Grandma and Grandpa understand what has to be done. We are developing menus and meals for them. He can have no potatoes, no breads, no pastas, basically cutting out carbs, but also limiting everything else. It's going to be hard for them but it is what needs to be done to keep his kidney working.

I'm going to be going over to help take care of him for the next week or more. I think it is going to be a great time to really connect with Grandpa & Grandma again.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Air Show

While the girls and I were at the hospital yesterday, Rob and Rowan had a daddy/son day! They were given tickets to the Air Show at Willow Run. So they ventured out yesterday morning w/Melissa, Tom and Izzie for the show.

Rowan absolutely loved it. Rob said he was pretty much the only parent there that thought to bring ear protection for his kid. He had a pocket full of ear plugs and was handing them out to kids all day long. Rowan was excited about the helicopters and the blue rockets. He's convinced that the Blue Angels are rockets not planes, probably because of their loudness and their speed. He did at one point fall asleep though.

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Psalm 42

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me all day long, "Where is your God?" These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go with the multitude leading the procession to the house of God, with shouts of joy and thanksgiving among the festive throng. Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God. ~Psalm 42:1-5

This was the passage that I found myself reading to my grandfather today to open a time of worship together. I believe with all my soul that this is a testimony to his life at this moment, as if David, the psalmist had looked forward to this moment in my grandpa's life and wrote these words. In all of my 31 years, and many before those, my grandpa's soul has panted for God. And today when he is unable to "lead the procession to the house of God" we his family had the awesome privilege of bringing a time of praise and worship to him in his hospital bed. It was a time to say through it all we "will yet praise him" for His redemption and for His very being.

As I add all of us up there were about 20 of us in that room throughout the nearly four hour praise and worship time. We gathered around grandpa. We sang. We read our favorite scriptures and we prayed. I know that it is in God that my grandpa is drawing his strength. The joy of the Lord filled that place today. It was truly a blessing. It was a blessing to see a man in so bad off, praise God and love others before himself. Towards the end when many of us needed to leave we all gathered around Grandpa touching him if close enough, if not touching someone who was touching him and prayed for his healing, his comfort, his strength. We praised God for who God is and for the blessings that He has already poured out on Grandpa's life and we asked for a continuous of that blessing. And in all of this we asked for God's perfect will to be done in the surgery and in all of our lives.

Uncle Jeff and Grandma at one point went out to the bathroom and as they returned they said they could here Criss playing and singing down the hall. When we would ask the nurses if we were too loud, they'd say "We ain't heard nothing!" They heard they were just enjoying the moment right along with us.

I only wish that our entire family could have been present in that moment to experience the presence of the Holy Spirit touch each of our lives.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shear Love

My friend, Amanda has been wanting for a long time to start an outreach cutting hair for those who are in need. I have been for the past couple of weeks helping her to develop that outreach for our community. Together we have formulated a ministry plan and worked on acquiring more sites to do the work. This is not my ministry but it is one that I support, encourage and am here to equip her for.

Doors have opened and God is already blessing Amanda's willingness to use her talents to serve others in love. Today, Shear Love (her ministry name) spent the day at the EOPA Expo on Collingwood. This was a Head Start enrollment day with games and resources for parents. Charlene and two of her friends came with us. Amanda cut over 20 heads of adults and children, but mostly kids. Charlene and I rounded people up and just loved them by listening to their needs and stories.

We met so many new people and I believe if just for today, God gave us the opportunity to be the hands and feet of Jesus. We made a difference in the lives of these families! At least two of the kids received their first ever hair cut today. One gentleman had two young boys with rather long hair. There mother had left them and he can't afford to keep their hair short, so he only get's their hair cut once or twice a year. Amanda cut dad, two sons and grandpa today! The smiles on their faces was phenomenal to see. And they walked away with holding their shoulders just a bit higher. That is only because the Spirit was there with this outreach today. This particular gentlemen lives close to us and has been looking for a church to take the boys to because they need women in their lives. Join us in prayer. We are praying that we can build a relationship with this family and through that relationship they will encounter Christ and find hope everlasting in Him.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Here's what I've been told: my grandpa has a large tumor on his right kidney and his left kidney has already completely shut down. He also has something major going on in his bladder and colon that they will be exploring. He was told today that he has only two options: go home and live out the short period of time remaining or have surgery to remove the mass and hope to be able to live because it may not work.

Grandpa has made the choice to try to live. He is being moved to Toledo Hospital on Friday morning and we will be awaiting the surgery date and time.

Duck, Duck, Goose!

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Nadine had her Kindergarten physical today. And she had to get 3 shots. She was not happy! Afterwards, we went to visit Grandpa in the hospital. We took him some smiles, high fives, hugs and the Bible on CD with a CD player. He was very excited. There are still really no answers yet.

As we left we took time to feed french fries to the duck and geese near the parking lot!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Just not how I imagine...

This morning I was awoken by a phone call from my Uncle Jeff. My grandfather, who is 93 years old, was admitted to the hospital for kidney failure. My heart sank. Something about this call was different. He's been ill and the last time I saw him it was very visible that he is deteriorating. I called my mom in Idaho and gave her the news. I called a friend from church who thankfully immediately brought their daughter to babysit my kids and I headed to the hospital. I also called my sister, who met me there.

Just us being there seemed to lift grandpa's spirit and give him a reason to shine. They aren't sure tonight if it is a blockage in his kidneys or if it is just old age causing his kidneys to fail. They've done the testing and are awaiting the results, we should know in the morning. Either way it doesn't look all that good.

Do you know if you asked me to name one person on the earth that I knew for a fact would go to be with Jesus when they answer would be my grandfather! And somehow I'd convinced myself that that would somehow make this all a little easier to deal with...but in many ways it hasn''s more crushing than I ever imagined...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Juan 3:16

Have you ever just wondered what would happen if you just went with the flow? If you just saw a need and met it? If you just said God here I am, send me? And then you actually went?

It has been so beautiful to watch one of my very best friends, Charlene, first encounter Christ, my Savior. Something that I had been praying for since the moment I met her. And then I can't even begin to explain the joy that has overcome me in watching her grow and mature in that encounter. To see and be a part of her not only realizing, but also experiencing that we were blessed by God so that we could be a blessing, so that through us the world would be blessed. The very promise that God gave Abram in Genesis 12:2-3.

Our friendship has blossomed into so much more than ever before, we are now truly sisters, because we are both daughters of our great and mighty God. I am so blessed and inspired by her faith and how that faith is so naturally expressed in her actions. I experienced a piece of that this weekend.

Saturday morning, we again ventured out together to Food for Thought downtown. I've gone several times now, even with Char once. It is in itself an amazing thing to be a part of. This Saturday, Charlene and I, along with her kids and a couple of friends she brought along for their first time, were the last people to leave. Why?....because we met Juan.

If we had let him be, Juan was just another homeless guy collecting his free lunch and venturing on his way. However, we sat and spoke with Juan. Introducing ourselves. Not only introducing ourselves but asking him how we could meet his needs, what his biggest struggles with life on the streets were, where he was from and how he came to be where he is today. We invest a few shorts moments of our lives into him, the forgotten.

Juan does his best to keep himself clean. He sleeps many nights in a park in downtown. He has a bike for transportation and has an outlook that only God could possibly give to someone in his life situation. Juan is from Mexico. He came here for work and has been unable to find any. His English is broken, but remarkably is quite understandable and what he couldn't say or understand, God brought enough of my Spanish back to me to be able to communicate. Juan isn't greedy. He's not selfish. He's alone. And he's not asking for hand-outs. In fact, when we asked him what we could bring him, he replied that God gives him what he needs. Which sparked a whole nother conversation with him. Bottom line: Charlene invited him to come to church with us to her church Cedar Creek. Most people down there, I'm not sure would have responded as he did. His smile was from ear to ear.

He told us that a friend wanted to take him to find work today and he said no, he'd go downtown to find food. He told he didn't know why he came down because he didn't know we did Food for Thought. He said he came to get food, but now God give him real food tomorrow. The only thing he carried in his bag strapped to the back of his bike was his Bible, tattered and torn. We even spent time sharing scripture together and he read Jeremiah 33 to us in Spanish. I can tell you in that moment Juan was ministering to Charlene and I, not the other way around.

Well, Juan showed up at the library this morning when Charlene arrived to pick him up for church. They gave him a change of clothes, not that he really needed it, he already was pretty clean, and even so God says come as you are. Charlene's family took him to breakfast and brought him to church. I met them there and was able to give him a new backpack and a mini fan. I wish I could have given him more and I know Char was having the same feelings. But what we did and were able to give him was everything we had at that moments we encountered him and together we encountered Christ in worship.

Juan 3:16 "Porque tanto amó Dios al mundo, que dio a su Hijo unigénito, para que todo el que cree en él no se pierda, sino que tenga vida eterna."

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Dinner w/friends

Yesterday, we went to Melissa & Tom's for dinner. Melissa made a wonderful salad, and cheesy potatoes and Tom did ribs and pork on the grill. It was a great night of just hanging out and catching up. The kids played in the pool. They also played dress up but I didn't get any pics of that.

We also had a great homemade dessert, as usual. Melissa loves to cook and bake! And we love to eat whatever it is she makes! :)

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Friday, July 10, 2009


We were supposed to go to Evalee's last night for dinner, but Ed got called into work. So we stayed home and rescheduled that for Sunday evening.

Instead, God had other plans. On Wednesday, Rob told me that we received a phone tree from church that was asking for help to unload the moving truck of one of our families at church. I wasn't home so Rob didn't go. Well, yesterday, God put me at the church office at the right time to find out that that family needed a dolly. So I sent them to my house to get it. Rob talked to Ryan for a few minutes and discovered that the phone tree wasn't productive yesterday and the truck was still full. When I arrived home, we loaded the kids in the car and headed over to help. Ryan grew up at our church. He married his wife Renee and together they went into ministry. Ryan is youth pastor and Renee is close to her own ordination as well. They have three little boys, JR, Blake and Trentin.

It was a nice evening. We were able to visit with the whole family, not only Ryan and Renee, but the Avery's completely: Larry and Evelyn and Holly and her girls. We stayed for pizza and fellowship. It was great to get to know Ryan and Renee. We had known of them but didn't know them because they lived and served so far away. It will be great during this transition time for their family to get to know them.

The kids played hard with the trampoline, the kiddie pool and the slip n' slide. They even had lawn mower rides through their backyard. It was funny to watch Nadine with the slip n' slide. She is such a girl, but after a few minutes she was diving right in. And again Rowan loved having boys to play with. And I think Rob really enjoyed getting to know Ryan and even Larry a little better through this.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brown Bag Concert

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My new friend, Bethany and I have been trying to coordinate a play date for our kids for the past couple of weeks. Bethany is our new pastor Brandon's wife, they have two boys, Camden and Corbin. Today, she called and asked if we wanted to join her at the Brown Bag Concert at the Main Library Downtown Toledo. It's on the lawn where Food for Thought takes place and it was a kids concert today.

So we brown-bagged lunches and headed out! It was a lot of fun to get to know the kids and Bethany a little better. After the concert was over we ran into Holly, Averi and Adelyn. They also came down for the concert and to go to movie time in the kids area of the library.

Rowan doesn't have many friends that are boys that he gets to play with. Our neighbors kids are girls. His cousins are girls and my friends have girls. So he proudly exclaimed to Nadine today that Camden is "HIS" friend. He was very excited to have a boy to play with! And boy did they get rough. They were tackling each other and chasing each other. They had lots of fun! Rowan can't wait until Camden comes over to play trains together!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Fourth of July Weekend

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My Friday and Saturday this weekend were spent at work. Friday was an okay night but Saturday was pretty much a complete waste of my time. I could have been at home with my kids watching fireworks and making memories. Oh well, God will bless my time spent at work in some way.

Since I was not around for those two days we decided to invite everyone over on Sunday. My sister, nephew, his friend, my cousins and one uncle are the only ones who came, however, it was a fantastic day and we got to build relationships one-on-one with them all! We played cornhole! Jeremy and I were the CHAMPIONS!!! I believe this crushed Rob since he's usually the cornhole champ!!! Jenna brought some small fireworks. Rowan and Nadine had a ball with her and Suzi. And Jourdyn went to her friends to stay the night.


Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Birthday America!

You should read this because we have returned to a day that many of these complaints have arose again and are continuing to surface with each passing day! We MUST celebrate our freedom! But we MUST also remember that our Independence is only a mere few signatures and a nation full of apapethic people away from being destroyed!!!!
Declaration of Independence
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient suffrance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their acts of pretended legislation.
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from Punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighboring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally, the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with Power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever:
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Capitive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people
Nor have We been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connection and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right out to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Trains, Planes and Automobiles....

My friend, Laura had a garage sale this weekend. I stopped by on Wednesday thinking she started then but she was just setting up. Bonus for my kids though because I spotted something we have been looking for for a long time and have not found for the right price. A TRAIN TABLE!!! (with buildings, tracks and trains!) Rowan has already been collecting all the tracks and trains but they have been all over our house since he had no centralized place to play with them. Well, now he does! Thanks to Laura for selling us the awesome table and accessories for 10 bucks!!! I think that's my best buy of the season!!!
They played for hours yesterday and when Rowan woke up this morning it was the first thing he went for!
Now we just have to teach him to put all his tracks away in the drawers when he's done!

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