Wednesday, February 25, 2009

This Demands Action!!

This is a link to a story on And I hope you will take a moment to read it.

I don't often post about current events but this requires some real action. This is indeed a blow to our God given responsibilities to raise our children the way God sees fit.

I hope you will take the initiative to contact your congressman and let them know how you feel. You might even try the President and this Boxer lady. (D- Cal) We need to make our voice known about this!!


Hey, You out there...are YOU a Need-Meeter?

The last few days and even last week have been such a hustle and bustle of activity and excitement for us. Haywood will never be the same. And I am here reporting the events from the blue chair donning my blue robe as well.

I am still amazed at my new sewing machine, and even more amazed that I found all of the parts and doo-dads that went to my friend's machine so that I could give it back to her! Joel just happened to mention at 10 Sat. night that she would like her sewing machine back if possible by Sunday morning, SOoooooooooooooo here we flew around the house gathering things and cleaning everything with precision. I put the 2 inch seam-ripper into it's place with total pride knowing that I had lost that silly thing a dozen times and found it again after much consternation!

And worst thing is, I cannot pry Abby off of the NEW machine long enough for me to keep going on Easter dresses for the girls. She really amazed me let me tell ya! I showed her the parts, how to thread it, yada yada yada. Then after watching her sew 20 or so lines, some straight some zig-zag, I left her to take a nap on the couch. When I woke up, she was sitting in the chair at the table by the machine...ASLEEP! I woke her up mostly out of fear that something was wrong, and she cooly informed me that,"I made you and Dad a present," and was so excited to give it to us she wanted to stay there until I woke up where she then fell asleep. (!!!!!!) Surely this sweetness comes from MY side of the family, right? Rousing and getting ready to "OOO" and "AHHH" over two pieces of material "gifted" together I unwrapped my "gift." To my amazement she had written "MOM" diagonally on her material in a zig-zag stitch! It was cool, and I began thinking that she was maybe ready for bigger and better things......SEW.....I have not been sewing.......SHE has. And to see how happy it makes a curly-headed 7 year old to hear the "whirl" of the machine is enough to convince me to postpone the Easter dresses for a little while longer.

Being a "Need-Meeter" is really just preferring someone above yourself. We all know someone who is good at it, (and please, please, please, let someone in my church think it is ME....... ) remembering that you were looking for that one thing, or really enjoy that type of candy.....and delighting you with it just when you had almost forgotten about it. I will give you a fun illustration......

I make the Nursery schedule for our church which used to cause me great consternation. You Nursery Coordinators out there know what I mean....."I can only work in the Nursery the second Wednesday in months beginning with the letter 'M'".....and so on it goes. Sometimes when people are asking me requests regarding the Nursery I wish I could just look into their eyes and say, "You do realize that right now I cannot even remember what I made for dinner last night, don't you? " I had to come to the point that you cannot please everyone and I would do better to just finally realize that. But along with the frustration, comes the benefit of being able to schedule yourself with whomever you please. There are many ladies whom I just love to try to be an encouragement to, and so I began scheduling myself with them each month, concentrating on them, and meeting maybe even a small need they have. Since I am usually scheduled twice a month, I have the first appointment to pick-their-brain, so to speak, and the second meeting with them to fill that need.

My first lady is so sweet I just love her to death. We are alike in a lot of ways, and those talks over stinky diapers and spit up somehow break down walls and allow you to have some really wonderful conversation with whomever you have "cornered." :) So our first turn in the Nursery she mentioned a specific juice drink that she treated herself to over the Christmas holidays. It was expensive, she noted, and just loved it and it was just such a treat for her. Mental note...."GET FANCY JUICE." So we laughed enjoyed ourselves and I left hoping to all hope that I could find this juice. And I did. And the hardest thing was to see her, AND this juice and not get the two of them together until our next Nursery scheduling at the end of the month! But alas I made it, and even had my husband excited about the surprise! He went to the store for me on Sat. and bought, not ONE fancy juice, but TWO of them! One for her and I! (side note on Joel here. Seriously if "lavishness" is the language of love, then he can fluently speak it!!) I kept them in the fridge until Sunday morning, smiling at them as I opened the fridge throughout the afternoon. Sunday morning I had them packed away in one of my dozens of bags (I LOVE BAGS...not purses....BAGS. Have to share more of that later...) and covered them up so as not to be seen. Joel stopped me on our way to Sunday School and said, "Oh no, did you forget the juice??" I smiled and patted my bag. WE.WERE.EXCITED. All over juice. Yes it can even happen to you friends.

All through Sunday school I had to tap my foot or nails on something to disperse excited energy. And then we met in the Nursery. And "Tada" out came two sparkling Styrofoam cups and two chilled bottles of "Ze Zspecial Zuce." Mental note...." CHECK MARK!" And if you think that a simple gift like this cannot possibly make someone THAT happy, not only to GIVE it, but RECEIVE it......don't tell the three of us......we must not know any better. A good time was had by all, and wouldn't ya know that Hubby himself even stopped by the Nursery door just to see my sweet friend's reaction......and sample a cup himself! :)

WARNING: Once you start looking to meet the needs of others, you will see numerous opportunities open up before you. And meeting needs is kindov like eating Lay's potato chips.......(c'mon now you KNEW there would be a food reference from this expectant woman now didn't you????) I bet you can't "meet" just one! Kindov relates to Kix cereal as well....."Try'll like it!"

I was sitting in the crisp white Clinique chair at the mall yesterday chatting with the woman who was showing me how to apply make-up. I know those of you who have seen me with too much purple eye shadow on lately were wondering..... She is sweet and we are just about the same age, which though it should have been embarrassing for me, wasn't. As we began talking, the subject of marriage, one of my favorite subjects came up! We began talking and I introduced her to "The 5 Love Languages." She listened as I explained each one, making sure to tell her what one I hold as MY love language, illustrating that that was why my Hubby came to the mall with all 5 hoodlums WITH ME, so that I could get my make-over. So we could have some "Quality Time." She kept mentioning that she just had to get that book. Mental note......"GET BOOK."

Yes, this time it is someone I hardly know, but it is still a need that I CAN fill. And what a better way to begin to introduce her to the Creator of Marriage itself, then with this opportunity. So this will have to be continued as I am meeting with my make-up lady again on Friday for our Couple's Retreat. I may not have everything ready for it, but hey I will at least look like I do! :) know what to do. Meet a need. Listen when your daughter says, "Mom I would really like to......" or when Hubby comments, "Boy a cup of that tea we used to have sure sounds good." And try, just try not to get that "kid in a candy store" feeling and a foolish grin. I dare you.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday Caleb!!!

Today we celebrate our sweet little "dog teethed" "Da-bed Roy-tee-tee" whom we just COULD NOT do without around here! He is so special to us for many many reasons and ever since his birth, and traumatic giving-back to us by God himself, we have just known that there is a special purpose for his life. 5 years already! Caleb has been itching to do "Cool" (school) with Isaac and Abbs and just thought that when he turned 5 he would automatically know how to read. :-) If you know him, you LOVE him, and we were delighted to celebrate his life today!

We made him a "Peppermint Patty Cake" which.was.delicious.

Caleb wanted a bow so badly and we had a blast giving it to him. Here he is giving us his best "Angry hunter" look.

Anna wasted no time diving into all his other presents.....God bless whomever invented "color wonder" paper AND markers. Get them, they will make you a happy Mom. Well that AND the cake mentioned previously..

Nathan is modeling the bulls eye that came with the bow. Younger brother+ holding the bulls eye over face+ older brother getting a brand spanking new bow for his birthday = no discretion. We will work on that. For now it makes a hilarious picture.

Thank you Lord for Caleb! We once more give Him back to you on his 5th birthday!

P.S. For SOME people having your cake and eating it too is just not sufficient! Anna also decided the candle looked delectable so she "took a bite outta 5." THAT will be an interesting diaper.....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

one word....BERNINA

My Hubby bought me a new sewing machine! My Singer I received for a Christmas gift in 10th grade "bit the dust" a few years ago, and a sweet lady in our church allowed me to use one of her Bernina sewing machines. Well the time had come for me to get my own and stop putting my wear and tear (and kids curiosity) on hers. I.was.thrilled.

Now, for the record if you know me then you will know that I think someone "hand painting" a sewing machine is hilarious.....even more so that it was a man. (Perhaps he also plays the organ without shoes......enough said.) BUT this is the machine we decided on because it was perfect for what I needed. Actually it is MORE, 10times MORE than what I need, which makes me smile thinking that Hubby thinks that highly of me. (Don't you dare tell him about the waistband incident Tam! A man can dream can't he?? ;-)

And "sew" my first electronic machine. Yes there is a huge difference when sewing.

Me looking like I definitely know what I am doing using the automatic needle threader for the second time ever. I know I know, "automatic needle threader????" You are thinking that this new contraption is as silly as an automatic tooth brush right? I mean how STRENUOUS it is to move the tooth brush back and forth and back and forth..... I agree about the tooth brush, and you can think that about the needle threader, but you are wrong. Dead wrong. It is wonderful. In fact I see this new invention saving me lots and lots of time that can free me up to make more homemade jam and pies....Hey I can dream too!

Thank you Honey for the gift! I "sew" appreciate it!!!

A Week in Pictures

And we begin with a new "doo"

My Valentine's surprise!

6 lilies and one L-o-n-g stemmed beautiful rose! I LOVE the vase too!!

The night before Valentine's we addressed Valentines to the kiddos and attached suckers to them. Catch was, Isaac and Abby had a number, and their Valentines had math problems on them. They had to sit and figure their math problem out and if it equaled their number than it was theirs. If not they had to leave it where it was and look for another problem to solve!

On Caleb and Nasey's they had a shape to match with their own they were given before we began.

Hmmmm look at her wheels turnin!

What to do when Hubby is in an overly long staff meeting at church........ make a fort under the Nursery changing table of course!

.....And hide with a few of your kiddos!

A visit to the Picadilly Parlour for Abbs and I complements of Uncle Greg, yeah hats and me were never a good combination.

And we take a bow and say, "THE END," of a great week!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Hello and congratulations!

If you are reading this, then you have successfully signed in to our new "private" format. I know that this is more of a hassle but I trust that you will continue to stay with us.

Please, let me know if you have any problems logging in or anything else.

May the Lord Bless You.


Blue Chair rememberances

Hello all, yes we are still public because hubby has all of your email addresses that I have to add to the computer! Well.....sometime today we will go private.

I had just finished my Bible reading and praying and the kids were bustling around me getting their assigned chores done. My blue chair just happens to sit near a window where beams of light come through and sprinkle my Bible pages. This is one of my favorite things. The sun shines in thin strips highlighting different verses as it covers the span of the Bible, and I instinctively read those verses highlighted by the sun first. Did you find your verse that you needed so desperately this morning that was highlighted by the Son?

As I looked to see what kind of day it would be weather-wise out the window and listened to the chatter of the older hoodlums I was reminded of a funny story that I thought you might enjoy. (As a side note we don't watch t.v so we don't know most of what is going on. Goodness gracious enough is going on inside this house! I could give you all a running news reel!! Anyway, I was saying that we have found the "look and see" method is just as accurate a weather surmising as the weather man that we have seen on t.v. in the past whom is wrong usually half of the time!)

This funny memory was recalled due to the older ones excitedly looking as each car passes our house HOPING against all hope that it is the UPS man. Dad had ordered them each a gift for keeping their devotional books in tip top shape, and being faithful to them. Sooo any day now the gifts should arrive and their enthusiasm makes ME turn to the window every now and again to see if it is indeed him coming to reward them.

Last year about this same time I was in a war friends. Yes, a war. It was a long waged kerfuffle (thank you Anne of Avonlea for that word which I have now claimed as my own.....seriously) between me a squirrel. Ok I hear you laughing....obviously you have never had a stare-down with a squirrel. I had bought several bird feeders last Summer as I found a good deal on them, had them stocked to the gills with food for my feathery friends. At times I felt like the old lady on Mary Poppins who was feeding the birds for "toppins a bag," inviting all the neighborhood to join me in taking care of them. (Yeah I didn't get out much then either..) WELL...we have several pine trees, like massive huge pine trees, in our yard which house, you guessed it, squirrels. I saw the "squirrel proof" bird feeders in the store, and at first thought them very discriminatory. "They gotta eat to, " I thought with possibly a new chorus of "Feed the squirrels......" in there also. I envisioned myself swinging in my homemade bed sheet hammock (THAT is another hilarious story for another time!) with them eating out of my hand. Oh how wrong I was...

The beautiful array of birds that we used to spot refused to come for awhile and I could not figure out why. The hummingbirds were even scarce. Hmmmmm only nasty black birds would visit us. Yes I know they are birds too, but call me mean, THEY are mean and scare all the other birds away, and I do not like them. Come to find out,they were the only species who would cohabitate with the killer squirrels in my yard! I was determined to get my yard back to the "bird sanctuary" that we once enjoyed. I became serious about watching when the squirrels came and figured that I could run outside and throw a stick at the base of the tree and they would leave and in a hurry.

Like anyone who knows me the squirrels even found out that my "bark" was worse than my "bite." So they kept coming and emptying my feeders and having parties with the crows. Grrrrrr I was fed up that they were fed up so I determined the next time I saw the squirrel ( it was usually just one) It was ME or HIM.

I was making breakfast with one eye on the stove and one on the kitchen window. Yes I CAN do that thanks to an inherited lazy eye. I can get that thing to just about wander anywhere. AND THERE HE CAME. In my robe and nightgown I grabbed the closest thing to me which happened to be the kid's plastic sword. Barefoot I bounded out the back door, eyes bulging, teeth clenched, and madder than a hornet. I slowly walk towards the tree headed for that squirrel. He stares at me, I stare at him and somewhere in the background I hear that familiar Western whistle from "The Good the Bad and The ugly." C'mon just imagine would ya? He doesn't flinch and neither do I. I raise my sword gleaming with the morning sun and begin to shout at the top of my lungs to this varmint. Yes they are members of the RODENT family. Like bad blooded cousins they are......

I am sounding kindov like, "Yougetouttahereyou-AHHHHHHHH" when that eye....the wandering one catches the brown uniform of a man coming slowly up my driveway. Um, it was the UPS man bringing me the vitamins I ordered. In my humiliation I could hardly speak when he evidently noticing my horror spoke for me. "You know I had a problem with squirrels too Mam." and he went on to explain what he did to keep them away from his feeders. My arm is still raised to strike like a scene out of Star Wars. I cannot remember the rest of what he said because after the first line I was just thinking that "This is happening to someone else, this is an out of body moment, this is.......going to be funny someday but not NOW." Somehow I got the box, smiled and wondered if anyone was in the bushes and going to send this into America's Funniest Videos so I could get enough money to buy a zillion squirrel proof feeders. And he is somewhere telling this story to all of his grand kids.

Today I will leave the squirrels alone. The UPS man's got enough on me.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A day's happenings

Let me set the humorous scene that had me smiling a few minutes ago on Haywood.....

Dinner has just wrapped up, Abby is frantically eating yet another helping of salad, Isaac has begun cleaning off the table and sings to Abby, "What's so great about SAL-AD??" Caleb is asking if he is supposed to "throw his fork away," Nathan is UNDER the table hugging the dog and whispering to him nose to nose, Anna is in her jammies and in Joel's arm eating the remains of Joel's food, and last but not least BOTH parents have just taken medicine for a headache! Ahhh life is grand! The best part about all of this is that yes they are all worth every headache and yes we do have ice cream to enjoy when the kiddos have gone to bed. (yes butterscotch too, tho my cravings have led me in another direction.....:-)

Life is what you make of it, plain and simple.

Today we were able to spend a whopping 5 full hours all to ourselves thanks to our sweet college babysitter whom gave us a day out of her Winter break. I was up at 7 and THAT my friends is pure excitement. Make mental note that it will not be repeated any time soon. (Another encouraging plug for my domestic engineer friends out there.) We went to breakfast, went to the thrift store, went to the mall and even the sewing store to catch a peek at a new sewing machine. It was good to talk and talk and talk and just sit with only the hum of the engine to be heard. Recently we have been discussing our pasts and our meeting hence the previous post. All in all we are thankful for the Lord's hand in our lives in various areas especially my own. Not growing up in a Christian environment, being allowed to date very early in school, being exposed to alcohol and drugs before Jr. High, all reminded us, me particularly that the Lord had a special plan for my life, and that gave this stay-at-home Mom a completely wonderful feeling. The Lord preserved me, for Joel, for His work, for my kids and for those I have some sort of influence on. (Yes there are some....and keep them in prayer.)

Today I also got to peek at a ring that Hubby and I have visited twice, just waiting, praying and wondering about for our 10th anniversary. Now I know that there are some of you whom I just HAPPENED to run into lately who have told me that they would NEVER in a million years remove their engagement ring and (GASP) heaven forbid they would certainly never think to put it on the other hand to keep wearing it...... and (SHRIEK) NO WAY JOSE would they ever get a new ring to wear!! Well for you I.Am.Thrilled.Estatic.Overjoyed. Because...I AM going to do those things, with my Husbands blessing and approval. And it was his idea......AND I am tickled because we have sealed the deal on this beautiful ring and it will make it's grand appearance on a day to be announced at a very special occasion in the near future. That was sooo fun and I am so excited. The arrival of another blessing prevents us from taking our planned 10th anniversary excursion to a much warmer destination, but tho we will still be somewhere close to home, the ring will be a wonderful gift! You will have to ask Joel what he already received for our anniversary...

Tomorrow we go private. Glad actually. It will be like our own little circle of friends and I for one will feel more confident about writing knowing that I am not just sending out our silly family stories and happenings into the great cosmic void for someone in Rwanda to gawk at. So without further ado... Welcome to the club! :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

He pulled a fast one!!!

Hey, Joel Here---

Just when I thought that I had it all planned out, He pulls a fast one.

I have been anticipating the switch to our "Private" format to coincide with the switch to Digital TV and low and behold the Obama administration listened to all the dear folks who waited until the last minute to realized that they did not have the little box.

I have two feelings on this:

1. If you are not ready for this yet (over a year and a half of preparation.) Will you ever be ready?

2. Why does the Government have to spend my money to pay for others negligence? Let alone a voucher for the little box!!!

This really impacts my life very little, but alas! Another illustration of the state of our citizens.

Now that the transition won't be until summer, it steals a little of my drama, however- WE will still be going to a private format! READY OR NOT!!

If you would like to continue to read our blog- which we hope you do- please let us know by email. Slots are filling up quickly!! (sorry, this is not a link. just cut and paste it)


Our Love Story

I thought this was as good a time as any to jot down how "Joel and Deena" came to be. I preface by stating that I am not out to make any more enemies, ( I think my old piano teacher is at the back door..) but our story has a rather strange beginning and I have to include the details....sorry to those who now are embarrassed of how they behaved. My sister Dawn and I used to say growing up, "I just love to love love, don't you?" to make ourselves laugh, and truthfully we do love love. I LOVE Valentine's Day. (sorry singles!) I LOVE heart shaped boxes of candy, flowers, red everything which is my favorite color....I love LOVE! I love the emphasis on couple's, dates, and telling your spouse that they mean the world to you.

I like being romantic even though I am a bit corny with it. In college (and here the stories begin..) traveling in a singing ensemble we had some time to kill and were at Wal-mart over Valentine's week. A friend and I were in the Valentine's isle for two reasons, 1) It seemed like a great place to hide while my two friends attempted to get the wad of gum that I had somehow gotten stuck in my hair out. and 2) We wanted to "OOO" and "AAAHH" over the heart-shaped boxes. I vaguely remember the guys trying to give suggestions on how to get the gum out......"Peanut butter," "No, use baby oil..." and then "Y-A-N-K!" My so called "friend" just yanked it out AND a clump of hair. And yes those who knew my group, I will let YOU try to guess whom left me a bald patch .... We finally made our way back to the van where our Chaperon was waiting taking a snooze, which he usually did while we went shopping. :-) As we filled in the van he asked us how it went. I tried to be funny (mistake number one) and also tried to wax eloquent with a phrase I had heard somewhere else. (mistake number two. ) I told him we were "Mooning in the candy isle over the heart-shaped boxes of candy." I have never seen him sit up so fast and spin around to look me in the eye to make sure he heard me right. Unfortunately he did. And so did everyone else in the van. Never did understand that "swooning" and surely never got the "pinching and mooning." Seems to me like you should switch the order...."mooning and then pinching?" Listen I am no Anne of Green Gables and I learned that right.there.

So fast forward a few days and my sweet thoughtful Chaperon decides that he would make a plea for me, during chapel, to get my very own first heart-shaped box of candy. I still could crawl off the blue chair and slink away thinking of it...... Well funny as it is, it worked! I had a box on my desk from a kind gentleman just in time for Valentines. Mint meltaways...... what a memory. So see I am enthralled with Valentines and decided to spend this one remembering how Joel and I became life-long partners in this wonderful adventure on Haywood.

My friend Heather and I were serving for yet another banquet and after cleaning and setting up we headed out of the kitchen greasy, smelly, and hair everywhere. We ran out knowing we only had a little over an hour to shower, bum a dress off of Marcy and make our hair look somewhat 80's. Then we saw him. Standing by the trophy case with his suit and overcoat, holding his Bible with a beautiful corsage in a clear case on top of it. We just melted. "Who is that?" I asked like some red-neck with front teeth protruding.... "That's Joel Royalty, " Heather replied. "Wow," replied both of us.

I knew of Joel, and knew he was a Pastor's son and smart and a real gentleman. He dated some friends of mine and one of them had a roommate whom I was close with and when she was gone, we would read all the cards he gave her!! Yes it still is funny! I remember when I tried out for ensemble Joel kept asking me if I made it. Everyday he met me at chapel asking me if I knew if I made the group. At the time I thought for sure I hadn't. I was failing Math at the time, and at the time it seemed as if Mrs. Wright's Math class was the center of the Universe to me. I did make it and Joel and I became good friends. I didn't realize that he grew up only an hour from me and knew the Barth's, who I had gotten to know very closely only the year or two before college. We talked and talked and each had gotten out of a serious relationship in the not too distant past so we were just good friends. And then it happened. One ensemble trip the "girls" cornered me in a hotel room just before we were to meet the rest of the crew for dinner. One of them made me "promise" I would "never like Joel." At the time I didn't "like" him and wondered why she was so strong about it. She went on to tell me all of the things she found frustrating in him, (wasn't she a piece?) I guess in hopes I would not even speak to him anymore! Long story short, he had hurt a friend of theirs and they were like bees swarming to get some much sought after vengeance.

As the weeks and months passed I DID like Joel. And that just infuriated not only the girls, but some of the guys and even some of the Chaperons. In the year we travelled, they did all they could to make our lives miserable. One time we were playing ping pong and the girls got the guys to agree to empty the room so that we were in their alone and they could get us in trouble. (sad, seriously sad but that is the tip of the ice berg) Joel was in charge of giving the Pastor's a gift from the College on one particular trip and to spite him one of the guys placed the gift behind the back tire of the van, so that when Joel moved the van it would be crushed......and it was. One Chaperon thought he was particularly cute and when a sweet church found out it was my birthday and got me a cake, this Chaperon decided to make everyone sing to me calling me Joel's old girlfriend's name instead of my own. The Pastor eventually stopped him because HE felt bad! On and on it went. We would write letters and put them in our pillow cases and switch them when we got to the place we were staying for the night. One Lady Chaperon just about caught on, but I think we fooled her. Shame that we had to actually. For some odd reason, no one wanted to cut us a brake and Joel was the picture of togetherness. I remember one morning he told me, "Deena, everything will come out in the wash." Meaning, these petty people will see that this is for real and realize that they are making memories that they will be ashamed of looking back. He always told me that "God vindicates people." And he was right. He and I wanted nothing more than to be "above board" and do things the right way. We had been in failed relationships that we had made work. We knew God was doing something, and we hung in there amidst cruel jokes and teasing from even respected adults I am ashamed to say. It got to where we had to ask the Chaperones to sit in the same seat and even though Joel asked, they declined.

I traveled a year with out Joel, he had graduated and begun working with his Dad here in Ohio. We wrote letters while we were away and read I Corinthians 13 every day we were apart. Did the cruelty stop??? Sorry to say it did not. Remember the "singing Chaperon?" Well he would hold my letters from Joel and when he finally did give them to me they were written on with red pen all over them. My name was crossed out and replaced with, you guessed it, the old girlfriends, along with sweet phrases like, "I don't love you." Grown men. Yes, there must have been some deep anger issues???? Of course when Joel and his parents met us for a meeting, everyone was "peaches and cream," smiling and being nothing but cordial. One of those meetings as I said "Goodbye," to Joel to not see him for many months, a Chaperon made fun of me waving to him as we drove down the interstate, telling me that I would "never see him again." I know you are probably wondering how these sweeties ever did get their sweeties? Well God is still in the miracle working business I guess!

We struggled the first few months and years of our courtship. I say "courtship" because in looking back at old scars we have, we no longer advocate the "date everyone you see and try them on to see who fits," philosophy. We were learning that we had to be "above reproach' with people and learn to wait on God to right our wrongs. It was not right what was done to us in that year, but it was not for us to fix. That is for God to take care of. And in case you are wondering He has in many ways. As a quick side note, when I was compiling that scrapbook for Mrs. Leslie, college memories came flooding back......especially hurtful ones, and I had to forgive those girls again that had hurt me more than anyone. I wrote to them telling them and one of them wrote me telling me that "they" were wrong, and that the thought of what they had done to us brought her to tears. That apology meant a lot and was a long time coming. Another one of the guys several years ago invited us to his house, and when we were there, apologized sincerely and still does not like to share ensemble stories because he is ashamed of how he acted. Both are good friends of ours.

When God vindicates you, it is sweeter than any revenge you can think to muster.

And this was our beginning. :-) fun, huh? Our environment did not particularly lend it self towards anything romantic, and we joke that you had to be a second-year student to figure out who was indeed married to whom. It was a "we are in this together to work hard as business partners" type of atmosphere. I don't even remember one couple in 4 years walking anywhere holding hands.

Joel and I corresponded during the longest year of our lives, but it grew us and stretched us and gave us a sweet companionship with one another and with the Lord first and foremost. I love going through those letters and knowing that God was beginning something so sweet that we would spend the next 10 years wanting that for everyone else. We were engaged on Christmas Eve and married June 18th, 1999. 10 years already this June.

And now back to the tall, light-haired gentleman waiting at the display case.... My last year at college, I was dreading the Christmas banquet. Joel was surely too busy to come up and I had opted to serve with an old friend. I had to work late in the library and slowly made my way to the servers meeting. My friend kept telling me that he would bring me dinner in the library since I had to close up and to make SURE to be back to meet him to serve in a certain place at a certain time. Ok, Ok, no problem. I went to the dorm, him-hawed around and s-l-o-w-l-y made my way to the other building. I got inside, began to walk to the kitchen when there.he.was. Yep. It was him. MY him. Waiting with his suit and overcoat and corsage resting on his Bible........and this time it was for me.

PS Joel's two cents--

I am truly thankful for the experience that God brought us through. God did use some difficult situations to grow us.

It was when we both decided that we would give up the "seek and find" and "try them all out" method, that God finally showed us the perfect choice for our lives. I am so thankful for the preservation that the Lord showed to Deena and I through the years. We could truly say that we were saved for each other. Unfortunately, we both carry emotional scars from all the times we gave parts of our heart away. The lack of knowledge in this matter has certainly been motivation for training our children in the right way. I am so thankful that we enjoy a full relationship. Full of joy, full of peace, full of trust, full of fun (hey, I'm married to Deena!!)
and full of love.

We are not perfect. (Ask our kids) But I know that they see a mom and a dad that LOVE each other.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ministering through Grace

Hello all, I am coming to you from the blue chair (still in my nightgown for those of you Domestic Engineers who need a breath of fresh air.. smile...) and am enjoying my three munchkins napping in their warm beds, two slightly bigger munchkins out riding their bikes in 20 MPH winds.....this should be interesting, and even have my sweet Hubby tucked in his bed who came home from work sick. The chicken tortellini stew is in the crock pot and I am listening to Cary Schmidt playing "It is Well," beautifully on CD. And for right now, all IS well.

This week has been so full and my thoughts are this way and that, so I apologize ahead of time.... Sunday morning we had a sweet Missionary woman in who gave her testimony of struggling with Ovarian cancer in stage 2. She was just the funniest sweetest thing. She looked the picture of "togetherness" reading her notes, smiling and speaking to each and every heart. Almost every single verse she read I had memorized (as the woman sitting next to me who heard me recite them with her out loud can attest..) because they all dealt with fear, anxiety, or trust. Yep got them all filled away for daily reference. The woman sitting next to me probably thought that I was a walking (or sitting) Bible Concordance, but trust me, those are the only ones I know by heart!!!

Then Sunday evening I received a copy of Caleb Thompson's book "The Embrace of Grace," and cannot put it down. In fact it is so deep, so heartfelt, I KNOW I will have to read it again to soak all of it in. I even took it to Macy's Tuesday when I got my hair done to read while I waited to look like Shirley Temple. Well I got to telling my stylist about the book, and Caleb's testimony. (BTW if you need an update on Joshua and Caleb go to She was just awestruck what had happened to him and his brother, and that he would write such a book 5 years into a cruel Prison sentence. It was a wonderful witnessing tool, and even the stylist next to her heard and asked me to come talk to her. She is the girl who normally cuts my hair and I have been reaching out to her each visit. She is recently struggling with ovarian issues and now some Colon problems. She is younger than I, would love to have children and the sweetest girl. She has had one ovary removed and now risks losing the other. As she congratulated me on our upcoming 6th blessing, my heart was pricked with pain for her. She went on to tell me that she thinks "God is doing this to me to get back at me for the way I have been." she faintly smiled trying to make light of the whole thing. So here I am, smelling like a skunk, wrapped like an old lady with this plastic bag on my head to boot, and I reach out and tell her, "Surely you know God loves you more than that?" She nodded. We had a small conversation lasting a few seconds with our eyes each telling the other that there was more to this life that this. She knowing and me confirming.

This Missionary wife, this book, my hair stylist and the, sweet but sad, passing into heaven of a 14 year old girl Josie after a long struggle with Cystic Fibrosis has sobered me and made me look at how I view God.

I make no bones about the fact that I was raised with a wrong view of who God really is. And frankly, unless you are in a balanced Christian environment I fear you also might have the same struggles I have from time to time.

We say that God is loving, forgiving, generous with mercy........we say that but we act a very different way. We almost fear telling God how we really feel. When I first happened on the blog Bring the Rain I was amazed, literally stunned at the relationship between Angie Smith and the Lord. She spoke of car rides where she angrily cried out to God asking Him why He had taken her daughter away from her, and such. I at first was offended truthfully, but was so curious I just kept reading, and I am glad I did. And I am also glad that she didn't care what anyone thought about her either!

Psalm 77 is the chapter that I have claimed regarding our need for a house. It says "Waiting on God for a House, December 6, 2007" above it. I have read it and re-read it and re-read it. I have read it sad, mad, frustrated, impatient and the like! And inevitably I read it thankful for David's transparency. Read verse 2, he says or rather admits, that "my soul refused to be comforted." Have you been there? I have. How about verse 3, "I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah." This verse has brought me so much comfort. Not only does David say that he "remembered God" and still "was troubled," but he goes on to say that he complained, was totally overwhelmed and THEN has the audacity to leave a great big SELAH at the end! So he says, "Stop and think about what was just written....ponder this fact.....I.AM.FRUSTRATED!!!" Yes there is humor everywhere, folks.

In verse 4 he is so troubled that he cannot speak, which has happened to me on occasion. For me not to speak you know that I am feelin some serious trouble. Verse 7 David, the MAN AFTER GOD'S OWN HEART, asks if God will cast him off forever, and never treat him favorably again! We continue with verse 8, "Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore?" Then in verse 10 he begins to exercise his will. "This is my infirmity (FYI that word means "anguish"): but I WILL remember......." In the midst of the unknown, David girds up his mind and makes himself remember all that the Lord has done and taught him.

He proceeds (go and glean from it yourself..) to remind HIMSELF of all the Lord's great works to him and the Children of Israel. He redeemed them. He created the earth and made bounds for the seas. He led His people as a Shepherd.

My point in all of this (yes there is one I think if I can find it in my jumbled mess here...) is that David was not afraid to tell the Lord how he felt. Are you? Why do we hide how we feel from Him as if He doesn't know? Friends David was a man "after God's own heart." And I think the depth of his relationship with God came from his transparency and humility. In "The Embrace of Grace," Caleb writes, "How foolish to let our pride refuse to admit weakness, wearing a pasteboard smile and displaying counterfeit strength, when an honest admission of weakness would qualify us for divine power and place us in the position to fulfill God's will." Wow. Because David was willing to admit his weakness he now ministers to you and I. How many times have we neglected to admit our weaknesses and in doing so missed our opportunity to minister grace to someone else?

I long for a relationship like David had with the Lord himself. For a relationship like Caleb Thompson has with Him. For a relationship like that Missionary wife has. And all three were honest with the Lord in their times of trial. They emptied themselves out in front of not only the Lord, but were transparent with those around them so that they could minister to them, with the grace that God gave them through their trial.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Girlies

Abbs is such a help to me around the house, especially with Anna-B

Today I especially enjoyed watching them play...

And I thought of how the Lord gave me one girl with curly, curly hair and dark brown eyes, and one with straight, straight hair and blue eyes! I am so thankful for my two girlies!!! They are a joy to Joel and I!

They enjoyed eating pizza together and watching a documentary on "Birds." We have been fascinated with them lately and trying to learn all we can about their different species, habitats, habits and nesting grounds. This family is for the birds!

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Royalty Players Present - "Esau and Jacob"

After listening to the story of Esau and Jacob one recent afternoon, we decided to give acting a "go" and seriously had a blast doing it! As soon as we get some funding we are hoping to add many more plays to our family's repertoire.

Here Jacob is preparing a hearty stew awaiting his brother's arrival....

And "lickety-sizzle" he hands over the birthright!

Isaac (ahem) doing a pretty believable "dying" performance

Rebekah (notice the flour in her hair.....she insisted it made her look old, you be the judge!) divulging her master plan to Jacob....

Isaac feeling Jacob to see if he is indeed Esau. (Knew those coon-skin caps would come in handy)

And finally Esau's stew is done and presented to his father. (again gotta love those coon-skin caps. The props make the play folks.)

Good ole' Isaac revives upon discovering he had been had, and informs Esau most dramatically I might add, "I ALREADY ATE SOME SOUP!!!"

And then the chase scene! Esau determined to get back at Jacob chases him into the kitchen while Rebekah in the foreground awaits to see whom will slip and wipe-out on the kitchen floor first!

And a good time was had by all......well except maybe Isaac and Esau who were literally "had."

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Thank you all for the tremendous response to our upcoming transition! We really have been overwhelmed by the notes of encouragement. It is really neat to find out who has been keeping up.

If there are any others out there that want to join up, please send us your email.

By the way- There will be no voucher to offset the cost of transition!!

Deena is on the mend. She is still in the big blue chair, just not feeling up to doing much yet.
Praise the Lord for his healing!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Sign of the TImes....

I am wishing you all well because this household sure isn't!! We will be back as soon as the Vick's, Halls, and Sudafed kick in............... until then be warmed (but hopefully not from fever), and filled (with other things besides Saltines and Chicken Soup).