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Archive for July, 2008

Date Night

Adam took me out the other night.

We went to dinner first. I would tell you the name of the place, but honestly, I have no idea what it is. The food was okay, and we both agreed we’ve had better.

After dinner, we sat in the car in the restaurant parking lot and…played sudoku on his blackberry! We take turns putting in a number (yeah that’s right, we know how to play nice) until the puzzle is solved. I’m a sudoku freak – I love this game! And I love even more that my man is sharing in this passion.

After we completed a puzzle we went to Target and shopped for an hour. Are we the ultimate cool couple or what? We had a few items on our “To Buy” list, but then ended up in the decorating section. There I found a very simple plaque that said “and they lived happily ever after.” We bought the plaque and I’ll share more thoughts on this tomorrow.

Finally, we went to Barnes & Noble & did some browsing. We bought Ava a piano book & I got a new daily planner that includes 2009…it’s green…my favorite color. 🙂

So, does this date sound incredibly exciting?

Well, let me tell you – it was and it was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time.

I love that we’re at the place where we don’t need to impress each other. He could take me to the Signature Room or he could take me to McDonald’s. As long he takes me, I really don’t care where we go. Seriously, especially since we have our kids now, just sitting together on the couch watching Iron Chef is a treat (love that show!).

I find security in knowing that I can tell him what I really think & he won’t walk away.

When we first started dating, Adam enjoyed caressing my inner elbow. He did it all the time.

I HATED IT!

It’s the one place I hate to be touched. It reminds me of getting blood tests & I have an insane fear of needles. I know, I get it, I’m weird. But, that’s who I am. Anyway, he could be tenderly stroking my elbow & I would have to gaze lovingly into his eyes, all the while, clenching my teeth. My inner monologue went something like: “Get your freakin’ hand off that spot! Just hold my hand, rub my shoulder, but for the sake of all that is good in this world, STOP IT!”

One day, I finally just told him. He looked at me, laughed & asked why I didn’t say something sooner. Right…can you imagine being in the early stages of dating & saying, “So, I’m kinda afraid needles, like, a lot. And when you touch my elbow, all I think about is blood tests & then I want to pass out.” Hmmm…not the girl you’re rushing to bring home to meet mom.

Now, I’m not the only guilty one here.

Did you know that Adam was a vegetarian for a while?

Yep, he made the decision soon after we met. I mean, come on…everyone knows that vegetarians only like other vegetarians, right? 😉

Here’s the thing. He doesn’t like vegetables, so he was basically living off of mac n’ cheese. He eventually came to his senses, and returned to his meat eating ways. And I still love him – carnivore & all.

We laugh about this stuff now.

He sees me & I see him. We know we aren’t perfect people – we get that about each other & we still choose to love one another. It doesn’t matter where we go or what we do. I just love being together.

Oh yeah, and if any of you think about touching my inner elbow…well, consider yourself warned:

Who knows, I may just turn my umbrella on you next!!

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You never know what’s lurking…

I was driving in my car yesterday afternoon. Well, actually it’s Adam’s car, which is way cooler than my van.

It was a beautiful, bright, sunny day. I had the sunroof open and all the windows down. I was alone in the car (or so I thought…foreshadow alert!) and was singing along to some great tunes.

All of a sudden, I heard a “rustling” sound coming from the backseat.

I glanced back, but didn’t see anything.

Then I heard the noise again.

I glanced back a second time & noticed a plastic bag on the backseat. So, I figured the noise must be the wind rustling the bag.

I had no sooner turned my head away, when suddenly a cicada came out of nowhere.

I started screaming! Please understand – I don’t know the first thing about cicadas. I thought they came out once every 17 years or something. But, apparently only a specific type of cicada does that. I had no idea if this creature was going to bite me or sting me. You think the stupid thing would have flown out the window, but no…it was after my head.

Have you seen a cicada close-up? Do you know how big they are or how wide their wing span is? DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S IT’S LIKE TO HAVE ONE BUZZING IN YOUR EAR?!?!?!?!

Well, here’s a little sample…

AHHHHH – it was horrible! Did I mention I was on the expressway when this happened? Yeah, not the best place to have a panic attack. By now the cicada had stopped flying around and was now on the floor near my feet. I suppose I could have stepped on it, but you know me & the whole “it’s a living thing” attitude I have (remember the spider story?).

Instead, I called a friend who instantly told me to pull over before I ended up in a ditch.

So, I pulled over, and with the help of my trusty umbrella, I shooed the cicada out of my car. I must have looked hilarious standing on the shoulder of the expressway, in 90° heat, waving around an umbrella…

Ironically, after work the day before, Ava & Dennis were looking for dead cicadas. She can hear them in the big tree in front of church & wanted to know what they looked like. They found a couple & she brought them home to show Adam. So, I either had a stowaway or one of those things came back to life.

This experience definitely takes the prize for scariest bug moment.

No contest.

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Romans

I am totally loving Romans!

I have never studied this book in depth before, but the truths I am learning every day are so applicable. Today’s reading really hit home. You can see the entire passage here – Romans 12:1-21.

I started out reading:

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2).

So, I stopped there & asked, “God what are some of the ways I need to transform my thinking?”

Let me tell you, this was one of the fastest answers to prayer because I got my answer a little later in verse 14:

“Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.”

I love praying for my family, my friends & the people I come in contact with.

I love praying for people I don’t know. School starts soon & I’m really praying for the friends Ava & Garrett will make this year. Grady will still be home with me, so he’s good…;)

I struggle praying for people who have hurt me. It’s completely draining. While I try asking God to bless them, my gut starts wrenching and all I want to do is bitterly wish that someone will do to them what they did to me. I want them to understand how much it hurts to be on the receiving end of betrayal.

I few years ago, I was betrayed by a close friend. This person lived off of a road I commonly drove on to get around town. I had to intentionally start driving another route because the wound was too fresh. I would drive along the road & all of a sudden the hurt, sadness & fury would rise to the surface. I found I would then dwell on the betrayal and just be in a horrible mood for while. For example, Ava would ask a question & my tone of voice would be snippy – poor girl, all she did was ask a question!

I knew that we were supposed to pray for those who hurt us. So, one day, I drove on that road & prayed, “God, I wish her peace.” And you know what? I’m okay driving that road now. Don’t get me wrong…I still hurt when I think about what happened, but that bitterness that was trying to take root in my heart toward her is gone.

There are people who I still struggle praying for. I try asking God to bless them & all I end up praying is that they’ll get a gigantic wart on the end of their nose (whoops – that wasn’t very loving!). In all seriousness though, for some, the best I can do is pray that God will put people in their life who will help them draw closer to Him.

So, I have to choose to pray for those who hurt me & let me tell you…I really needed that reminder today.

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.” (Romans 12:21)

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When I was 15 months old, I fell out of our home’s two story window.

My parents were putting linoleum flooring in our kitchen & they opened all the windows in the house to air out the smell from the glue (all the windows had screens).

My mom said all of a sudden she started looking for me, but couldn’t find me. She thought it absurd to look outside because I was too small to turn any doorknobs.

She eventually did go outside though & found me sitting on the driveway. She looked up & saw our dog’s head poking out the upstairs window – I must have leaned on the screen & it gave way.

She & my dad instantly took me to the ER where I was examined by the doctors. My mom said I had no broken bones, cuts, or bruises. My eyes did quite a bit of rolling though! The doctors eventually surmised that I must have done a complete somersault when I fell & then landed on my bottom.

To this day my mom says that she has always believed that an angel carried me down & that God must have needed me here for something important to do.

Do you ever feel like you are here for a specific reason that is bigger than you?

I do & I’ve always been a firm believer that we are all here together at this exact moment in time for a purpose – a purpose that God laid out long before we even existed.

My church, The Church of Rock Run, is currently getting ready to relocate & I couldn’t be more excited. We are a church of next steps. This is reflected in our mission statement – “to help people take their next step toward full devotion to Jesus Christ.” We believe that God is calling us to reach a whole new group of people. We call this area the Green Fields. This is where we’ll continue to represent Christ’s hands & feet, preach the gospel and minister to a lost world so they may one day share eternity with our heavenly Father. This is our next step in following who we believe God is calling us to be, what He is calling us to do & where He is calling us to go.

Jesus tells us in John 4:34-36:

“My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing His work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike!”

To my church family members, I say to you, we are all in this together. This next step is huge, it’s bigger than all of us & we need each other. God has us all together at this exact moment by design. We each have a specific opportunity to be part of something that goes beyond who we are as individuals. We have the chance to do something that has an everlasting impact.

To my other family & friends, I say that “The Green Fields” represent more than a specific area of Illinois. God has you here on this earth, at this very moment for a reason. We have a chance to glorify God in all our roles. Whether you are a son or daughter, mother or father, employee, teacher, neighbor, coach, friend – they’re all a part of that Great Field where we are called to “go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I (Christ) have given you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

Remember, “the harvest is great, but the workers are few.” (Matthew 9:37)

The fields are waiting and they’re ready.

Are you?

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Oh my goodness you guys…this morning was a nightmare.

Where to start?

Ava, Grady & I made our way to the doctor’s office around 10:30. We got out of the van & as we headed to the office doors, Grady tripped & split his chin on the curb.

There was blood all over his shirt and inside his mouth. He was crying really hard & as I was trying to comfort him, he was getting blood on me too. We went to the counter to check in & once they saw him, they got us an ice pack & said we could take care of all the insurance changes & co-pays later (thank you!)

The first thing we had to do was get Ava to pee in a cup. I just loved our exchange:

Me: “Ava, you need to go pee in this paper cup.”

Ava: complete blank look “I have to what?”

Me: “You need to pee in the cup.”

Ava: “But…why?”

So, we went to the bathroom to collect the specimen. I’m holding a cup in one hand, trying to convince Ava to go (she is afraid to). I’m holding Grady in my other arm, as he continues to bleed, but has stopped crying for the time being.

We finished with the bathroom & made our way into the patient room. The nurse came to see us & sure enough, Grady needed stitches. At one point she asked if I still wanted him to get his immunizations, but then we both just looked at each other and went, “yeahhhh…no.” So, she brought back some motrin & put a numbing ointment on his chin until they were ready for him. Oh, and I of course have to keep the bandage on him, which he of course, is trying to pull off.

Meanwhile, Ava is beginning to cry because she is afraid of the shots. She was trying so hard to be brave! The first thing they did was to check for lead & her iron count. That meant a finger poke. This did not go well at all. She was crying & I was holding her hand with one of my hands while keeping Grady’s arms pinned down with my other arm. I really need another set of arms…

Good news is Ava sailed through the check-up portion of the test – yeah!

Then…it was shot time.

The nurse took Grady so I could focus completely on Ava.

First, she had to have a TB test. She sat on my lap for this. It hurt, but she said it wasn’t as bad as the finger poke. Next, came the series of the other shots.

For this, Ava had to lay down on the “table.” The nurse held her legs & I had to lay my upper body across hers so she wouldn’t move. It was so hard looking in her eyes trying to reassure that everything was going to be okay. They had to give her four shots in her legs. She wailed so loud that I could see right down her throat. It was quickly over though & she settled down right away. I know how scared she was going into this, but she did it. After she was finished she asked if she could call her friends. She wanted to show them her cool bandaids & tell them that it hurt, but only a little.

Grady’s turn was next. The nurse came back & she took Ava this time, so I could focus on Grady. We went into another room where they papoosed him so he couldn’t move his arms. One nurse held his legs, one held his head & I had to hold his shoulders & speak soothingly to him. When Ava got her shots, I at least was able to look into her eyes. They had to cover Grady’s face though, so only his chin was exposed. They had to give him a shot to make sure the area was completely numb & then he got his stitches. He cried so hard that he went hoarse. My poor little guy – he was probably so scared because he couldn’t see anything!

The stitching went quickly & I was able to hold him immediately. He calmed right down & just rested his head on my shoulder. Ava came back with a sucker in her hand & nine stickers. She got three Grady, three for Garrett & three for herself. The nurse then gave Grady a sucker…except he kept on eating the wrong end. I almost asked if someone had a sucker for me too. 😉

We made our appointment for next week, then headed out for treats. Throughout the course of our visit, I ended up promising Ava a double scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream cone & then a hot chocolate (to warm her up, as she put it). So, we headed to Baskin Robbins & then hit the Starbucks inside Target. I passed on the ice cream, but definitely partook in the Starbucks!

All in all, this morning was incredibly stressful, but we made it through.

It’s just after 11:00 pm, as I’m finishing this up. I’m taking some melatonin & going to bed!

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Doctor Day

We are headed to the doctor’s office this morning.

Ava needs to get her Kindergarten physical & Grady is getting a well-baby check-up.

You know what that means right?

Shots

Lots of them.

I hate watching the kids get their immunizations. My heart always breaks for them. I remember each of the kids’ first shots. The nurse would stick them, but they wouldn’t cry immediately. So, I would instantly think, “Thank goodness it didn’t hurt.” However, I was quite mistaken – the reaction was only delayed. I would watch as their brow would crinkle & bottom lip would begin to quiver. All of a sudden they would let out a huge wail. Oh, how I dreaded those visits.

I struggle watching my kids hurt. There are so many times when I wish I could endure the physical pain and emotional hurt for them. I’m there to hold them & wipe their tears, but it still doesn’t feel like enough.

Ava knows that she is getting shots today and she is very scared. She’s already shed quite a few tears. Grady has no idea what’s going to happen, but he will soon enough…

Adam’s is thankfully working from home today, so I can leave Garrett with him. I think he would have started crying too, fearing that his turn was next!

We’re going to get ice cream after the visit, so we just keep talking about “the best” ice cream sundae & try not to talk too much about the shots.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Encouraging Truth

We are currently reading the book of Romans in the New Testament section of our One Year Bible journey. There is a passage that I wanted to share with you. These verses in particular are some of my favorite in the Bible. Whenever I am discouraged, confused, down or ready to throw up my hands in complete frustration, I turn to these verses & find comfort in God’s faithful promises and enduring love:

“And we know that God causes everything to work together[b] for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:28

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“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[d] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

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