Thursday, December 31, 2009


Mac & I are watching old movies and getting ready to have some deli sandwiches for dinner. Good deli sandwiches always bring my Grandma Trent to mind; they were one of her specialties. Jay worked until 6:00, he'll drive home and then head over here for the evening.
The Mr. is at church. We weren't interested in staying through the entire service until midnight; we're New Year's homebodies and treasure greeting midnight snuggled in (usually literally snuggled in bed) with quiet peace. But he's playing for the first portion of the service and will be home around 10:00 p.m. Nothing exciting to report on the Smith Front which is just how we like it. This is the last evening we'll sit around our Christmas tree until next year; down it comes tomorrow. The fire is warm and the lamplight is mellow and sweet. Mac and I are outfitted in our pajamas and Donny is snoring next to me.
The movie we are watching at the moment is Evan Almighty. Have you seen it? Good movie. It speaks to me especially tonight. There's an old song, The Imperials maybe? Build an ark; head for the open waters. Save your sons and your an ark.
In the movie the town's people who mocked Evan/Noah come to their senses at the last moment and are saved. This evening I am reminded that we are still commanded to build an ark. As daboyz and the Mr. settle in under one roof tonight it's a little bit like our ark. A place where we've done the best we could to measure our steps and our words; a place where we've made a covenant with God to believe in the safe passage of our family into the future.

Dear Lord, thank you for safe passage through 2009. Thank you for strength and health. Thank you that we have passed through 12 months of economic uncertainty without the loss of our home or the ability to feed and clothe our family. Thank you for the plans you have already made for 2010, give us the courage and the wisdom to stand 12 months from now having pleased you and more aware of your love for us than we are today. Lord, if you would, set your rainbow over this home and let it be an ark of safety for the four of us and all of those you send to us. Thank you God, for your son. Thank you for my family and all that you have prepared for us. If there is only one thing I accomplish for you, let my life be an ark where irrational faith is met with inconceivable love. Amen.

God Above All The World In Motion

Good morning friends, sisters and other wanderers! My Christmas vacation is drawing to a quick close, back to work on Saturday. I feel that this week has been both too busy and yet delightfully lazy with many mornings of sleeping in and remaining in pajamas until midday. Last night the Mr. and I went to see Walking With The Dinosaurs. One morning a few weeks back we were watching the news and they featured some of the dinos from this show and we impulsively bought tickets. Well, by yesterday afternoon at around 4:00, the last thing I wanted to do was walk with dinosaurs. Dean asked Marty if he and Alexa wanted the tickets without success so having already spent the money and having reached that age of not being able to stand to see things go to waste, we dragged ourselves out to Cobo Hall.
If you haven't used the link above, that would be the best way for you to imagine Walking With The Dinosaurs. As I said, I didn't want to go. I was tired, it was cold and I was pretty sure that this was geared toward little kids. After some gentle grumbling we made our way downtown and into our seats just in time for "curtain call." There wasn't actually a curtain as the show took place in Cobo (which is a former athletic arena.) At the end of two hours, I was in awe and oh so glad that Marty didn't take our tickets off our hands. Yes, the audience was mostly little ones but maybe the Mr. and I still have child-like (or childish) hearts. We were in awe of these life-size animals that soared to the ceiling of Cobo touching the Jumbotron. We felt the vibrations from the mammoth foot steps and roars and had to be mindful to keep our jaws from dropping.
Were the special effects and technology of dinosaurs right in front of us amazing? Yes, to say the very least. Moreso this was a religious experience for me.
We watched the continents break apart, the earth break forth from barren landscapes to fern-lush meadows to flowering fields with these behemoth animals arising and (don't make fun of me), I sat amongst the little kids in their dino hats and cried. Would it be ridiculous for me to describe a Cobo Arena Dinosaur show as glorious? Then ridiculous it is.
I have this experience all the time. Up north watching hummingbirds buzz around the porch swing. From my family room going to bed to barren trees and waking up under towering leafy branches. From my office window as snow falls silently to erase the blighted urban landscape for a few hours.
I wondered if I should try to think up some poignant New Year's Eve post about the past and the future. Should I mention the loved ones and the strangers who will not greet 2010, having already spent their allotted moments embraced by mortality? Shouldn't I make promises or resolutions about what I want my life to be this year? Express gratitude for the wonderfulness that has been 2009?
I have only one thought as the final hours of 2009 float into memory. God is amazing, glorious, powerful, creator, redeemer...He is all there is and all that we see is the vapor of his breath left behind as He exhales life into the universe.
My wish for you and me and all of the world is that we will see God. He is not invisible.
Grace to you.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


The Party

The Morning After

Midmorning Hello & Prefabricated Meatstuffs

Had the annual Band Christmas bash last night. Served a meal that I was not impressed with. Prepared meatballs, prepared mashed taters. Don't love that, would have much preferred actually making a nice meal especially since I wasn't working and had the time. But the Mr. prevailed as he actually likes the Gordon's meatballs (not Ikea but a similiar concept), which I am sure are made of salt and sawdust. I did steam green beans and then toss with olive oil, sliced almonds and garlic; a slight redemption of a shameful presentation!
Despite the synthetic entree, a fine time was had by all. We exchanged gifts and I received a lovely t-shirt made by Chad with a pic of the Mr. in a hot tub bubble bath taken last weekend during the romantic get-away (yes, I took a pic and sent it to Chad.) Played a board game which lasted approximately 3 months. By the end I was attempting to text the answers to the other team just to end it. Of course, we ate too much...appetizers, sawdust balls, desserts (and more desserts!) and naturally the Mr.'s holiday punch.
I took a bunch of pictures with my new camera which I am determined to make good use of. I'll post these when I transfer them to the computer. Presently using the laptop in the family room because Mac is sleeping in the spare room/office. I remain in my robe drinking cinnamon holiday coffee; Donny & the Mr. awoke for half and hour and each fell promptly asleep on a couch.
Tonight we're going to see "Walking With The Dinosaurs." Hope we can get moving in time to make the show at 7:00 this evening!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Yes, we are home from our little get-away...all the way to Allen Park we traveled! For the first time we stayed at the Holiday Inn there, this after a web search. We had one of the nicest rooms we've ever stayed in; fireplace & jacuzzi in our room. I'd say we're refreshed but we weren't all that de-freshed in the first place so let's just say we had a wonderful time.
Mac is still sick, has been for several days. If you ask me it's a direct result of poor sleep habits and a recent trip out to play wally ball wearing a Carhart jacket, hat and shorts. But what do I know? So he's lazing on the couch under an electric throw sipping honey & lemon tea and watching Myth Busters. I've got a pot of stoup on the stove for him. Chicken, celery, carrots, onion and brown rice. And a little garlic to cure what ails ya! Since he helped himself to a good night's sleep in our bed, I've also changed our sheets as I don't care to spend any time rolling around in his contaminated bed clothes.
When we came home I brewed a pot of espresso (see above pic) because, really, can you ever have enough coffee? No is the answer. Straightened up the house because two boys (yes two) can make quite a little mess. Ran to the library and Gordon's Foods (because DaBand is coming over tomorrow.) The snow has been falling all day and making everything just a little prettier and a little cozier. Donny keeps going outside to run in circles in the snow and then coming in to run in circles in the house to warm up. Jay will be headed over shortly for a big bowl of stoup. I'm going to do a little more straightening and then settle in with one of my new library books and a cup of tea with honey.
If you're curious about the get-away; pics are on my Facebook. I am pretty sure you guys are all connected. If not and you're interested, just give a holler and I'll post here.
The tea pot is whistling...

Impromptu Romantic Get-Aways

Good Monday to you. I am not at my computer at the moment but thought I'd drop a note in the mail, so to speak. I set my blog to publish today. Aren't I clever?

The Mr. and I have said over and over that we need a little stash for those impromptu moments when we want to have a romantic get-away but of course, never have the money. And romantic get-aways don't come cheap. So in the Mr.'s stocking this year was a card with said stash for future impromptu romantic get-away. We'll save it for one of those Calgon-me-away days. Won't it be wonderful, say, on a snowy day in February to reach into our little stash and run away for the night?

This morning I woke up to hear the Mr. on the phone making hotel reservations for Sunday, December 27. I guess we were more in need of an impromptu get-away than I realized. And this, my friends, is why we never have a secret stash!

So off to a jacuzzi suite complete with fireplace we'll be hidden away from the world, though only few a few hours. Maybe if you're lucky I'll take a picture of the Mr. in the jacuzzi with my new Christmas camera!

And when we come home, back to saving up a little stash...

Romance is the glamour which turns the dust of everyday life into a golden haze.

~Amanda Cross

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Romans 7:5-6
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Smith Report

So? How was your Christmas?
Ours was wonderful, although I don't recall a Christmas that wasn't. I'm sure there have been unhappy Christmases if I think hard enough but I choose to not go chasing after sad memories that have moved into oblivion.
You're wondering what we ate? Christmas Eve was our usual Mexican feast begun about six years ago when Jay was diagnosed with Celiac. Mexican is just about the only always safe bet and a family favorite. Usually the Mr. makes dinner because he is off on Christmas Eve and I'm not. This year I was able to head home after a half day and help a bit. I made Mexican Wedding cake; another favorite and tradition. Dean's parent's joined us, the first Christmas together in 20 years or so. Dean's dad was more out of it than not but when he was lucid he was teary with a soft-heartedness that is new to him.
Our Jay spent the night with us, also become a fairly recent tradition since he's moved out. A new guest in the house was Mac's girlfriend, Lexi. We had a full house! Jay in our front bedroom, Lexi in the family room snuggled on our big couch under our tree (although I don't how she slept with the Christmas lights on!) We opened our gifts on Christmas Eve with Dean's parents and I received a waffle iron from Jay so...waffles (gluten free and regular!) with thick cut bacon, coffee/hot tea and orange juice for Christmas breakfast. Of course, warm maple syrup, real butter and powdered sugar were on hand.
Christmas morning we were not without a few gifts since Santa arrived for we four, Lexi and Donny. He was very generous bringing us our favorite candies and goodies. I can't recall if it was Donny or Santa but one of them gave us a camera for Christmas so once I've mastered it, look forward to more pictures than you'd ever want to see!
Lexi and Mac left mid morning to visit with her family in Toledo leaving Dean, Jay and I to straighten up, admire our new stuff and get ready for Christmas Phase II...
Christmas dinner at my parents! A tradition for about twenty years, can you tell we like tradition around here? I was supposed to work but was able to pull off working from home at the last moment so my mom and my sister took on the real work of preparing a wonderful dinner with the Mr. and I only contributing punch, shrimp cocktail and cookies. We ate (and ate and ate) ham, turkey, green beans, potatoes, broccoli/cauliflower salad, pickles olives...and there was a very small dessert table as well with about 10 different choices requiring the sensible celebrant to limit his or her plate to only 8 or 9 sweets.
We exchanged gifts as the Trent Family on Christmas day, a few years ago giving up the bank-breaking unnecessary gift giving for everyone and drawing names. We haven't missed the giant pile of stuff once. Jay was my "Secret Santa" and I got an awesome giant basket of coffee goodies from the Coffee Beanery. I drew Rob's name and ordered him a "horse clock" per his request and the latest Joel Olesteen book. I was a bit worried that the much awaited horse clock would meet with his approval as it is destined for his office at work but he seemed to like it very much.
I got only one phone call from work with a quick update and instructions from my staff to enjoy my family and not give them a second thought. I wasn't quite able to put the hospital completely out of my mind but I did a pretty good job not dwelling on it.
We came home shortly after 8:00 p.m. tired, full and joyous. Jay and Mac drove Lexi home and settled in to play video games and the Mr. and I headed to bed.
So there you have Christmas with the Smiths. I hope you share your birthday doin's and that your time with family was as wonderful as ours, worthy of the Jesus we celebrate.
Merry day after!
Painting: Santa on a horse in honor of my brother-in-law, Rob.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve!

I'm off to work today but thought I'd share an actual holiday picture of myself with all of my bloggity friends!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Messiah Provider

This morning I turned my radio dial to the Praise channel on Sirius. I will admit to you that gospel music as opposed to modern worship is what really feeds my soul. I will also admit, although I hate to, that I often walk around soul starved without the sense to do such a simple thing as turn a radio dial.

As I mentioned, my heart has been burdened for our soldiers and their families and I hope you are feeling the same burden.

I am also burdened for those families that lack in other ways this Christmas. Loved ones who have passed away; fractured families who cannot celebrate together; illnesses that steal the simple joy of being pain-free; parents dreading Christmas morning without gifts for their little ones; dinner tables lacking the basics much less the feast that Christmas deserves.

There is so much hurt that I so easily push aside as I admire the beautiful lights in my neighborhood and snitch one more tiny nibble of a cookie. I don't apologize for the joy in my life, and I thank God for the plenty that surrounds me. But let me not become so immersed in all that is good and right for me that I forget that all is not good and right everywhere.

When I am soul-starved, I tend to fill the voids with things like Christmas carols played loud enough to drown out the Holy Spirit's whispers to remember others. But when I fill myself with the spiritual food that truly fills me, I recognize the voids around me and remember to ask God to fill the lives that are hungry.

A few lines from my morning and evening drives- songs heard on my radio have resonated in my heart today. No, not Christmas songs. Just truth. The truth that sets men free and fills the hungry spirit. Three different songs, and tonight as I pray for those who lack, I give thanks for the modern-day psalmists who brought forth such truth in lyrics...

I am not worthy, yet I do not worry.

Who is he but Jehovah Jireh, what shall he do but provide?

Praise confuses the enemy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

God please...

I was watching the news this morning and there was a story about a mom surprised by her daughter coming home from Iraq for Christmas. The daughter had been denied leave for Christmas and was expected to come home around New Year's. Mom was at the airport when her daughter stepped off the plane with the rest of G.I.s surprising her. You wondering what mom was doing at the airport if she wasn't expecting her soldier daughter? She was there to greet the ones who were lucky enough to get that Christmas leave.

Can you begin to imagine the heart of such a woman? Not bitter that her daughter was going to be under literal fire on Christmas day; but there to celebrate with the soldiers who could come home. She said she wanted to hug the ones who didn't have a mom there to greet them.

When the reporter asked the soldier how it felt to be home she said she had spent months dreaming of stepping off of the plane on American soil. But now standing on American soil, her only thoughts are "my guys" still fighting so that she could come home for a week.

I thought to myself, this young woman cannot have peace. On the battlefield, her heart yearns for home. At home, she years to stand beside her comrades until they can all come home. It made me ashamed of myself and the peace that I have. None of us should be completely peaceful as long as we have men and women, sons and daughters; on a battlefield. We should all be like that soldier, thankful to be home with a corner of our hearts reaching out to the ones fighting for us.

I am going to give time everyday this week to pray for the soldiers and families who are both separted physically and those caught between two worlds when they are finally home for a moment.

Somewhere mothers and fathers are praying for their children to be safe while their place will be empty at the dinner table. Somewhere husbands and wives are trying to keep the memory of their spouses alive for their children.

Somewhere Christmas carols are drowned out by cries, "God please..."

I join them.

God please...

Knowing Why

Five more days! How ready are you for the birthday party?
I have one more gift to wrap and a few gift cards to pick up on behalf of Santa. I have baked chocolate oatmeal cookies, oatmeal raisin cookies, walnut balls, lemon squares and magic cookie bars. The plan is to finish up with cream cheese cookies, buckeyes and chocolate brickle today. The brickle is a new recipe I found in a Paula Deen cookbook. I don't know exactly what a brickle should look like because there is no picture but I am sure brickle is fabulous just based on its name. Everything is gluten-free except the walnut balls. Tried to g/f those last year but they are just too crumbly without the magical binding power of wheat. Happily, they aren't one of Jay's favorite so it's not too terrible a tragedy. I have today off and the Mr. has the morning off. Gonna see if I can't sweet talk him into taking the whole day.
So I sit this morning with my snowflake coffee mug wearing my Santa flannel jammies with a dusting of snow outside. The Mr. kissed me good morning and promptly fell back asleep and Donny is outside hunting reindeer.
I am scheduled to work on Christmas Day and someone told me that Christmas is no big deal if you don't have little kids at home. How sad for that person.

Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of your son and the celebration that arises in our spirits because our reconciliation with you became flesh. Thank you for the blessings of my life and thank you for the joy I can experience in Christ. Thank you for a warm and happy home, for enough money to bake goodies (because there were years we couldn't afford that luxury.) Thank you for presents under our tree and thank you that we have learned when to be done with the buying and to settle in with the celebration. Thank you for the peace of my family that arises in times of plenty and sustains in times of trouble. Thank you for the tears that fall during Christmas songs at church. Thank you Father; for inviting me to the birth of your son. I have no gift to bring that's fit to give a King. And yet the King of Kings is mine.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

1 Peter 2:6
For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's never a bad idea

1. To say I love you.
2. To offer a cup of coffee.
3. To write a thank you note.
4. To use more Christmas lights.
5. To mail a birthday card.
6. To pray.
7. To apologize.
8. To forgive.
9. To make a pot of soup from scratch.
10. To take photographs.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Undeserved Gifts

Have you ever criticized someone only to realize after the fact that there was a reason for their behavior? And then felt like a monster for being too hard on the person? Well, I have.
Have you ever rolled your eyes or dug in your heals or chosen sarcasm or silence when someone disappointed you to find out later that there was pain in their life that made pleasing you just too difficult? And realized that your gentleness and grace would have soothed a wound and instead you created a new one?
I have.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of impatience or anger and thought, "If you knew what I was going through, you wouldn't do this to me." I have. Have you ever just been too worn out and sad to explain yourself so you just took the assault and sunk a little lower? I have.
I'm trying to remove myself from this cycle of giving and receiving hurt by withholding grace. I've come to understand that on my part, I am deciding whether or not someone deserves my grace or my boot heel. How sinful my heart can be. There is no deserving grace, or mercy for that matter. How dare I dole it out as though able to judge those who should be comforted and those who should be...discomforted.
When I am vulnerable and weak I need to take responsibility for myself and give some explanation for myself, even if it's simply to say that I'm having a bad day and please excuse me. Of course, I cannot have a year's worth of bad days to excuse continuous bad behavior and attitude!
When I play the part of the bearer of grace, I must give it open-handedly. As though I've got all the mercies of heaven at my fingertips, I will cover your wounds with kindness.
Because in fact, do I not have all the mercies of heaven already applied to my own wounds?
It is not giving, only sharing what I've been given.
Without deserving, just as I have received.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Counting Down to Christmas

I think I think I think we're ready for Christmas! Not completely and entirely done with everything, does anybody get completely and entirely done with everything? But shopping is 99% complete and today I promise to finish my wrapping. Our decorating inside is complete but the Mr. has decided to put lights outside because as we were driving down our street about halfway down the block (on our half) all of the lights stop. I mentioned this must be the Muslim end of the street and he decided that we need to be lit up to clarify our faith!
I worked the weekend which always makes me feel like my home life is in limbo and covering the hospital next Saturday as well but hoping to work from home in which case I have penciled in baking. I've also sent Mac's girl Lexi a message to see if I can't lasso her in to be a baking assistant.
New Santy Claus pajamas to wear on Christmas Day (which I'm working!) are purchased. Obviously I am going to have to wear something a bit more professional to work and then change! Even the stocking stuffers are stocked.
And can I take a moment to say how much I appreciate my Mr.? He does all of the shopping and wrapping for Daboyz and does a good portion of the rest of the wrapping as well. He put up the tree, although I did help hang ornaments! And now he's going out into the wilderness to light up the bushes.
So happy planning and celebrating!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Psalm 16:11
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Simple Pleasures

1. Honey.
2. Fireplace.
3. Lemons.
4. Flannel pajamas.
5. Reading in bed.
6. Audio books in the car.
7. Old hymns.
8. Cinnamon scented candles.
9. Hot cocoa from scratch.
10. Christmas lights.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dear Lord

The patient was expecting to be discharged but his doctor wasn't in yet. He wasn't trying to cause problems but wanted to make sure I understood his urgency. Two worries. Number one, he wanted to coordinate as closely as possible to the bus schedule because he didn't want to stand outside any longer than necessary. Secondly, he wanted to get in line early at the shelter so they didn't run out of beds. Being discharged from the hospital with no one to pick you. A good night defined by 8 hours inside instead of out side. Tomorrow's cold winds will come soon enough when the doors lock again until sundown.
And my electric mattress pad isn't heating up as warmly as it used to.
I really can't think of anything else to say.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Submission or Obedience?

Mark 4:40,41 And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Trees falling and drivers with knitted brow trying to keep their cars in their lanes have marked the high winds of this afternoon. Giggles about messy hair echo through the hall during shift change. My silly dog seems to walk sideways with unnecessarily high steps.
As I put my keys into my back the chimes on our deck sound like gentle church bells, deceptively sweet in the powerful wind.
Mighty winds.
Mighty God.
Far from me is the idea that I should speak better words than the gospel. Abide with me for just a moment then. Because it is not the winds that obey my God today. It is He who directs the wind where it should blow; the submission of creation that dares not question. It is He who breathes the wind into existence.
It is only the prideful man who stops to consider obedience.
How much wiser the winds than I.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009


Spoke with Dean's sister today and his brother, Dennis, is hospitalized with cellulitis and possibly a stroke. Please be in prayer for him, he also has cancer of the liver.
A word of praise; Danny, who was severely burned a few months ago, has been transferred to a rehab. He still has a tracheotomy but is learning how to walk! The staff at the facility have nicknamed him Miracle Baby because they have never seen anyone survive the injuries he sustained. He is experiencing tremendous pain when he attempts to stand and they are working on finding out the cause so that he can continue with the work of walking on his own.
Thank you for your ongoing prayer for Danny and I thank you in advance for your intercession on behalf of Dennis.

My headache is not gone but! it's not as bad! Thank you Jesus. It felt so good to be back at work yesterday. Another reason for praise; the Mr. got notification on Saturday that he was laid off this week. Yesterday he was called back in starting today!
With some gentle loving not so gentle nudging from a very close work friend; I applied to the BSN program and will start school again in the Fall. Have been putting this off and less than excited about the whole thing although I realize that more education is never a mistake. Well, yesterday I got that sit-down conversation that only real friends will give you including a presentation of the research of which school seemed the best choice. Nothing left but to apply and no excuses were accepted so; there you have it!
Had my annual performance evaluation as well which I actually really look forward to. My boss scored me higher across the board than I had scored myself and my one "opportunity" for "growth" (HR mumbo jumbo talk!) was exactly the same item I have identified. And it was nice to be able to check DONE on last year's career goal of applying to an undergrad nursing program! Got that in right at the last moment!
Snow is rolling in so drive carefully and don't forget to intercede in prayer for those without enough food, a warm home or the basics needed for winter. And if you aren't one of those in need of that prayer; a moment of thanks as well.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Happy to say I'm going to work today! I'm feeling almost back to normal except for this horrific sinus headache that nothing is touching. Dayquil, Benadryl, Tylenol, Motrin and any combination therein only helps enough to let me fall asleep at night. Not to mention that enough of this junk starts to upset my stomach. Even my teeth hurt!
The Mr.'s folks seem to be settling in finally. His dad goes back to the doctor on Friday. Dean no longer feels that he has to go to their apartment every single day. He checks in by phone daily and stops in a few times to week and they are doing well.
This weekend was spent mostly at home for me. Still not feeling entirely well so I didn't want to push myself and end up with another sick week. I put some finishing touches on my Christmas decorations (although is it ever really finished?) We hung a few things on the walls that have needed a little something. I remember a while ago Miss Terry took us on a photo tour of her wall hangings, those personal touches really do make a house a home. I hung a wreath over our bed and put our freshly laundered red comforter (thank you Mom) back on. I usually don't use a dust ruffle but this weekend we flipped the mattress and added a green dust ruffle to match our pistachio green walls. I like it! We also picked up a $7 throw pillow from Garden Ridge in red, green and gold with an old fashioned reindeer on it. I've always thought the house in Home Alone was fabulous and I've convinced myself that the master bedroom had some subtle Christmas decorations. Maybe I made the whole thing up.
I dragged myself to the hair dresser Friday evening but haven't done my hair since trying to hold off the first washing to protect the new color but this morning I'm looking rather like a blond Heat Miser so it's a good thing that a shower is first on this morning's list!
What else can I tell you? I made peasant soup yesterday as well as corned beef slow cooked with red skins, carrots and onions. Yum! Nothing like Christmas decorations and a house filled with good oven scents to usher in the holiday spirit!
Well, that's it for me. Time to hop in the shower and tame this hair (which is literally standing straight up from me running my hands through it massaging my aching head.) Looking forward to getting back into the swing of things at work. On Friday I am venturing out to finish my Christmas shopping. In the meantime, I've entered that season of being very intentional in enjoying the sights, smells and sounds of Christmas and allowing this most sacred time to sweeten my spirit and to rediscover the child's heart of celebration.
Love & joy unto you!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our LORD: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

1. Worked yesterday; off today. Still not quite up to par.
2. This house is a hot mess; someone needs to clean it. Hello, my name is someone.
3. Mac is off hunting with my dad. He was baffled by the plan to hunt from a condo. "What are we gonna do, open up a window and point our guns at the woods?"
4. Bought a Holiday Berry scented refill for my Yankee Candle plug-in. Smells Christmasy!
5. Time on the couch gave me some time for quiet prayer; a good thing no matter the circumstance.
6. The Mr. headed for Kohl's at 6 Christmas shop. Better him than me!
7. Why does Donny have to lay his heavy hound head on my left arm while I'm typing?
8. Thinking of making a pot of peasant soup and some grilled cheese for dinner.
9. Also thinking of laying around on the couch some more.
10. The big plan for the day is to flip my mattress. Updates to follow.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

I have finally admitted it; I'm sick. Again! It seems like this has been a rough year for me in terms of sick days. I called in yesterday and today. Today it seems I feel a little better though. Yesterday I couldn't even finish my coffee! AND I cancelled my hair appointment! I'd like you to pray with me that I can go back to work tomorrow.
The Mr. put up our Christmas stuff so if one has to be stuck at home sick, it's rather a pretty place to recover. On my way home from work Monday I forced myself to stop in at the library despite feeling like some cooties were creeping up on me so I've a lovely stack of books to enjoy. Should I be honest I would tell you that yesterday I didn't even take a shower or get dressed! Yuck! Didn't make my bed, didn't put my dishes in the dishwasher; didn't do nothing but read and sleep! I think my mom came over to return a comforter she washed for me. Not sure.
But sheesh, even after my surgery I showered and made my bed every day! So I guess maybe I really am sick. I promise, however, to shower and put on clean pajamas today. Can't stand to be with myself at the moment! Afterward I can't promise much more than a book and a nap but it's a step in the right direction. I don't think it's the flu, feels more like an upper respiratory situation.
That's all the news from this end of town. I am about to pour a second cup of coffee and read a few more chapters then head for the shower. I'm taking baby steps, I'll shower but I don't see much blow drying and styling in the immediate future!
Take care, cover your cough and wash your hands!

Monday, November 30, 2009

My Grown Up Christmas List

No more lives torn apart, That wars would never start, And time would heal all hearts.
Everyone would have a friend, And right would always win, And love would never end.

I heard this song the other day, never paid much attention to it before. Can't say it's one of my favorites. It's on the same list as "Do They Know It's Christmas?" But that last phrase caught my attention..."love would never end." Seriously, can love end? We attach the word to too many things that are temporary so it seems that love, by association, can end. The romantics out there would like to say that true love never ends. So if it ends, it wasn't meant to be. I have a different notion.
The day that the Mr. informed me he no longer loved me, I was flat-out shocked. Panicked, speechless, terrified. I don't know what business I had being any of those things since I'd spent a good many discussions telling him how I could stop loving him at any given moment and walk away without a glance back. Imagine my surprise when he called my bluff, he'd learned that us not loving one another was an option he could live with. My assumption had been the very threat of it was going to keep him in line. So our love ended?
I've buried four grandparents in the last several years. I was close to each of them in a different way. Grandparents have that special kind of love, the love that you don't ever wonder about. You know, your parents are ruining your life, your siblings are your arch enemies, the teachers hate you, the kids at school don't like you, the cutest boys don't notice you. But your grandma and grandpa...they love you like crazy. None of my grandparents died following lengthy illnesses. It was all with a week or two to start to think about the fact that they were probably going to pass away soon and then they were gone. My Grampa Gerhardstein was first, had a heart attack and his second bypass from which he never recovered. My Grandpa Trent was next; another heart attack in his home. He died before the ambulance arrived. Gramma Gerhardstein looked like she had Alzheimer's but with much pushing from all of us her doctors discovered cancer throughout her body and she died a few weeks later. Grandma Trent went to the hospital with complaints of abdominal pain and was diagnosed almost accidentally with cancer. She was gone within several days. Each of their passings was difficult and yet; not so difficult. There's the mystery of love; a husband in the bed next to you whose love has ended and four people whose funerals you attended and their love survives.
Daboyz have certainly tested the theory of mother's love. From not wanting to even be pregnant to being certain I was entirely unqualified to be someones parent to being sure one more 2 a.m. feeding would send me around the bend to feeling burdened by the weight of children to just the general feeling of wanting to slap them in the head has found a new description. All of the negative residing within walls of devotion.
I love coffee, jeans, pajamas, my house, clean sheets, the smell of fresh cut grass, my fireplace, my truck, my job, my wedding ring, Christmas trees, weekends, Thanksgiving dinner, music, Donny, old photographs, reading, good hair days, Organza perfume, Gold Toe socks, e mails, the Hustle, laughing, etc.
I don't know which ones of the above would qualify as love that never ends. Parents hurt and abandon their children. Divorces happen. We seem to constantly love and then leave. Then again we also learn to love better in some cases.
The obvious is that the love of God is the only love that never ends. Even my love for him, should I be honest, has its moments of wax and wane.
Love, for me, is like the ocean. I can be miles away and entirely sure of it. I can stand on the shore and admire its beauty and never touch it. I can sail across it and walk away on the other side. I can swim in it and be fully immersed in the power of if, greater than that of myself. Surrendering to the ocean means being swept away in its current and sometimes being pulled into its undertow. It can be glorious and terrifying all at once. In its comparison, I become almost invisible in my smallness.
So much to learn about love it is no wonder that we look to elderly couples after sixty years together and crave their wisdom. I think it takes a lifetime of learning to know love.
No, love doesn't end. It is we who pull ourselves to shore and walk away looking for another place more beautiful.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Job 12:12-13

Is not wisdom found among the aged? Does not long life bring understanding? To God belong wisdom and power...

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I don't understand...

1. Shopping on Black Friday
2. Going to bed with a dirty kitchen
3. People who say, "you know how I feel" but won't say, "I love you."
4. Not drinking coffee
5. Why I overeat
6. Sleeping until noon
7. Christmas specials on DVD, doesn't that make them not special?
8. Having ungroomed nails (gross!)
9. Waiting until the light comes on to put gas in the car
10. People who don't like to read

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Forever on Thanksgiving DayThe heart will find the pathway home.
~Wilbur D. Nesbit

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let The Holidays Comence

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!
As far as I am concerned, we have entered the final 24 hour countdown to the official start of the holiday season. I love this time of year; and I'm all the more thankful in the remembering of years I didn't love the holidays. Years when we were a couple charading as happy, when I knew in September that we'd be choosing Christmas gifts over mortgage payments, when the dread of the bill collector's phone calls were like a giant wall preventing me from seeing any beauty in the season.
How divine is it, as in the birth of Divinity Himself, that such pain can be the seed of greater joy?
Part of that joy is, of course, the simple reality that the financially lean times are less lean now. But the greater portion is the growing up I've done and the peace in my spirit that increases every year not to mention the maturity of my marriage that has outgrown the arguments about money and presents. I have outgrown the propensity for a disappointing holiday season.
Two days ago I was driving home and noticed a neighbor down the block had Christmas lights up and shining, it was so exciting! I wanted to send them a thank you card for ushering in the celebration before us!
All is not perfect in my life (or my body or my bank account!) But all is well with my soul.

Monday, November 23, 2009


Regarding Adam Lambert; whose AMA performance I did not see live...please do not make this a matter of homosexuality and what might be perceived as my bigotry. Smut is smut. I don't want to see this behavior between two men, two women or any combination thereof. I am offended by the cheapening of the passion that was created by God to establish a relationship set apart from all others into a sideshow.
We have become accustomed to sharing that part of our lives that was once hidden. How then, do our children call sacred what we have called common?
No, it isn't that I am unable to acknowledge passion or sexuality. It isn't that I am embarrassed or ashamed of acts of intimacy. It is that you cannot scatter the ground with diamonds and think they will retain their value.
We have scattered the ground with sex and in the process, the value of love is destroyed.


I just got up and I feel like the day is going to be too short! Days off always are. I am finishing up my last load of laundry, need to run the vacuum and then to the Folks. Dean's back to work after a three week lay-off which is obviously GOOD news. But they need some housework done and a few groceries picked up. I am hoping that will only be a few hours so I can get a little bit of me stuff done this afternoon.
I have had a sinus headache since yesterday that I can't shake and my joints are achy. Yesterday I was freezing until I finally got into bed and so exhausted after work I zonked out on the couch. I am hoping this is just a combination of Michigan weather and work weariness because being sick is not acceptable. Both of the Mr.'s folks are sick, seems like head colds. No fevers and I'm praying that this isn't the start of the flu.
But anyway, isn't it a beautiful cold Autumn morning? I miss the Mr. after having him here for three weeks but then again, I remember how much I like quiet mornings with my cup of coffee and my thoughts. After talking to some people about caring for their parents, the challenge of blended families and just home life stress and disappointment; I am again reminded that having a peaceful home that is a place of respite is not to be taken for granted. There are many people who have no where to run when they need refreshing.
Time for a refill on my coffee. Then I'll fold my towels, vacuum my family room and get this day started.
Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Proverbs 10:25
As the whirlwind passeth, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


1. Jeans that fit.
2. A clean house.
3. Good hair days.
4. Thanksgiving Day & not working!
5. Going to the movies, eating too much popcorn and hiding for a few hours.
6. A dependable car.
7. Potlucks at work.
8. Sleeping well.
9. Christmas trees (mine goes up next Friday!)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Walk In The Snow

Inspired by a story I heard on the radio a few years ago during a snow storm. The teller was the now grown little boy...

There was a blizzard in the Metro Detroit area where a little boy lived with his family. Michigan blizzards are nothing to be sneezed at and this one was a whopper by comparison. Everything was closed; schools, businesses and government. The snow had fallen for hours and hours and was several feet high. Knowing there would be a snow day, the caller was happily snuggled into his childhood bed when shortly after midnight he awoke to hear his parents low voices in the kitchen.

The young man went downstairs and asked what they were doing. His mother was packing his father's lunchbox and pouring coffee into a large thermos. His father worked in a steel mill and knew he'd have to leave the house by 1:00 a.m. to make it through the snow for the start of his shift. He had called the man he carpooled with and they had agreed to meet a few blocks away and walk toward the nearest main street hoping that the bus was running. There was no way to dig out their cars and the snowplows were not expected for a few days.

And so the child's father left the house bundled up beyond recognition to begin his long walk to the bus stand. The little boy and his mom watched from the living room window until they couldn't see his dad for the blowing snow. Then they knelt at the couch to pray for he and his friend during their walk and to thank God for the job they were walking to.

The little boy went back to bed and the next morning he and his brothers enjoyed the promised snow day with their mother making cookies and planning a warm supper for their father with the surprise of cookies for dessert.

When his father walked through the front door at 7:00 p.m., he was later than his usual return from work at 4:00. They knew the roads were still covered and snow and so weren't really worried. When dad finally unwrapped his layers of coats and scarves and put away his empty lunch box and rinsed out his empty thermos, he told his family about his day.

He and his friend had walked for five hours to get to the bus stand just in time to catch the bus to their factory. Luckily, they had both had the foresight to take their snow shovels as they had to clear their path the entire way. When they arrived at the bus stand, it was silent and covered in mountains of snow. The main thoroughfare hadn't been cleared. There was no traffic. After standing there for half an hour with fingers crossed, they realized the bus wasn't running.

And so the man and his friend began second leg of the long and cold walk. Not back home, but to the steel mill. They walked for hours and hours clearing the path and stopping to share their thermos of coffee. They walked until almost lunch time but finally arrived to find the factory locked up and silent. The blizzard had even shut down the steel mill, something that had never happened before. The third part of the journey now began; back home the way they had come. The father told his family how this was a much easier walk because the blowing snow had settled and they had already cleared the path. They ate their lunches on the steps of the factory before they started back. They were grateful that they had both brought a thermos of coffee because they enjoyed the warmth of the second one as they walked home.

The little boy added the hours up and realized his father had spend sixteen hours walking for nothing. He said to his dad, "Boy, you must be mad! You should never have even gone to work today!"

The father looked at his family and gently corrected his son. "No, I was scheduled to work today and it was my job to be there. As it was, I would have been terribly late. What if the factory was running? What if I had not showed up and the men who had made their way in through the snow were sent home because of me? God was good enough to build that factory and give me a job to do there. I will be there to work. God will decide the rest. This was a good day. Now I must get to bed because I have to work tomorrow."

That story took place over forty years ago. Today the United States looks around in confusion and wonders what has happened to us.

I look around and see very few people who would've made that walk, myself included.

The answer is clear.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

One scone and a fabulous hat please...

I love this little girl, she seems to be having tea and perhaps a scone. If I knew where she was, I'd join her. Although she seems quite content with her snack and fabulous hat. I think we'd all be better off if we, on a regular basis, had tea and a scone while wearing a fabulous hat.

If you know me at all, you are well aware that I am generous with words and stingy with time. So there has been a lot of stretching lately with The Folks to care for and who require that time I so like to hoard. As for stretching, I invite you to envision me on a medieval rack. Since it's just the two of us here, I will even admit to only you that I do not want to stretch. I want to curl up with a book. I do not want to add two more people, I want to be alone. And I am pretty tired of hearing this from myself, "I'm Sara. SARA. Dean's wife. DEAN. Your son, Dean. DEAN. HIM. He is your son. I am married to Dean. SARA. Never mind."

What I have learned is not to be a martyr. Although how satisfying is it, really, to tell everyone (well, just via Facebook, my blog, in person, through e mails and by word of mouth) how much we have done. How haaaarrrrdd it is. How tiiirrreeeedddd I am. How frrruuuussttttrraaating.

Oh poor poor me. Oh, I forgot, I am not supposed to be a martyr.

People are so lovely, they encourage me and tell me what a good thing we're doing. They shake their heads and tell me they couldn't do it. Ahhh. I am such a....never mind.

See, the thing is that most of us are not really martyrs, we're just human beings who on occasion are called upon to act like such. Very few martyrs have cable.

Here's what I know; I am allowed to take care of myself. You know the old lesson; as the airplane is crashing put on your own oxygen mask? That's the trick. I am constantly discovering new ways to feed my spirit the fuel I need to do what I need to do. And I am only recently learning that it is not allowing myself some special luxury to care for myself and to draw boundaries. It's my responsibility to stay in balance so that I can do correctly whatever it is God instructs me to do. Without wailing about my misfortune or seeking out pats on the back; both of which are irritating when other people do it so might be equally so when I do.

I am taking days off from work to sleep in. I'm going to the library to keep a stack of books at bedside. I'm getting the occasional Starbuck's holiday latte. The Mr. and I are talking about what needs doing and planning to do it all without breaking ourselves into pieces. We are reserving time to pop popcorn and watch DVR. And we keep our dates even when it's just to both be home by 8:00 to relax together.

Sometimes it's being a little bad; my jeans are too tight. This is because I'm falling back on comfort food. I need to stop it but I don't need to hate myself. It's not ok but it's understandable.

Sometimes it's not doing. Not checking my e mail, not writing a blog, not posting on Facebook. Not doing more than needs doing and being smart enough to know the difference.

There are probably thousands of things that refresh and renew me. It's not spiritual or even smart to deny myself those things. It's my responsibility to minister to myself so that I can properly minister to others.

And sometimes, you just have to wear a fabulous hat and eat a scone.


I'm listening to an audio book called Light From Heaven. I ran across it in the library and it's part of a series of books by this author, one of those Rated G sweet kind of stories that just feed and quiet your spirit. In the book, Father Tim Kavanaugh has been given the position of reviving a church in the Appalachian Mountains that has been without a pastor for many years. His right hand in this endeavor is Agnes, an elderly deaconess who founded the church as a missionary many years ago with another young woman (now deceased) named Jessie.

Agnes is talking to Father Tim about the church's beginnings as they travel through the ridge visiting people to tell them that their church is finally going to re-open its doors. Jessie and Agnes came to the ridge as young missionaries to the poverty-stricken region. They built the school and the church with the locals as a place of community, worship and help. Agnes tells Father Tim that "Jessie always served people for God's sake. I served them for their own sake. It took me many years to learn her wisdom." Agnes came from Chicago to the poorest place in America drawn by her compassion for the people of the mountains. She dedicated her entire life to not only their spirits, but their physical and emotional health. But she learned that serving them from her own heart of compassion was not enough; because she too was flesh. Her ability to be continually humbled and continually available to be pulled from her bed into the freezing Appalachian winters to care for the sick had its limits. Jessie taught her that service for God's sake was without flaw; it can be done despite aches, pains, tiredness, anger and the realization that the recipient is not worthy. It can be done when doors are slammed and when there is no reason to believe that one's efforts are making an impact. It is a kind of blind service; I will do thus and so because I am commanded of God. No dependence then on human flesh to cooperate. There is nothing so remarkable about the person who is touched by anothers need who tries to help. God is truly in the midst of the ones who will admit to themselves, "I don't want to!" and do it anyway. Holiness is there when it is completed by obedience between Christ and his servant without announcing the whats and the whys to the world. And in fact, the glory of God can only shine on the one being served if the servant is all but invisible. Then will the poor and the sick look up in their moment of help and say, "God truly came."
Agnes learned that she spent far too much time telling her congregants that "God sent me." instead of Jessie's way of quiet service and then withdrawing to allow the Lord's to be the greatest presence.

Agnes tells that she and Jessie did the same work on these slightly different paths for many years. But only when her spirit saw the truth of service to God and not to man did she truly accomplish the work of God. Until then, she was doing the work of Agnes. Lovely and good and important though it was, it was for the Kingdom of Agnes.

Agnes teaches Father Tim that this was not sin in the early years, but simply a child growing up to do her Father's business. All the joy of the beginnings remained with the addition of glory when she finally understood what Jessie had always known.

Perhaps this seems no lesson at all to you; but it was like a sermon to me. I just thought I'd share it.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Homefront

Psalm 29:11 The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

Wow, has this blog gone lame or what? Sheesh! We are still not back to our old routine nor have we figured out our new routine! It seems like by the time I've worked, taken care of our house and tried to help with The Folks, I forget that blogs even exist. Plus I've not much of interest to say!

Mac left yesterday to go hunting with my dad. Dean and I spent all day at the new apartment trying to help sort through approximately 3,000 giant boxes and cram them into 500 square feet. No, it can't be done. And no, the Mil has not accepted the fact that one doesn't need 20 "good" water glasses and 20 "everyday" water glasses. She has a soup pot large enough to simmer a human being that fits no where and presently resides on top of the dryer. And where does one store 3 punch bowls in an efficiency apartment? And...why? Yesterday we spent a good amount of time trying to explain that it might be time to discard her "pretty statues." By this I mean actual statues, like in the zoo gardens! Apparently we need these.

The Fil is confused and worrisome. Can't relax or sleep with the noise of the apartment. It's not even a particularly noisy place but it's not a senior facility either so people come and go and talk and watch television late into the evening. The stairs to the second and third floor are at their door so all the foot traffic is clearly audible. His dementia makes him that much more fearful not understanding why there are people right outside their door. He also can't really understand that they do not own the entire building, gets frustrated that he's not allowed to look upstairs. He is forever trying door handles and playing with locks. Somehow two stove burners were turned on with a box sitting on the stove top causing a small fire. The Mil is not open to discussion about the dangers of the situation. Yesterday she told her sister they would be living there for about three years before moving to the senior apartments. This is disturbing to The Mr. who was planning to move them as soon as possible, less than six months for sure.

As for around here? I am doing home therapy! While everything else is kooky, I de-stress by keeping my surroundings organized and happy. This morning Dean awoke with a flat tire and so took my truck to church leaving me stranded (I am not going to spend six hours there like he does!) So I happily stayed behind to do a little housework, watch an old movie and light some candles. Did me good. Going to make kielbasa and sauerkraut for dinner and really don't plan on leaving the house until work in the morning.

I bought a bag of cinnamon pine cones at Bed, Bath & Beyond which smell WONDERFUL. Putting them in a basket on my kitchen table and daydreaming of holiday decorations and looking forward to Christmas carols which I will listen to starting the day after Thanksgiving.

Happily, at this point in our lives we have gained a little wisdom. We're trying to choose our battles; our ideas of a better life and The Folk's ideas have not yet found a compromise but we are taking it as it comes. We know to be good to one another instead of venting on one another. We're keeping things at home sweet and peaceful so we have a respite. Movies and popcorn on the couch after a long Saturday does a world of good.

So happy Sunday to you all! Please bear with me as I figure out this phase of life! Your prayers have been so appreciated and surely have sustained us when we could have despaired.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tonight the folks are spending the night in their new apartment for the first time! They are excited to begin this new part of their life and to no longer worry about a large house and yard to care for. Thanks to everyone for your thoughts, prayers and support during the past few weeks. They were looking forward to bologna sandwiches, Campbell's vegetable soup and sleeping in their own beds.
Dean's dad went for his first doctor's appointment today. After a lengthy examination, the doctor strongly suspects that Fil (father-in-law) does not have Alzheimer's type dementia but vascular dementia. An MRI will need to be done to confirm his theory. In other words, for two years Fil has been wrongly treated for a disease he doesn't have. Meanwhile the real disease has not been treated and therefore the damage done is permanent. The thought is that this dementia is the result of multiple mini-strokes, which makes sense. Two years ago Fil was still working when one day he did not return from lunch and was found in the parking lot confused and unable to tell anyone who he was. A month earlier he drove his car into a field and didn't know what happened except that he says he "saw stars." A year ago he went to visit Mil (mother-in-law) in the hospital (a building he had helped build) and he got lost. Prior to the incident two years ago; there was no Alzheimer's like symptoms. And since starting on Alzheimer's meds there has not only been no slowing down of the disease but a startlingly fast progression. Dean's dad was able to perform several tests successfully that a person with Alzheimer's should not be able to do, and yet he has deficits that do not match up.
Fil has also complained periodically of feeling "like everything is spinning." He gets panicky and weepy and disoriented. Probably more mini-strokes.
This is a frustrating thing to deal with because if it turns out to be correct, Fil has sustained a lot of preventable brain damage with multiple episodes that were never treated. Please pray for the wisdom of the doctors now treating him and that successful treatment will take place. He will have a complete medical work-up, physical and MRI. He'll be back at the doctor after these things are done in the first week of December.
Whew! As for us, the Mr. is off to practice and I think looking forward to a few hours with the band and away from his caretaking responsibilities. I've been sitting in front of the fire eating the stuffed cabbage my mom made us. Daboyz aren't home yet but will be any minute now. I'm going to do my Thursday night linen change on our bed and probably crawl right in with my latest Tamar Myer book, Assault & Pepper.
Working tomorrow and then the weekend!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Veteran's Day!

Of course, the most important thought today is to express my gratitude for those who have served their country which is really a fancy way of saying that they have made themselves servants of us all. Words are inadequate but my heart overflows with admiration for my dad and the rest of the men and women who have defended our freedom even when we in our homes didn't realize we were in harm's way. And some of us still don't.
Secondly,the folks signed a lease! The apartment is next door to the senior housing they had originally planned on. It's a two bedroom with handicap access. Not senior, so we'll need to step in and provide some help that they will have gotten in the first apartment. Also need to do some creative modifying to keep Dean's dad safe given his Alzheimer's.
Well, off to work today with a brand new opportunity to impact my world for God's glory!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The Best Laid Plans...

Oh my. The senior apartment complex that we've been planning on since May gave their final answer and the folks were declined. In other words, with belongings on the truck and no address they are "homeless." Disappointment is an under statement. As is worry.
In a scramble to find a safe and acceptable solution, we applied for a regular apartment that has handicap accessible facilities. The rent is comparable but of course, the services for their needs are nonexistent. This will present its own challenges as times goes on including that all of their needs will fall on us 100% whereas in the senior building, they would've have had enough assistance to maintain more independence (if that makes any sense.)
We are hoping to hear this morning whether they are accepted in this new building. If so, we'll pay the security deposit and hope to move in a week from tomorrow. In the meantime, they are staying with Dean's grandma. For now at least, she is enjoying their company and they are comfortable. If it starts to become a strain we will have to move them here to our house.
Dean made the executive decision not to cancel our anniversary trip to Marshall because there's nothing more for us to do but wait at this point. His cousin and our boys will keep an eye on the home front to be sure everybody continues to do well while we are gone. We'll be leaving this afternoon once we've done some errands, returned the moving truck and taken a few things over to the folks. We'll spend two nights away and return on Saturday.
So there we are. My head knows that God's plans are beyond our own but my heart is trying to catch up. I am sure that once they are moved into this new place and we can start to establish a routine we will all feel great relief. I am so glad that my God is big enough for me to whine, cry, act less than mature and even question him.
Because I know we are surrounded by praying believers, I do know that God has ordained this turn of events. And I do thank him for his love that stops and redirects us even when it's against our will and our own judgement.
Next week I go back to work but the Mr. is laid off and will be continuing the business of Michigan identification, opening bank accounts, doctor's appointments and the like.
Thank you for your support and love. As for us, we need a break! See you on Saturday!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Christ Revealed

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. 2 Corinthians 4:8-10

This verse, on Kelly's face book today, just knocked my spirit back into place. Can we talk? I'm having a hard time this week. We all are. Dean's poor parents are the ones at the center of what is fast becoming an intolerable situation and I feel so badly for them. I want to kick someone on their behalf but the Mr. says I must behave, which does not come naturally.
Speaking of the Mr., my heart is breaking for him. He is stuck between two households. How to make moment by moment decisions that are best for everyone? His mom and dad are staying with his grandmother for the moment. And for the moment, that's somewhat ok. I mean, they need their apartment but grandma is enjoying the visit and it's familiar enough to Dean's dad to help ease his anxiety. But it's Wednesday of the week that should've begun with a move-in on Monday. As of today we are being charged $100 per day for the moving truck that we can't unload. And as of tomorrow, Dean and I were supposed to be on our anniversary trip.
And as of an hour ago, I was good and fed up and still not allowed to kick anyone.
But we will not be abandoned by God. We are perplexed but I refuse to despair. I almost went there. But just in time God posted on Facebook.
We can do this because He will do all that he has promised and beyond what we could imagine to ask for.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


OK, so here we are on Tuesday evening and still no lease. The information was finally submitted and accepted from the eligibility standpoint however, now it sits in the office of corporate compliance to confirm that all the documentation is correct and adequate.
And apparently the office of corporate compliance works within a time frame all its own. Seriously, this is where I need to work because there is obviously no need to feel under stress to get things done by any particular time, day or even week.
Needless to say, we are trying to keep a positive attitude but discouragement is hard to avoid. The folks are staying at The Mr.'s grandmother's house. She has an extra bed and the familiar surroundings seem to be better for Dean's dad than over here at our house. Of course, this also spreads the strain to her 90 year old self as well.
Dean's dad has been doing pretty good at keeping straight exactly what is happening and what the plan is but with every passing day of feeling "homeless" and worrying about where their belongings are, he is showing a little more wear and tear. The mom is very tired and of course, when a person has medical problems they always seem to get a bit worse when dealing with stress. They really just need to be able to lay down on their own beds in their new home and feel like the journey is over.
Please, please continue to pray and believe with us that on Wednesday morning, we will get the call to come and sign that lease.
On a selfish note, Dean and I were planning on a late anniversary trip on Thursday and Friday after settling the folks in. If this move does not get settled we will obviously not be going away. I am back to work on Monday and it seems our long week to get everything done is being chewed up with waiting.
Thanks in advance for your love and prayers. I am hoping that my next post is to announce that Mr. and Mrs. Smith have a new Michigan address!

P.S. A big thank on behalf of the entire household over here to my mom for supplying us with a pot of chilli. A homemade meal not made by me was MUCH needed! Love you!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Jesus take the wheel!

Well everything actually did not go.
We got a phone call this morning that the paperwork for the lease was not quite going through right and that we should wait a bit before coming in to sign it. Dean and I decided that was not acceptable so we drove to the apartment complex to try to light a fire under the manager. They submitted the original paperwork and then did not update it when there was a change so now the folks are not qualifying for this senior housing as they originally thought they would. We are pretty frustrated because we checked, double-checked and called constantly to make sure everything was ok.
The Mr. & I spent the entire day running from the apartment to the bank to Great Grandma's house and then hauling the folks all over to try to start this six month process over from scratch and try to push it through in a matter of hours. Dean's poor dad has no idea what's happening only that he's moved away and now doesn't have a house to live in.
At 2:00 p.m. the lease still was not approved. I informed the management that we have moved two elderly disabled people 700 miles and have everything they own in a moving truck in front of our house. This is not ok.
So tonight the folks are sleeping again at Great Grandma's house. The manager of the apartment building is working diligently and we are hoping to hear good news by 11:00 tomorrow morning.
Needless to say there is frustration and worry all around. We trust in the Lord and know he has plans to give us good things but we need some info! Ha ha!
Please pray with us. Right now these poor people don't have a home or even an address to forward their mail, open a bank account or transfer their medical insurance.

UPDATE: As of 3:00 on Tuesday afternoon, we have made no progress. If the moving truck is not returned at 9:00 tomorrow morning, additional fees will start to accumulate on that as well. Feeling discouraged.


Hi everybody!
First of all, I cannot say enough to you of my gratitude for your prayer coverage over the last three days. God's hand was on us and his spirit surrounded us continually. There is such perfect peace is knowing that there are people in our lives who hear the call for intercession and are faithful to stand before God on our behalf. That was the greatest reassurance from beginning to end of the last weekend; that we knew you were there talking to Jesus.
The trip down on Friday seemed to go quickly, our hotel was great and we enjoyed a relaxing evening with Mac and Paul. On Saturday we headed to the folks' place to load up. Everything was not as organized and ready as we had hoped but peace prevailed and not a single complaint was heard. We dealt with the job before us with humor and support for one another and throughout the day you could say moments of hugs, pats on the back and winks exchanged to ease the tension and difficulty. The house was loaded onto the Penske truck in about three hours (a miracle!) allowing Mac and Paul to head back to Michigan and sleep in their own beds, albeit arriving at 3 a.m. on Sunday! Praise God for safe travel!
On Sunday morning we were ready to hit the road with the folks at 5 a.m. to find my m-i-l crying and moaning in pain. She has a bad hip and arthritis along with a host of other medical and physical problems. By the time we were in the truck she was nearly beside herself with pain and the possibility of a 12 hour car trip to Michigan was out of the question. She said, "I don't think I can do it." and I thought, what's the option? You have no furniture in Alabama! So when you're out of options there's no choice but Jesus, right? Lol. I had purchased heat wraps for Dean's back predicting soreness after the car rides and moving but he hadn't needed them so I had a brand new package in my purse which I applied to the m-i-l's lower back despite her insistence that nothing would help. Then noticing she was headed into a panic about the pain and the trip ahead, I gave her a Benadryl for its sedating effects. Finally although she insisted it never helped, I convinced her to take 6oo mg of Motrin. With much tears and crying out in the backseat, we pulled onto the freeway with Dean & I holding hands and praying in the front seat. A half hour later she mentioned between gasps that she was having moments of relief. An hour later, she was fast asleep and snoring! Hallelujah! Although her pain never disappeared completely, she said it ranged from like it is on a normal day to almost gone! In fact, she slept more than half of the journey home.
Dean's dad has lost some ground since May. He is starting to lose physical coordination now and his thought process is more muddled. He appeared to be in desperate shape on Saturday. But he slept like a rock through the night in a strange hotel room and walk up calm and ready to go to Michigan! Usually when Dean's mom becomes upset with pain or problems, his dad can't cope and starts crying and panicking. He was the picture of serenity on Sunday morning, comforting his wife quietly without ever losing his sense of peace.
We made it to Michigan at about 4 p.m. yesterday and dropped the folks at Dean's grandmother's for the evening. We had a good night's sleep in our own bed and are leaving in a moment to take them to sign the lease on their new apartment.
A few more days of unpacking and settling and we are hoping to sneak away overnight for a belated anniversary treat.
Again, thanks for your love and support and keep it up!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

heading back!

hey all,
it's 4:30 a.m. in alabama and we will be on the road for the 12 hour trip home with the folks in about half an hour. mac and dean's cousin, paul, drove straight through last night with the moving truck and made it home safely at about 3:30 a.m. thank you for your prayers on their behalf. i imagine those guys will sleep today away!
dean's dad is significantly worse than when we last saw them in may. for some reason, his doctor stopped one of his medications a month ago; refused to give a refill to last him through to moving here. now in addition to his cognitive struggles (which are worse), he has lost some motor function. he's stumbling and having difficulty feeding himself. he's paranoid and terribly anxious. with Alzheimer's disease the function lost is lost forever so even restarting his medications may not gain us a lot of ground back.
this morning they are ok. please continue to cover us in prayer, we have felt God's hand with us keeping us safe and helping us to get things done in a timely way and to stay on a good schedule despite some disorganization and difficulty.
we will keep you updated and if don't hear otherwise, assume we made it safely to michigan this evening. the folks will spend tonight with dean's grandmother and tomorrow morning we'll ask for your prayer again as they sign the lease to their new apartment and with the help of some wonderful guys...marty, chad and mac; we'll move them in. pray that the paperwork goes easily as the apartment complex office manager is pretty disorganized herself, that the physical move-in is easy and without injury and of course that the folks settle peacefully and happily into their new home.

love to all of you and words cannot express our gratitude for your generosity in covering us with prayer.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Sara and gang have arrived safely in Alabama...thank you all for your prayers for safe travel!


And away we go!

Good morning! Not sure what time it is as you're reading this but we hit the road for Alabama at 5:00 a.m.! Please pray for safe travel and for God's favor. We will arrive in Alabama this evening, spend Saturday packing and head home on Sunday.
The Mr.'s wonderful cousin, Paul, is going with us as is Mac to help with the heavy lifting as well as to drive the moving truck back so that Dean and I can travel together with his mom and dad. The folks will spend Sunday night at his grandma's and sign the lease to their new senior apartment on Monday. Please also pray that everything goes smoothly and that all the paperwork is in place so that we can move them right in and get them peacefully settled.
I'll text my mom and T so if there's anything exciting happening, I'm sure they'll update y'all. Ha!
Love you guys and talk at ya soon!
Gensis 12:9 And Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

HERE i am

There lives within me this tug-of-thoughts. A feeling of always being busy and yet never getting very much done. It's an unrest of the spirit. I've been frustrated with this current bout of unwellness that has me at home instead of work, tempted to kick the walls to vent my aggravation at my body. But we just painted so....I decided to complain to God. Actually God eavesdropped on my inner monologue. I sometimes forget that thinking it is the same as saying it where He's concerned. So there I was, doggone it I can't be sick right now! I have to go to work, I'm taking an entire week off! What will they think of me! Who will get everything in order so I can be off? What about the people that have to cover for me? This is so unfair to them!

Then God, eavesdropping and then adding his two cents says this to me, "Wow, you're really arrogant."


I am not arrogant! Again inside my head, where the Lord is not shy about poking around it seems.

The long and short of it is, that apparently (according to the Lord), the people at work are not in a state of panic because I am not there. His theory (and He claims to know this for a fact), is that they don't even talk about me beyond the morning meeting when they mention I'm out sick. I was going to pull up my work e mail as evidence that I am very very needed at work but unfortunately, there must be some kind of technical glitch, because there wasn't a single message in my inbox stating that I had to hurry back. In fact, the only e mails that showed up advised me to take it easy and come back whenever I was feeling better. Huh. Weird.

Realizing that God was going to poke around in my head invited or not, I decided to switch gears and change myself from thinking to praying and tell Him that I had a job to do. Wanting to go in to work was right and honorable.

The Holy Spirit gently chastised me. "No, you do not have a job to do. I have a job for you to do."

How easily and often I forget that I am not my own. And that what I do is not of my own strength. And that all is God's; the cattle on a thousand hills, the patients and staff at every hospital, the husband and sons and home that I care for and the two people in Alabama waiting for us to come get them. All God's business to conduct.

As I have prepared lists and agendas and schedules and plans I now realize, I did not include preparing myself. I have spent much more time in the choreography of things than in the training of my spirit. I am ordained by God at every moment to be here or there. Too often I am distracted by there and not enough here. I'm going to work on that. My job for today is to let Christ work in me through the quietness of my body and my mind.

And I think maybe, just maybe, someone else can be there for the day.

Psalm 50:10-11For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.