Monday, August 21, 2006

Getting it Done Part II

Well, I entitled my last blog "Getting It Done." Well, I never got it done becauses I never got around to why I tiltled it as such. I was too busy trying to figure how to download pictures. But we spent the other half of that weekend landscaping and making our yard beautiful. I will try and download pictures.

Here is Chloe helping us to water the plants in the hosta ring. I put some black-eyed suzans in the middle.

Here is the hosta ring completed.

This is the front before we mulched it. I don't think I have a picture since we mulched it and finished planting. I will get on that tomorrow.

But here's one that has some of the plants with red mulch.

And here's one that is simply cute! Love that sleepy face!

What an angel! I need to count my blessings--she is definitely one of them.

Anyway, those are just a couple projects that have been nearly completed since Nick has been on second shift. It has been a real treat and it is exciting to see how God really does care about our happiness. Nick was nearly at the end of his rope working on third shift. It was hard for him both physically and mentally to work all night only to come home and get three or four hours of sleep. It would be hard for anyone really. But we prayed about it. A couple good friends prayed, and the girls and I prayed. Then one night, when Nick was almost at the end of his rope he called home and told me that he was going to be able to work second shift for five or six weeks while he filled for a man that just had knee surgery. It wasn't permanent but it was a much needed break--and were we ever excited and thankful!

Well, we are going on six weeks this week. We have still been praying. Over the weekend, Nick was told that he could have second shift for good if he wanted it. Of course he didn't even have to think about it. He wants it. God cares about Nick. He cares about whether he is happy. He cares about us all. Even me. Undeserving me. How great is our God? Thank you, God, for your never ending, goodness.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Getting it Done

We have spent the last few days having lots of fun and being productive--even the productive part was fun! The weather was gorgeous on Satruday--not too hot and certainly not as humid as it has been recently. We spent most of the day outside trying to decide what we should do. By 4:0pm we decided to go to Presque Isle and go grocery shopping after. We got there just in time to let the girls play while we caught a few rays. We chose a spot that appeared to be clean, put our blanket down, and let the girls go at it. Just as Nick and I were thinking that we could really enjoy this, Chloe frantically announced to us that she had to go to the bathroom. That's even worse than getting all the winter gear on--the gloves, the hats, the snowsuits, and boots--and making the famous bathroom announcement. LOL. That's ok. We took care of that and then enjoyed the rest of our trip--at least until Danielle informed us that she didn't bring her clothes. Fortunately, I brought an extra outfit and we are not too far off in size. Fun! Fun! Fun!

I will try and post a picture. I really liked this one--perhaps it's just because I like Chloe's fat little pudgies, or maybe its the way the water is just about to rush over them. It just looks neat. I can't believe how long it takes to upload pictures! Surely there is an easier way... Hmm... Well, maybe I won't be posting as many as I was hoping to tonight. Tomorrow, I had better ask my blogging friend if there is a more time efficient way of doing this.

Well, "tomorrow" has now become "today." I have had a difficult time with this picture postijng thing. Still optimistic... Yes! Mission accomplished. Here are a couple others that I liked.

Danielle, Chloe and Nick playing in the water. Chloe was afraid to be down in the water by herself so Nick and I had to carry her the whole time we were in there. The water was so clean and clear.

Here is another one of Chloe and Danielle that I liked quite a bit. In light of my picture posting struggles, I am closing for tonight. Believe me, this has taken two days. But I have learned a lot and next time the experience will go much smoother. Right? And I will ask my blogger friend (That's you, Bets!) why my text is blue and underlined!!!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Forget the Chores!

This evening as I sit down to blog, I have that nagging feeling that you get at the end of the day when you do not accomplish all that you wanted for that day. I could have but I guess essentially, I chose not to. Exactly how does the day slip away anyway? After all, I got up early this morning and felt ambitious right from the start. But it seems that I must walk around in circles. By the time I got myself and Chloe dressed and ready for the day, and my bed made, it was already time to make lunch. And lunch seems to take forever. I prepare for four children and my husband. Plus, I have to make an extra meal for him to take to work. And of course, that meal should be at least somewhat different than noon time lunch. So that means extra preparation and cutting and cleaning up. Don't get me wrong, I am not whining, but if I could just add an extra couple hours to my day that sure would be great.

After lunch I still had laundry, and mopping, and vacuuming to do, calls to make, and those darned ceiling fans that have been begging for a dusting for two weeks now. None of it got done! But I decided to take the children swimming at my dear friend Betsy's house. Double bonus! The children and I get a brief reprieve from the heat, and I get to visit with a great lady--who, by the way, just got back from Europe!

We got home late afternoon and while Chloe was sleeping, I went for a run. I didn't really feel like it, but I have committed myself to running and getting in shape, so I went anyway. I had a great workout! Again, I ignored my chores.... But summer will be coming to an end before we know it and it is better to enjoy life while we can. I once read a poem that asked, " One hundred years from now, who will remember that your dishes did not get done?" Live life! Love it! Love your family and friends--and sometimes it is ok to forget the chores!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Crazy Summer Days

Ninety degrees and rising! It is sooo hot outside. The children have been outside spraying each other with squirt guns and the hose trying to stay cool. They love it and to be honest, I enjoy watching them--even though in the back of my mind I am thinking about the expensive water bill that will result. Oh well. It's worth a few extra dollars for them to have fun. And what's money anyway?

Well, once again it has been a while since I have written, and once again much has happened. This year has been filled with sadness and we were not left out from the "sadness" category. Nick and I had been trying to conceive since last fall. We were not trying real hard, and we figured it would just happen when God felt the time was right. In the early weeks of May we learned that we were expecting and were we excited! I felt scared and apprehensive because my postpartum period was so difficult with Chloe, but I put all my faith in the Lord and just knew it would be fine. After all, He knows what He is doing and I figured He felt I was ready.

The pregnancy was uneventful. I had no morning sickness at all, and practically no fatigue--at least compared to what I had with Danielle and Chloe. I felt great! At about nine weeks of pregnancy , my doctor wanted to date the pregnancy just to make sure of the due date. She ordered an ultrasound. Nick was unable to go with me becuase he had to pick his cousin up at the airport. I wasn't concerned at all because I figured it would be fun to take Danielle. Plus we still had the 20 week sonogram to look forward to.

Imagine my shock when we could find no heartbeat. All my excitement and hope for the future was gone in just one instant. It was horrible. I then had to wait ten days to repeat the sonogram. Doctors told me that it was still possible that the fetus was still alive although the chances were not good. For a week I lived on hope, after that reality set in. Ten days after the sonogram I had surgery to terminate the pregnancy.

These were difficult days, but I trust completely in the Lord. I know He has His reasons for everything. Obviously, there was something wrong with the baby. If nothing else, it was a great reminder of how strong I am and of what an outstanding husband I have. He was right there with me and for me the entire time. What a blessing! I have two healthy girls and I am thankful for them. Am I still sad? Yes. There's no question, but I find peace in the knowledge that God is good and He is in full control.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Time for Healing

Exactly three weeks ago a friend and neighbor came up missing. Last Thursday he was found along the bank of French Creek. It has been a very hard and confusing three weeks for everyone involved. I have found myself feeling deep sadness one moment, and anger another. I want to deny the whole thing happened and change the outcome for his wife and four small children. But I can't.

But peace can be found in the Lord and in all the blessings that He is sending her way. The community has helped so much. Friends that she did not even know she has have shown their concern in unbelievable ways. One man wants to finish all the renovations on her home and help her complete all the things that she and her husband had dreamed of doing.

Yesterday was the viewing, and today was the funeral. I could not go because there was nobody to watch Chloe so I sit here feeling very tired and depressed. I am thinking about my dear friend and feeling hopeful for spring. Today, the hardest part will be over for her, or is it really just beginning? I am not sure, only time will tell, but with this tragedy, there will be new beginnings. New friendships and a new way of life. I plan to be right there for her good days and bad.

Yesterday, I watched her children while she and her family went to the viewing. I had eight children all together--her four, my two, and the two that I watch every day after school. It really wasn't so bad. In fact I rather enjoyed it--until the end of the day that is. It was like something out of the movies!

Chloe is potty training and so is her daughter. Ironically, they both had to go poop at the same time. I put Chloe on the downstairs toilet, and her daughter upstairs. I guess I never thought about the fact that if you leave a two-year-old alone on the toilet to go poop, bad things can happen. Well, just as Chloe was finishing up I hear Nick out in the livingroom say, "Wow! You are dirty!" We just had pizza and Nick is colorblind. He did not realize what he was looking at. I had already cleaned the pizza sauce off of her after dinner and somehow his comment registered in my mind. I put two and two together and my worst fear was realized. She was covered in poop from head to toe. The streaks on her shirt told me she tried to use it as a towel to clean off her hands...and the bathroom...well, the bathroom. EWW!!!

So I tried flushing the toilet without a plunger handy--again, what was I thinking--and the water began to rise. I yelled for Danielle to get Nick and the plunger as I am scooping the toilet water out of the bowl to avoid a flood, but to no avail. Water everywhere! Nick went downstairs to help Chloe finish and she had poop all over that toilet. He came out of that bathroom to find water pouring out of the ceiling right on to our bed. (Of course, my little gal got poop all over the extra sheets, which I didn't realize until later). Didn't he then turn around to find a pile of puke on the floor from one of the other children. My! My! My! When it rains it really pours--toilet water sometimes!

Amazingly, through the midst of all the sadness, glimmers of hope and cheer can be found. Evidence that life does go on and a time for healing has come.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Finding My Writing Voice

Getting back into the business of writing is much more challenging than you would think. It sounds easy. Simply sit down at your computer, and type out your opinions or ideas and you've written something. Or do your research, find the facts, and write about whatever topic strikes your fancy and you have an article. Yes, that's great and all, but there's so much more to it than that and anyone who has ever sat down to write something--anything at all realizes that it is a craft. It is rewarding and exciting when the words and punctuation come together to form a beautifully written piece--even the topic athlete's foot can be interesting if written properly. But it isn't easy. Not a single part of it, from the simple act of sitting down to the new grammar and punctuation rules, to dealing with an overabundance of information and extreme competition in the world of writing. The idea of sitting down to write can be immobilizing.

I am immobilized. I think I need to read more "how to write" books, more great pieces of literature--I need to research more. I need to research my topic--whatever that is. I need to research how grammar has changed. The use of commas, spacing, other punctuation. All that seemed so simple in high school. College grammar was an easy "A". The rules were hard and fast. But now my understanding has changed. Grammar has changed. Times are changing. Still I am not writing. Who, what, where, why, when, and how. That hasn't changed has it?

My understanding on so many things seems so shallow. That's another block I have. I fear writing because I don't think I have anything worthwhile to say. I am not a deep thinker. Politics? What's that? Am I pitiful or what? But I am an emotional being. I have at least that going for me.

The other day I was reading about successful freelancers in my Writer's Market and Peter Bwerman, a commercial writer said, "...don't waste time looking for secrets. Instead, write." Good advise. Maybe I'll stop looking for the answers and do just that. I can look for the secrets in my "spare time."

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Home Sweet Home

What a nice day! I lit some candles so when the sunshine wasn't shining, I had my own! Plus, the candles smell wonderful. I dusted, and scrubbed the stove top, and began phase one of what I will call "Cupboard Overhaul." Today I worked on the tupperware does that get disorganized so quickly? We have only lived here since August!

All the other cupboards are just as bad--except, of course, the dishes cupboard that fell off the wall. That was rather funny--once we knew that Danielle was ok, that is. We have been working on home renovations since we moved in and recently Nick and a friend did some work that took away some of the cupboard stability. One evening, Danielle climbed up on the counter and used the cupboard to pull herself up so she could get a glass. She pulled the entire cupboard down off the wall--talk about brute strength! As a result, most of those dishes were broken. Well, that's ok, we didn't really like what we had. It was a great excuse to buy new. Anyway, all this to tell you about cleaning cupboards.

I worked my afternoon away and I enjoyed it. I figured that way I could work on something I enjoy this evening and not feel guilty about it.

When Nick came home we all hung out as a family. Danielle and Nick played pin ball, and I worked on my cross stitch project--ok so I tried my hand at a game, too. I want to finish my cross stitch so that I can begin crotcheting a blanket for Nick. I am excited about making him something for him to treasure. Of course, sometimes I wonder if these crafty projects are nothing more than an excuse not to write. Well, maybe, but somehow I am going to figure out how to do everything. Anyone have any ideas?

Right now Nick is making dinner. We didn't have a lot of food in the cupboards and he is always so good at making something out of nothing. Me? I'm good at making bread and other baked goodies.

Hmm...Something smells yummy. How blessed my life is. I am so happy to have a wonderful husband to make me dinner, and candles, and food to make my home smell like home. Home sweet home, that's where I am right now and I thank God for all of that.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

It's a Blogging Thing

Well, I've decided not to give up on this whole blogging thing. It really is fun, I enjoy it, and I am getting practice in as a writer. Plus, I can take a look back at my past when I am feeling nostalgic, or even if I just want to remember when certain event occurred.

Life is busy and that's my biggest excuse. It always is, you know. But from now on I will scold myself when I begin saying that. If I want to do something bad enought I should make the time. Hmm...if only I could do that literally. I'd be rich.

I took over the Worship and Production newsletter at my church this month. I have been editing and writing for it for several months now, but I am now in charge of the entire thing. I finished my first edition today. The deadline is always the first Thursday of every month. I had so much fun putting it together. It's very much like writing. You switch things here and tweak them there and before you know it you have a piece of art. It really is quite exciting and I am so thankful that I have an opportunity to serve God with my gifts in a way that is so fun and rewarding.

Today is the first day of March. I'm not sure if it came in like a lion or a lamb. It was sort of an in betweener--although we did have quite an ice storm. Several schools either closed or were on a delay. Not Cambridge though.

Well, I must go for the evening. I will try to make more time for this. I come and I go. Hey! It's a bloggin' thing, right?