Snow Day Number…

It is snowing out again. I guess two to four inches are expected overnight. That is fine, though, because it will melt quickly and we will be back to mudsville very soon. This morning it had not gotten yucky out yet, and I made it to the store for groceries. Then, when it was getting nasty, I headed downstairs to sort through clothes in storage, to see what we have for spring and what is still needed. In my mind I set aside the next few weekends to work on this project, but was overjoyed to get it all sorted today! We do have a lot less than we used to have, and that made a big difference. I really want to just have stored what we know we would wear, and when handmedowns come in, I have done a pretty good job of not even letting the nothankyous even get downstairs.

Oh, I can’t wait for warmer weather, now that I have seen some of the little girls’ darling tops and dresses. This weather does call for a mug of hot cocoa, so I guess it isn’t all bad.

Taking What We Can Get

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This morning during chores, it was really windy, so every time someone went outside with laundry or whatever for the basement (we have to go outside, then back inside, to go downstairs to our basement; this has blessed me way more than it has inconvenienced me and I could write a whole post about it), the screen door would fly open and hit the siding. So, I left it open. It was fifties out, very breezy, as already stated, and once both doors stood open, the little ones approached the opening like it was a doorway to another world. They giggled as they stuck their heads out, pulling them back in before the wind sucked them out completely. They seemed to be content to just stand in the doorway and look and look and look. Kenan crawled over, too, to see what all the fuss was about. I immediately thought of the part in the Ramona and Beezus movie when they knock out a wall of their house and Ramona imagines herself hang gliding out of it into the blue sky. Only our skies were gray, and threatening rain. But still. I love those moments where the kids just get to be kids, and wish I was able to put more of those memories down here before they are forgotten. One thing that will likely help me with that is the sheer volume of photographs my talented firstborn has been taking- as I browsed through her pictures, I thought of all the posts I could write just captioning the photos of the children. Christmas this year was a bit thin for her, but we did give her free rein of our camera with some rechargeable batteries (the camera is a power hog). This has proved to be a great gift- she has exploded with pictures of everything we have going on in our lives that is noteworthy. Even Adon’s terrible twos going on threes:

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In other news, I am loving this month’s book club selection- Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. I read it to the kids a few years ago, and recommended it for this year, and others must have voted for it, too, because it made it. The timing of it is perfect, as well. Last month we read a biography about Corrie ten Boom, that I was close to not reading aloud to the kids because the subject matter was so heavy. But we did end up reading it together, and actually getting into the whole WWII era- ration cards, battles fought, and of course the suffering of the Holocaust. So it has been a fresh breath for us to pick up Homer Price and read a lighthearted story about a fun-loving boy. Next chapter is about when Homer stands in at his uncle’s lunch counter that happens to have a donut machine. The machine goes a little crazy while Homer is at the helm, and hilarity ensues. We simply can’t read something like that without eating donuts, so if we get the snow forecast I will make donut muffins, if we don’t I will go get some Krispy Kremes.

Braces Again

I opened up the package of pork loin for dinner, and it smelled awful. Luke had Sam take it out to the corner of our property to hopefully draw a coyote near enough for Luke to shoot. I said, “I’m not too disappointed, really; I’m not allowed to have pork, with these things” (pointing to my mouth). Luke chuckled.

Yesterday I finally was able to go back to the jaw specialist to be fitted with appliances. I was told it would take at least two hours, so I asked my mom if I could bring the kids there while I was at the doctor. Having only a morning or afternoon choice and not wanting to hit Columbus evening traffic on the way home, I chose the morning appointment. This meant that I had to get us all up and out the door by 7:30 am! We were able to pull out of the driveway at 7:39, not bad for us. The trip to Columbus was blissfully uneventful, and I was able to use cruise control the whole way. We made it to my mom’s at 8:45; this and the smooth trip down I think were due to us praying before we left! I headed back out by myself up the same highways to the doctor, still enjoying no slowdowns at all. At one point I caught myself totally zoning out, which scared me a little. I mean, I do know the northwestern outerbelt like the back of my hand, but driving in city traffic is not the norm for me any more so I am always battling the newer, skittish fish-out-of-water feeling with the you’ve-done-this-a-million-times feeling. I don’t want to be too cocky or too careful when I drive.

On the drive, I went over in my head what I’d heard and understood this visit would entail. It had been two months since I had been for that initial visit, and from calls back and forth between the jaw specialist and my insurance company I had come to understand what the appliances would cost. As I drove, the thought occurred to me- these things are expensive! Maybe this will really be like getting braces again, and this visit is to have them installed! I also recalled them telling me I would have trouble talking with them in; tomorrow night would be TeamKID, and I had a 15 minute missions lesson prepared where I would have to talk, a lot! I’m not sure how well this plan was thought out! But, I concluded, I need this care, and it may as well happen now, since everything with insurance seems to have worked out.

I got to the doctor and the nurse began to work on fitting me with these pieces, one on top, one on bottom, that looked like the retainers I wore in high school after having braces. Only these were rough and rocky, for lack of a better term- thick and bulky. But the good news was they were not permanent fixtures. I would wear the bottom one during the day, and the top one at night. The goal of these appliances would be to move my jaw forward, creating space in the joint for healing and the muscles to strengthen.  This would happen if I was faithful to wear them all the time. No problem, I think, as long as I have the option of taking them out. Phew! The nurse also spoke about how this is a good next step for me, hopefully one that avoids surgery, which is invasive, expensive, and doesn’t have the best outcome all the time. This, she said, had a better success rate. We’ll see. This problem with my jaw is unique in that the slipped disk will never be the same after the injury to it; the hope is that I can return to as normal a functioning jaw as possible.

So, we are about one day into my new adventure in “braces”, and while the piece is not painful, its tightness against my teeth make me every few minutes fight the urge to pull out the appliance and pitch it in the trash. No, I will never do that willingly or knowingly, as expensive and important this piece is, but I do look forward to meal times when I can take it out. They told me I could eat with it in, but when I pretended to chew on it, it started bouncing all over the place and I worried I might break it or break a tooth if I tried that with food in my mouth! And as to how these pieces work, I can’t really be sure. The top one has a lip that comes down and keeps my bottom teeth forward while I sleep, but the bottom one looks like an unassuming retainer. The best guess I can come up with is that my tongue muscle is forcing the piece, and my teeth, forward. I already feel something going on, like when I go to put on lip balm or when I chew food. I have to go with soft foods for a while, which may get tricky at times, like tonight when we were supposed to have pork roast. Saved by the bad meat! Dinner will be Jep’s baked beans and Lisa’s mexican cornbread from Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Cookbook. Yum!

Love Language

In my Bible study this morning, I was challenged to define

‘…and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ Mark 12:30

Huh. You mean I am actually expected to obey this command, and therefore understand what each part of the command means? I never thought about that before. Once I did give it some thought this morning, I came up with this:

with all your heart- I thought about how He wants His word to be hidden in my heart, so that my heart can be one that is completely His (Ps. 119:11; 2 Chron. 16:9a)

with all your soul- maybe this has to do with living each day more for eternity than the day before, spending less time wrapped up in the temporal (2 Cor. 4:18)

with all your mind- here lies the battlefield; how willing am I to discipline my mind to where I am thinking on things that please the Lord? (Phil. 4:8)

with all your strength- I thought about how much guts it takes to be self-controlled. Our BSF leader was talking about how it is last in the fruits of the Spirit because it is the most difficult. I need to focus my energies on doing what I should rather than what I want (great 252 Basics definition!), more of the time. (Gal. 5:22-23; 1 Cor. 9:24-27;1 Timothy 4:7-8)

Wow, it is a tall order, loving God like this. But one that is attainable through Christ my righteousness and my strength. I had a good day trying it out, and it felt pretty good, like test driving a new car. I hope the smell God smelled was better than that new- car scent.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14

 

Spring Is Coming

The sun is shining, the fat robins are hopping about, and it really feels like spring. Too bad we are in for a snowstorm tonight. Still, getting to March feels like we have jumped the last hurdle and are headed for the straightaway in this long winter of ours. The extremes this year (cold, snowfall) have got me wanting to prepare better for next year in the little things: hats, gloves, and mittens; more good indoor activities, especially for the little ones; boots for myself. The major things we did not lack, like heat, shelter, food, coats, so I am grateful for that.
I just finished a biography of a woman who survived Auschwitz concentration camp. There were so many good thoughts one could take away from her story, but I’ll just share a few. At one point, she witnesses a whole orphanage of children being led to the gas chamber, and this upsets her so greatly that she prays to God to please just kill one SS guard right now, just have them drop dead, to give her a sense that He was aware of this horrible act and He wasn’t going to let it go unpunished. I don’t still have the book, it was interlibrary loan and I felt antsy about keeping it any longer, but I wish I would have copied the one sentence she said that, when I read it, immediately I thought to myself, no, He did not kill a guard that day, but He killed His own Son, and that Son bore every sin ever committed, even this slaughter of toddlers. Thank You, Jesus. Not one of us could have done what You did. Nor might we ever have thought of it, so steeped in sin and blind are we to our many faults.
I am hoping to have a really good Easter this year, to prepare my heart and be ready for new or more meaningful impressions of the cross, of the resurrection, of God’s heart for people. One thing I happened upon this week was OneStory, a ministry devoted to recording Bible stories in different languages for cultures and persons who are geared to oral learning as opposed to literary, or book learning. Or that culture does not yet have a Bible in their own tongue. I obtained the story set in English, it looks like a series to train someone to tell certain stories that bring out the truth of Jesus Christ from the Old Testament to the New. This particular set began with a story about David’s mighty men. The kids listened to this with me (the plan is to listen to one each day leading up to Easter), and then I asked them about the story. Why would this be an important part to include in the Gospel story? One thing I think of is for those cultures that are still very warlike, tribal, have clans, they might perk up at this story about a man with so many brave warriors who would give their lives for him, and some did. When Uriah was mentioned, I told the kids I got goosebumps. We have the benefit of knowing the whole story, but for now, David appreciated Uriah as a brave soldier and true friend.
I would also like to put together some Easter cards this year. What began as maybe just a few to our unsaved family members has grown to maybe distributing something up and down our road to invite them to church Easter Sunday. I may split up these two still, but am formulating ideas now. This morning I got on Etsy and almost immediately found a terrific idea for the cards- seed paper! You make homemade paper and when it is still pulp you stir in some flower seeds and voila! A work of art that can be planted in the ground and bloom! I got some stuff for frames, may start putting them together tonight and tomorrow if we are snowed in. The card on Etsy was a cutout seed paper cross on a white card- so simple yet so beautiful, too, the thought of all those crosses getting pushed under the soil and flowers coming up. I can’t wait. For the neighbors’ invitations I may make a jelly bean craft I saw on a lady’s blog- attached to a treat bag of jelly beans there is a card that talks about each color of jelly bean and its significance (purple is for the hour of sorrow, pink is for the new tomorrow). A bit lighter, but a way to share a treat with the neighbors that won’t require a lot of preparation or maintenance.
Yes, spring is in the air, full of promise. No snowstorm can thwart it now.