God Alone

Time flies too quickly by; I don’t ever feel a sense of accomplishment anymore. Already it is the middle of October, already time for our next book club meeting on Friday. We are nearing completion of this month’s book, called The Mysterious Benedict Society. Very good book.
I just finished Evidence Not Seen today. I cried at the end. Darlene Deibler was a missionary in the East Indies who was put in an Japanese internment camp during WWII. I may suggest it to our ladies at church; they might be interested in reading it some upcoming month for their book club.
I also just finished crocheting a newborn hat. No, not for a baby of mine. Some people are coming to our ‘International Worker’s Conference’ next week and the ladies are trying to manufacture some hats and booties to send with them. This is quite an accomplishment, as I almost never can finish any knitting or crocheting project I start. But, even this project hasn’t come to a close because I still have the booties to make to go with the hat. I went ahead and started another hat, though, feeling like I could do a better job on a second now that I had labored through the first. I had a couple of rows going, intending to put some work into it after the kids were in bed, and Luke and I watched ’42’ and I completely forgot about it! Must return to it tonight!
Our Bible lesson today was about God, and there was a demonstration that compared God and man. Here were some of the truths listed:
GOD-knows everything, man-needs to be taught
GOD-is everywhere all the time, man-can only be in one place at a time
GOD-is greater than all and more important than all; He is the highest authority,
man-should be under God’s authority and listen to everything God says

It was really neat listening to all of the things that make GOD unique. There is truly no one like Him! Also, it brings a peace to my heart that He is everywhere, there is no where where He is not there. Discovered a new passage that talks about that- Jeremiah 23:23-24.
I’m also comforted by His sovereignty. He has always been, and doesn’t depend on any man or any event to accomplish His will, though He can choose to use those as He wishes. It is wonderful to think that He is so great, so mighty, and so completely ‘other’. I was trying to share this very thing with a friend who is going through a hard time right now and feeling like God has left His post, but I don’t think my encouragements went over too well. I further told her I would pray for her, believing this is ultimately the best thing I can do under the circumstances.

And when my heart is overwhelmed
Lead me to the Rock that is higher than I
Oh so higher than I

The Dream

It was one of those mornings where I was only too happy to get up and out of bed; that meant the events I had just experienced were only a dream. I might go so far as to call it a nightmare…
I was alone at the beach, seemingly on a vacation. As I settled in to my hotel room, I realized I left Kenan at home. (I must have planned to bring him, since he was still nursing.) No matter, I thought, he can take bottles and I have a lot of milk frozen at home. As I went out and about, trying to enjoy myself, I further realized that I had left my phone at home, so that Luke or anyone else would be unable to contact me that way. When I got back to my hotel, the person at the front desk handed me what looked like our library receipts, line upon line of phone messages she had taken from callers for me, most likely Luke and whoever was taking care of Kenan. At that moment, too, I realized I didn’t bring my pump, and to purchase one here would be outrageously expensive. These feelings of helplessness, loneliness, and stupidity washed over me like the waves outside the hotel. How would I ever be able to enjoy this place?
I woke up full, maternally speaking and emotionally, pondering this dream. We are planning a trip to Nashville soon, just Luke, Kenan, and me, and the circumstances of this are similar to what should have been in my dream. Only in my dream I was alone. It was as if I was in a wonderful place but couldn’t enjoy it because two very important and vital people were not there, and I was cut off from connecting with them.
I got to thinking about lost people, how no matter the beauty surrounding them right now they ultimately are cut off from any real connection with anything that matters, with people, with God. This is the second such ‘vision’ I have had lately that has helped me see lost people from a better perspective.
The first was a heavy thought- what is it like to be lost? If you knew you were lost, you wouldn’t leave your house in the morning, maybe not even your bed, for fear you might meet your death in a random accident. What is it like to be you?
This dream is similar, in that it carries such a heaviness, such a burden. Ephesians 2:12- “You lived in this world without God and without hope.”
Makes me want to do more to share the Good News with those around me.

Folding, Food, Fellowship

Just changed the laundry, and set a timer for ninety minutes. If I do this one simple thing, it is a wonder how much more laundry I get done in a day! Of course, there is the mountain of clean clothes surrounding me right now, needing folded. The train seems always to stop somewhere short of its destination around here. The folding WILL get done this time, however, along with every other undone thing in the front of the house- we have company coming. Yesterday was Aliyah’s 13th birthday, and she wanted to have the grandparents over to celebrate. Earlier this year I started asking her if she wanted to have/do something special for this birthday, like a bat mitzvah or ‘celebrating womanhood’ tea or something, and she decided she didn’t. I can’t say I am not relieved. If she would have wanted something big, we would have had to repeat it in similarity four more times. I can’t fathom what ten weddings are going to look like. Don’t even ask me.
Yesterday when we got home from Bright Lights, I put some spaghetti sauce on to simmer. When Luke got home, he was carrying groceries, among them a pail of ice cream. He suggested we have pizza and save the spaghetti for tonight, when the grandparents come over. This would have worked out better if he ordered the pizza, because I wound up ordering the wrong thing and we paid a lot for my mistake. Sometimes I wish I could be something other than Luke’s ‘yes man’. If I would have removed myself from the situation and made him order the pizza, or better yet, said we were going to have spaghetti and that’s that…but no. Oh, well. Spaghetti sauce is always better the next day, anyway. And, this is chic- I only have two pounds of spaghetti noodles, so I will pop in a box of penne to boil, too, and it will be even more like Olive Garden here tonight! Voila!
I am reading a series of missionary stories currently, and the one I just finished was about a couple in New Guinea who were interned by the Japanese during WWII. It was a very sad book. On Sunday, my friend Dolores from church gave me a couple of books to read- one was about a lady who had an unplanned pregnancy and the other was called Dorie: The Girl Nobody Wanted. The first book I read and could see why Dolores recommended it so highly; Dolores ministers at our local crisis pregnancy center, and life topics are near and dear to her. But the other book I started reading, and almost couldn’t continue, it was so heart wrenching. Honestly, between screwing up the pizza order and reading about this poor orphan girl that only ever asked for someone to love her and only got beatings instead, I was one depressed person last night. I had to put on some Chris Tomlin and sing along to be roused out of my mood.
I did pick it up again, today. It is getting better! The interesting thing is that Doris has just heard a missionary speak, one of the ones interned with the couple I just read the missionary book about! What are the odds, really, of just having read about Darlene Deibler in one book, only to pick up another and read about her there, too! Extraordinary!

“I’m Sorry, That Just Ain’t Right”

These words were uttered by my husband tonight after we got home from the fair.

Here’s the back story. Last year, Aliyah planted some sunflowers in our garden, and entered one or two, can’t remember, in the fair. She won a ribbon, and a check for $2 that I still have because she does not have a bank account yet and it was easier to pay her the dinero than ‘cosign’ the back of the check. This was her first experience entering something in the fair, and it wasn’t without its drama- the flowers have to be in a water bottle, and we didn’t have one, so that was us pulling up to the BP right beforehand to buy a bottle of water. Good thing it was only .99.

Fast forward to this year- We didn’t have much of a garden. Luke bought some tomatoes and peppers and lettuce, but we let the weeds take over and most of it was lost. I forgot to even buy sunflower seeds, and Aliyah took this bravely. There’s always next year.

Then, long about the first of the month, a few sprouts come up among the weedy garden that look an awful lot like sunflowers. We joked among ourselves that if they bloomed in time, we could still make the fair. The first one, the biggest and nicest looking bloom, came out last week, and its head began to droop on Tuesday. Oh, well, we thought, let’s see what the others do. And they bloomed! Just in time! The only problem with them was they both were really small, more like daisies than sunflowers. If we didn’t know they were sunflowers, it would be hard to tell.

Still, off we went to Bellville Thursday afternoon, with the daisies in tow. We had managed to find one old water bottle in the van, and on the way Aliyah noticed it might be leaking, so that was us pulling up the the BP again, purchasing two bottles of water this time for these floral entries.

All weekend we have been conjecturing the odds of Aliyah pulling out a win on one of these flowers. It would make a person almost feel guilty to accept prize money for something she did nothing to create. But only almost, as she owes me $2 for the bottles of water.

We returned tonight to see if she had indeed won. I was at the back of our entourage so I missed the look on Luke’s face when they got to Aliyah’s flowers and he saw the first place ribbon under its water bottle. Wow!

Great year at the Bellville Street Fair. Next year we’re going to pick flowers out of the ditches on the way there and sweep up some ribbons.


Losing And Winning


Home from the fair. I’m waiting for a laundry load to finish, so it is time to put my feet up with some hot cocoa. We had a great night walking around and taking in the Bellville Street Fair, aka World’s Fair.
We were able to park pretty close to the action, and walked in where the rides and food vendors began. It is funny how I operate now as a mom; the first thing I thought of when we stepped onto the ‘midway’ was “since we are so close to the restrooms, let’s go!” And we did. Then, we walked through the Merchant Tent. One of the first booths was Aliyah’s friend Sophie, who with her family’s help has developed a paracord survivor bracelet business- too cute. They are calling their company SoLo, the first two letters of her and her sister’s names. Luke joked that Aliyah would be across from her in the merchant tent next year, underselling her wares with her AlSa business. Sounds like a cross between Amway and Avon.
Back at the animal tents I noticed a kid toss something on the ground that looked like a carrot, or a small knobby sweet potato. When we walked by a bit later, I realized the object was one of those models of a human fetus that RPS, our local crisis pregnancy center, was sharing at their table. I couldn’t let the little guy stay there on the ground, so I returned it to the RPS table. I tried not to spend too much time in thought about what happened or condemn the children who threw it; no need to ‘read into’ their actions like it meant more than just kids being kids.
Coming out of the animal tents, I realized Kenan had lost his binky. I decided to retrace my steps, hoping to find it as I didn’t know where the other one was at home. And, hoping I wouldn’t find it in a pile of manure.
I walked all the way back to where we had been talking with Sadie, Sophie’s mom, in the merchant tent, and there it was! I was really glad to find it on relatively ‘clean’ pavement!
We walked down to hear the high school marching band, only to show up just as they were breaking ranks and going home. Oh, well. Looking forward to tomorrow’s main stage event- The Buckeye Country Cloggers! We have video of the kids dancing along with them last year. Such fun.
While there we run into a lot of people we know from church, and when we saw one couple, we stopped for a while to talk to them. We were standing next to the kiddie carousel, and some of the kids were watching the kids ride and asking if they could go. I could easily answer, “we aren’t going to ride any rides tonight” but that really meant “we aren’t going to ride any rides any night” since Luke thinks it is creepy how all these rides fold up to trailer size and get carted away from these fairs. And, I guess someone just died on a fair ride. Not happening to us.
From the carousel we continued on to the fire house, where Aliyah’s sunflower entries were. There were many cute vegetable and flower entries, and we moseyed up and down the two aisles. As we crossed the midway to head to the library, Luke noticed Caleb, age 6, wasn’t with us. What a gripping fear that was- it was not the most crowded night of the fair being only Wednesday, but still in that moment I looked around me thinking, so many people! Where could he be? I hurried to the fire house- no Caleb. Came back to tell Luke- he bolted back up the midway looking for him. I went back by the fire house, then down the midway. Came back to the kids, started the midway in the other direction, breathing my prayers, in and out, in and out. A couple of things came to mind:
-give him wisdom to know what to do
-surround him and protect him
As the kids and I started down the midway the second time, I glanced back to see Luke, hand in hand with Caleb. Such a beautiful sight! Luke herded us all into the alley, and explained how he found him. Seems Caleb stayed at the carousel, not noticing we had moved on to the fire house. He then circled the ride, looking for us, when a police officer must have noticed him and asked him if he was lost. The details are a little sketchy from here on because Caleb says ‘he forgets’ what was said, but apparently a man from our church, Abe, was also standing nearby and recognized Caleb. When Abe saw Luke looking for Caleb, he came running and led Luke back to Caleb and the officer. I’m totally making cookies tomorrow for Abe and the Bellville Police Department! I think it is interesting how the LORD answered both my prayers, before I even knew to pray them. We didn’t know he was lost until we’d left the fire house, and he would have been with the police officer long before then. Thank You, God!
Aliyah also entered three photos in the fair, and two of them won ribbons. When I saw that one of the winners was the one of Caleb at Kingwood Center, tears came to my eyes. So strange how he again has been the one we lose, but also the subject of a winning work of art.100_7050

Into The Couch

Last spring, Luke shot a coyote that was in our yard. Just because he can, he skinned the animal and saved the hide, tail and skull. He buried the skull for a few months, hoping the bugs would ‘clean it’ to the bone. He dug it up last week, and I was surprised at how good it looked, for a dog skull. Luke wanted it even brighter, so he put it to soak in hydrochloric acid for a few days. The skull started out in a black trash bag, but was then moved to marinate in one of my loaf pans (yes, I was pretty grossed out by this). It sat out on the dining table overnight, and when Luke was leaving the next day, I asked him to please move it before he left. On to a corner of a buffet the skull was brought, with a wall of glass jars and boxes of macaroni to stand guard. As if anyone would want to touch this nasty brew.
So, yesterday, Luke pulled out the skull to look over, and discovered to his great dismay some of its teeth were missing. This was a puzzle- nobody mature enough to realize that wasn’t a weird loaf of bread in that dish would have gone near it, so we started by interrogating the very young.
Mama: Adon, did you take a tooth from the skull?
Adon (age 2): Yah.
Mama: Where is the tooth now? Is it back in your room?
Adon: Yah.
I had us all look under the beds in the kids’ rooms, just in case Adon really did put a tooth back there, but it just didn’t seem likely, since we had vacuumed the bedrooms that morning. I glanced at the couch, thinking perhaps that might be a good hiding place for a tooth. Pulling out the cushions and kneeling on them, I got to work digging in the belly of our couch, pulling out all manner of small items. From hair pretties, LEGOs, pencils, pens, scissors, marbles, grass to game pieces, there was a rich treasure hunting to be had. I did find a tooth, but it was Sam’s shark tooth that had come off a necklace. One thing surprised and gratified me that I didn’t find in the couch: not a single math manipulative! I have tried very hard not to lose any of those blocks, and I don’t think I have. They have even survived a move from Marion to here! Something I was surprised to find: a dollar or more worth of change! There were at least three quarters, quite a few pennies, and more silver. I have heard it said the average home has $90 tucked away in it as lost money, but I figure our house is the exception. We can spend our money as fast as we make it, but I guess there could be the occasional quarter fall out of the purse or pocket in to the couch belly. Sam was walking around today, boasting that he now had two dollars and some cents, “but a dollar five of that is couch money.”
Where were the teeth? Luke remembered later that the skull started out in the black trash bag, and once he fished it out of the trash and looked inside, voila! All four missing teeth. He was happy.

Water, Water Everywhere

or, A Week In The Life

I came downstairs early Monday morning to find that a portion of the floor in the basement was flooded. It happened to be the area where the kids play with their LEGOS, and there was a library book about LEGOS sitting right in the puddle! After school we hastened to the library and explained what happened. The librarian kindly gave us our options: either pay $24.99 or find one cheaper online or in a bookstore to replace the book. Thank you, Amazon, for saving us 9 dollars!
Wednesday night, Aliyah told me about a puddle downstairs, and I didn’t take her seriously, thinking it was the same water from earlier in the week. But by next morning the puddle was standing water in nearly half the basement, and it was discovered that we had a leak right under the shower. So, school was promptly cancelled Thursday and we worked all morning cleaning that up. Luke planned to take the boys to a Liberty football game at Kent State that evening, so he wouldn’t be home until late. Once he heard about the basement, though, he took the afternoon off work and came to our aid. Seems the pipe came apart under the shower drain; he thinks it may have been worked loose by us slamming the door every time we go downstairs. Yikes! Fortunately, not very many important items got wet; Luke has been getting these big black shelves from Ollie’s and has our stuff on them. There were only a few bins and boxes left on the floor. I did empty his foot locker with all his high school stuff in it, and set it outside to dry out. That, and the wet bike trailer sitting in the yard reminded me of those commercials where the girl throws all the guy’s stuff out the window when they have a fight. Our side yard kinda looked like we weren’t getting along.
Yesterday after school we headed to a park in Lucas where Luke said we should go and let the kids play in the creek. We got as far as Wal-Mart for some lunch items when I realized I had left my diaper bag and wallet at home! The van was about out of gas, so I felt a bit stuck. I couldn’t shop at Wal-Mart without money, I couldn’t continue on to the park or go back home without gas. Thankfully, my hero husband was at the office that day, and was willing to take an early lunch to meet me at Wal-Mart and fill my gas tank. What a guy! We made it to the park and had a wonderful afternoon playing in the creek and collecting buckeyes. I hope to make necklaces to give to our neighbors, and the tree there gave us quite a load!

I Am

The song that was in my head when I awoke this morning was “The Great I AM” performed currently by Philips, Craig, and Dean on the radio. And, since I am not yet working on my BSF Matthew study, I have been making ‘whatever comes to mind’ my daily Bible reading. Today I looked up all the passages with God or Jesus saying, “I am…” It was really interesting. At first, God is giving Moses a source to say Who sent him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, a Person by Whose authority could make that happen: I AM. The active self-existent One, thank you very much. Then in the gospels, Jesus is here to finally reveal so many facets of this name, I AM. This is why He came.
No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him. John 1:18
I thought it was neat that Jesus used this same terminology many times in John-
“I am the bread of life” (6:35)
“I am the light of the world” (8:12)
“I am the gate” (10:7, 9)
“I am the good shepherd” (10:11, 14)
“I am the way, the truth, an the life” (14:6)
“I am the true vine” (15:1, 5)
Then I got to thinking about my identity, how I would explain myself with an “I am…” statement. Not sure what I would answer first. I am a mother? I am a wife? I am an artist? I am a teacher? That one’s a sore spot, as I have never fully believed any such thing about myself, and do not think I do a very good job teaching my children. Still, I know their experience homeschooling is worlds apart from mine growing up in public school, academically, socially, and spiritually. Judging from how much worse things have gotten in public school in subsequent years, I know we have made the right choice.
So we are nearly done with week 2 of the school year, and I am still feeling positive and like I can do this thing. We’re tackling Ancient History, Biology/Chemistry, and Art this year, along with the usual Bible, Math, Language Arts, and Handwriting. Caleb and Anna are learning to read. The Literary Club was a success and we are planning on participating in that another year. This month’s book is Mrs. Frisby And The Rats Of NIMH. We may start Spanish in November if things are going well. Looks like our church may send a group to Bolivia to visit the children’s home we sponsor, and if anyone from our family goes, I would like them to be at least mildly familiar with Spanish.
Sure enough, it seems only one thing can go well at a time, and since it has been school, the housekeeping and cooking have taken a nosedive. But I am trying not to let it get me down. I can still play the ‘nursing infant’ card if anyone would criticize me for my performance in these other areas the past two weeks. Not that anyone would. I only place these pressures on myself. I am a child of God, the great I AM, and am never expected to be more than He has called me to be.

Time To Myself…And My Dentist

Time for my dentist appointment again. I hope I come away with a better report than last year. There haven’t been too many days this year that I have not faithfully brushed, flossed, and swished. The last visit was understandably difficult because I hadn’t been to see a dentist in years. This time ought to go better if simply for this reason.
Had some black bean soup that I had frozen a leftover portion of- what a great lunch on a chilly day! I was tempted to lick the bowl, it was so good. Cooler temperatures coming mean more soup nights. Can’t wait.
The summer has gone by so fast. Monday we will start school again, but I expect we’ll get a few more summer memories made in the remaining days. The older kids have made impressive progress in swimming this year, thanks to times we have been able to go swim in Luke’s aunt and uncle’s pool. I’m so glad they enjoy the water. I grew up having a lot of opportunities to swim, at a lake by my grandparents’ house, in the ocean, and at lakes and pools locally, too. I loved summers, for that reason. Now, it is an exercise in selflessness not to go swimming every time we have the opportunity. Somebody has to watch the littles who shouldn’t be around the pool, while somebody else watches the budding swimmers. And Luke is the stronger, better swimmer in the event of an emergency. One time we all went to the pool, and it went alright for a while, the littles just sitting on the steps getting their feet wet. But then Adon got ambitious and it became dangerous. Plus, anyone outside of the water was getting eaten alive by mosquitos, making it not worth trying to sit and watch the swimmers. So the last few times I have kept the littles at Luke’s mom’s house down the road, which has worked a lot better.
Okay, this is kindof fun- I am by myself, and time to spare to stop at the library on the way to upload this post. Just saw the first sign- Bellville Street Fair is in less than a month. This is a highlight of our year, the only fair we participate in and attend. Hopefully, someday our church will have a booth in the information tent. Sounds like there is a bunch of red tape in acquiring a booth there.
Still no baby, and I am really surprised. Sure, this only means babies 17 months apart (barring premature birth), but that much separation is like an eternity to me, someone used to something in the 13 to 15 month range. I’m really enjoying Kenan, though, and the way he nurses, it should be no surprise that I am not fertile. He is home sleeping now, and I have a bottle of pumped milk in the fridge that I have told Sarah and Sam to try when he wakes up. We’ll see. Last time he tried a bottle he sputtered and choked like Grandma was trying to kill him. This is a different bottle, may go a little easier. And there’s food, too. And I shouldn’t be gone long. No cavities, please.


Plans are underway for our first evangelistic party, A Watermelon Party. Monday I had Aliyah hastily design invitations for the event, which will be held on Saturday morning in our backyard. Ever since reading that quote from Crazy Love (see a post below), I have not been able to stop thinking about what MORE I could be doing for God. A party in my backyard? This is not even hard, with all my helpers. Why do I drag my feet about things like this? It’s my old self who doesn’t want to get involved, and the enemy who doesn’t want me involved.

Some Jehovah’s Witness came to our house the day after we passed out invitations to our party to our neighbors. After they left, I asked my kids if they thought that was how our neighbors perceived us, going round the neighborhood with our smiles and invites. I hope, though, that our invitation was more personal; we’re asking them to come to our home and there is something monumental we have to share with them. It isn’t like we are just handing them a pamphlet and leaving them to figure things out. Still, it makes me want to brush up on my Truth Awareness. Up until now I have never engaged JW’s in conversation, figuring it would be a waste of time. But this is the third time they have come to our door, and it would be good to be more prepared for the next meeting.