Sunday, August 21, 2011


We stopped to fuel up on our way out to the west coast.  Ouch!  But God always provides.  We had a church take us on for support on Sunday!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

But God Meant it For Good

One of the girls had just washed the bus before this picture, hence the puddle and cleaner.

We should have known we were in for it right from the beginning.
When we tried to pull out of the pastor’s yard with our 38,000 pound bus, the huge rear tires dug huge pits into the mud, and the bus sank deeper and deeper into the holes.

We were stuck.

No problem, we thought.  We’ll get a tractor to pull us out.  It wasn’t until 5:30 that the tractor showed up, but thankfully the fella had no trouble at all getting us out, and soon we were on the road again. 
We drove for several uneventful hours through Nebraska , finally stopping at a Walmart.  My husband and I got out and instantly heard a piercing sssssssssss coming from the drive axles.  It was a huge air leak in our brakes and suspension system.  A quick glance at the bus told us that the vehicle was listing terribly to the right.
My husband decided that he could see the situation better by day, so we boondocked in the parking lot for the night, running our generator for power and relying on the 100 gallon water tank, which was probably only 50 gallons by now.

It’s times like these that I go to bed feeling so spoiled, since even a breakdown in the bus, unless it’s the generator, hardly makes a difference in my life processes.

So this morning, my husband declared that the bus could not be driven to our next destination, that we were going to need to have someone fix it.  Now, normally he does his own mechanic-ing, but the space he needed to get into was too small, and the bus needed to be put up on some sort of lift.  That’s not something we carry around with us.

Amazingly, the Lord directed my husband to call someone from his database that lives in this city to ask for a mechanic, and we were put in touch with the pastor of a church here.  I was doing my usual tasks when, before I knew it, My Beloved told me that the Lord had worked out a solution to our problem, and we were able to limp the bus over to a shop where it would be fixed.  Praise the Lord!

And if that wasn’t enough, the church very kindly put us up in a motel during the repair.  And if THAT wasn’t enough, the pastor asked us to sing, and gave my husband the opportunity to present our ministry and preach!! 

As we entered the church, My Beloved introduced us and told someone, “we’re really not supposed to be here.”

The lady replied, “Oh yes, you are!”  God knows why and how to direct His people. 

I’m just so glad to be in His service, so that then my troubles can be put to good use!

The devil meant it for evil, but God meant it for good.  Praise His Name!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Day 3 At Kathy's!

This was my third day at Kathy's, Monday.  It was a busy day, but I think my most favorite time was the time I "had" to keep an eye on the baby for awhile.  I and my camera had a lot of fun!

I started out this morning with a 2 1/2 mile run past the cemetery, then down a new path to the right, rather than to the left.  I was very disappointed that I didn't hear my favorite bird this time, the one with the piercing call, but I heard another bird caw-ing very loudly.  Can you guess what it was?

I decided that the path I've been running on is probably actually a motocross or 4-wheeler path, based on the way it was made.  This particular leg of the journey was built with medium sized rocks at the bottom, smaller rocks poured in between, a generous layer of dirt, and some drainage pipes.  Any rock which was outstanding (get it??) had a coating of bright orange paint, so no one would kill themselves on it.  And in some places, there were markings similar to a paved road: an orange stripe down the middle and two white stripes on either side.

Anyway, I got a little further back than I intended, so my 23 minute run turned into a 33 minute run.  Not bad, though, since the weather was nicely cool.  

By the time I got to Kathy's after my shower with my wet hair, hot tea, and sausage on a small plate, the kids were eating their breakfast.  Would you believe I actually found people who eat slower than me??  I know it's really hard to believe, but it's true nonetheless.  I showed up after they started, and they were still stirring their soggy cereal around when I was done.  

After breakfast, I hit the dishes again, making a further dent in the pile.  I also put on some laundry, folded, and put away some clothes, too.  If I keep folding and putting away 2 loads for every one load I put on, and if I put on about 4 loads a day, I can catch up by tomorrow afternoon.  *whew*

Today is Kathy's errand day, so we loaded up all the humans and went to McD's, but not before Emmy reached over, got ahold of a tear in Matthew's pants, and widened it way beyond belief.  Needless to say, we had to stop by Goodwill and pick up another pair of pants for him, so he wouldn't be a prince dressed in rags!
Anyway, we went to McD's, ate, and Kathy & I set up Command Central while the kids played in the play place.  We both had our Kindles & computers, and when one program was coming up, we used the Kindle; while the Kindle was downloading stuff, we used the computers.  Busy, busy!  Lots of fun talking about different books, like the one she got, The Man Who Knew Too Much, and the one I got, Holy Bible KJV optimized for Kindle.  I was so thrilled that it actually goes to chapter and verse if I want it to, rather than searching by some obscure location number.

After our electronics session, she dropped me off to get my hair done, while she fed the baby and went to Walmart.  At the Cost Cutters, I had an eyebrow waxing (she did an ok job, but there are strays I'll need to get when I get home) and a cut.  She did a very thorough job...perhaps a bit too thorough.  At least I know it will grow out.  ;)

I walked to Walmart and got some birthday presents for Emmy, came home, did more dishes and laundry, and started preparing dinner.  The kids and I went out to the garden, and I picked beans while they trampled them.  It was quite harrowing for some of the plants.  I didn't stay long, just long enough to get the beans we needed for dinner, then we went back up and I fried chicken breasts, and cooked green beans while Kathy made some noodles disguised as rice.  It was really good, though.

My evening was spent doing more dishes and more laundry, and I took the kids out to the playground and pushed them on swings (they were jets taking off from aircraft carriers, etc.).  I chased them around for awhile, and ended up in the sandbox with them.  Lots of fun!

I was also able to spend some time holding Luke while he was awake.  He has no control over his eyes yet, so when he accidentally finds my face, he looks at me like I came from some other galaxy and then looks away.  Really cute, though.

Then I helped the kids put all the toys away, did more laundry, and kissed them all good night.  All of which brings me to now.  *whew*  I'm about ready for bed!

Kathy keeps saying over and over how much she appreciates all the help, and having me here.  I can see that having three small children is quite a daunting prospect, and I'm sure it's a relief to have an extra hand around for a few days.  It's been my pleasure to help her out.  I can't help but think of all the many times she helped me after I had each of my own babies.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 2 at Kathy's...Sunday!

My second day at Kathy's was Sunday.  She's the pastor's wife of Northwoods Baptist Church in Escanaba, and her husband, Matt, is the pastor.  He is an excellent preacher, and they have a wonderful, growing church!  But for my part, I was glad to be with the kids and help out.  This is an adaptation of the letter I sent to my family.

I sure did enjoy a wonderful day in the Lord’s House.  Matt's an excellent preacher, and I got a lot out of both of his messages.

This morning I got up, dressed and went to Kathy's house to get my shower and have breakfast. Little Matt, who rides the bus with his dad, the driver, was already dressed and Matt was out the door.  For breakfast, I had a sausage, a Fiber One Bar, and a banana.  Yum!

I really want to help Kathy by cleaning up a lot, so after I ate, I did up a dishpan of that mound of dishes and put on a load of laundry, then did my hair.  Really, I didn't do much with the kids to help Kathy, but I did clean up a bit.  I had forgotten that they always have food at Sunday school, so I had a second breakfast of half a spicy breakfast burrito (and a cup of coffee!  No Stevia...) there.  Bro Christianson taught an excellent lesson on a brief overview of doctrines taught in the first 10 chapters of Genesis.  Did you know that virtually every Bible doctrine and every principle for living is laid down in the first ten chapters of Genesis?  Amazing!  I also thought how amazing it was that Adam was willing to leave fellowship with God for companionship with Eve.  It really goes to show how relationships can affect us - for good, and bad.  (Of course, in Adam's case, it was bad.)

Matthew preached on friendship, being a friend of God.  It was very good.  I got a double blessing of being able to watch the little buddy while Kathy played piano.  He is so adorable!!

While we waited for the bus to come back, I did another huge stack of dishes (I'm slowly whittling that pile down), and put on another load of laundry, folding and putting away a bunch, too.  Most of the laundry is clean, but needs folded and put away, so I'm working on that pile, too.  

Then it was Pizza Hut for lunch, but we didn't get there till 2, and there was only one waitress, so we didn't get our food till almost 3!!!  My sausage was looooong gone by that time.  I had one piece of pizza, and took Emmy to the bathroom, so by the time I got back, the pizza was gone.  There were bread sticks, but I didn't want to load up on carbs.  

I came home, took a nap, and called my family (hooray!!!), then went to Kathy's, did another stack of dishes and load of laundry.  Emmy contributed to the mess by wetting herself, so I took care of that, too.  Busy, busy!!

Two peanut butter sandwiches later, we went to church.  We celebrated the Lord's Supper - how precious it is to remember the death of our Lord Jesus!  What an incredible picture we have in the bread and juice being broken, crushed, and becoming part of our very being through its sacrifice!  I hope I never get over the wonder of it all - and then we went to preachin'!  This time, it was an excellent message on walking in the Spirit.  How essential it is to walk in the Spirit, and how I long to be right in step with God.

We talked for a long time afterwards, and most of my time was trying to make sense out of the political smorgasbord one of the brothers was laying out.  I got lost about 1/12 of the way into his talk, but what I did understand was very interesting. 

We went to Culver's for "snack," with most folks (Matt, David, Kathy & the kids) getting ice cream while I got a salad and cheese curds...and a hot tea!  Lots of cream!  It was really good.

Now I'm ready for bed.  There's a cool breeze blowing, so I think it will be great weather for a run tomorrow morning.  I'm really looking forward to it, since I'm all cramped up from sitting for a week.  I've got a terrible headache right now, so I took ibuprofen, which I hope takes effect soon, and I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Trip To Kathy's, Day 1

The Lord allowed me to fly up to Escanaba, Michigan for a few days to help Kathy with her newborn baby, and get to visit for a bit!  I had a tremendous time, and while I was gone, I wrote detailed emails to the family about what I did.  I will be posting some of those letters for a few days, and some pictures, about my trip.

Right now I'm riding in a shuttle bus, a white stuffy thing loaded with soggy, smelly people, on my way from the Iron Mountain Airport to Escanaba.  The sun has just set, and I'm getting tired.  I've been sitting in these cramped seats all day, it seems to me, going from one plane to another, then to the bus.  But it's been a really neat trip.

When you all left me at the airport, I took my bright purple bag and checked in right away, and then went right in to security.  It took just a few minutes to get through security, but I must admit, it's hard to look like you know what you're doing when you've never been there before, and never traveled by yourself before.  It's not difficult, though, since I'm so used to being in unfamiliar places.  

I got to my gate and then waited for a while, then boarded what I think is a DC-9.  Nice, comfy jet.  Takeoff was tremendous, and I don't think I will ever get over the wonder of flying.  Would you believe that all the houses and all look just like Google Earth?  I couldn't believe it!!  We flew up above the lower cloud layer, and then there was a higher cloud layer, which was completely gorgeous with its anvil tops and puffy cumulus piles.  The pilot carefully wound the plane around these fluffy obstructions, and maneuvered us to Detroit.  It seemed like only a few minutes, and we were back on the ground.

At the Detroit terminal, I walked to my next gate and discovered that my flight had been cancelled!!  Thankfully, I wasn't the only one, so I chatted with another passenger who was also headed for Escanaba, and discovered that I was to go to another gate.  Of course, that gate was all the way across the airport, at lease it seemed to be.  On the way, I walked on a flat conveyor belt, almost like an escalator, but it stays level, propelling folks along a very long hallway.  I estimated that by walking on it, I could go somewhere around 6 or 7 mph - faster than I run!  It was a really neat feeling to be going that fast, while only walking.

I got to the gate, just to be sent back to the original gate!  Aargh!  So, I got treated to another walk on the moving sidewalk, and arrived at the gate with just enough time to grab a sandwich, wolf it down and use the bathroom before boarding time.  Of course, they didn't board right away, so I waited for a bit, but not long.

My next flight was uneventful as well, although I went to Iron Mountain instead.  I was completely amazed by the view of the ground from the air.  I don't think I could ever get tired of it.  I was counting pools, when I saw a large field, and what must have been a radio controlled airplane flying around!!  It must have been HUGE, because we were at least 1000 feet up, and I could still see it plainly.  Or is it plane-ly??  :)

That brings us up to now.  We should be getting to Escanaba soon.  Kathy asked me if I could sing tomorrow, so I'm going to do He Loves Me Like I Was His Only myself!!  Hopefully it will be a blessing; it’s one of my favorite songs.

I think I see the lights of Escanaba, so I'm going to go!  

Monday, August 8, 2011

No More Nightmares!

I have a recurring nightmare.

I find myself, in my dream, suddenly asked to come forward in church and sing with the rest of the family.  (That’s not the nightmare part)  As I mount the platform, I look down at my feet and notice, to my great fear and dread, that I HAVE NO SHOES ON!!  To my complete horror, I look out on a sea of faces – all of whom are now looking at my bare feet as well – and I’m frozen with one singular thought.  How do I get out of here?!?  My thundering heart jolts my body alert.

Another horrifying dream I have brings back the old marching band days.

For some odd reason, I find myself suddenly on the field with the rest of the band, standing at attention ready to start the show.  Show?!?  What show??!!?  My mind shrieks.  Two seconds later, the drum majorette is clapping and yelling, and I have no idea what I’m supposed to do.  I jerk awake in a cold sweat.

I have yet another frequent dream which troubles me.

With no warning whatsoever, I find myself standing in the hall at East Pennsboro High School, students jostling here, there, everywhere.  I’m standing stock still in the middle of the mayhem, with a paper in my hand.  It’s my class schedule.  I find myself back at high school, and It’s time to go to the next class.  I look down at the schedule, and it’s too blurry to read.  I squint, turn my head from side to side, and even try holding the little paper farther away, but with no success.  I can’t read the dumb thing, and I’m going to be late for class. 

All of these dreams scream one thing: I hate being caught unprepared.  Unfortunately, it has happened to me time and again, hence the dreams. 

I determined that this school year will not catch me unprepared. 

Having seven children, it’s easy to go into a school year completely unprepared.  There have been a few years when I would look at the calendar and, realizing with horror that it was mid-August, I would announce, “Oh, no!  we’ve got to start school TOMORROW!!”  I remember frantically digging through the pile of books, still in the same place as I left them a few months before, looking for this year’s books, wondering if there was anything I should have ordered but didn’t. 

There have even been a few times that one of my children didn’t start school with the others, much to my own shame.

Hopefully, this school year will not catch you unprepared.  Here are some last-minute organization tips for busy homeschoolers:
1.       First, you need to take some time out of your busy summer schedule to check on each of your childrens’ books for the next year.  Do you have everything you need?  Should you order something?  If so, getting to it right away will really reduce the stress load later.
2.       Make a list, with each student’s name at the top, and subjects along the left hand side.  Then list the books you have already, and notice what blanks you have.  Put a star next to those, and pray about how to fill those blanks.  Spend some time looking through catalogs, researching online, or simply talking with your husband to see what would be best for your student and your family.  Then, place your orders!
3.       Next, work on a school schedule.  First, you need to schedule your time, then you may want to make a schedule for your kids’ time.  Making a chore schedule will help around the house, too.  You can schedule your chores and your kids’ chores.
4.       Then, pray about and decide on your school starting date & your target ending date (understand that it probably won’t happen that way, but it may give you something to shoot for).
5.       You will also want to take some time to become familiar with the subject matter your kids are going to be learning this year.  Look at each child’s teacher’s manuals, write down things which you may need to gather, print, or collect.  Then, set aside a time to gather, print, or collect the necessary items.
6.       Take just a few minutes to check on your supplies.  You may need crayons, glue, paper, notebooks, rulers, calculators, etc. etc. etc. etc.
7.       Finally, it would be a good idea to organize each student’s space, or better yet, allow them to get their own space ready.  Make sure each child has an appropriate container for his books, dvds, etc.  Of course, this may go without saying, but it’s a good idea to make sure last year’s mess is cleaned up first! 

Homeschooling does not have to be a nightmare.  Even if you’re just starting your preparation now (you’re in good company – I have some things I need to order tonight, if possible), you can still be ready in time, and start your school year relaxed, prepared, and joyful.  With prayer, preparation, and a lot of grace, you will be ready to start your next school year!