Friday, October 26, 2007

A day of firsts

This morning I took Michael on his first field trip. Now... normally one rides the bus on a field trip, but Michael occasionally has a tendency to get car sick. Rather than have that happen in front of his little school friends, I drove him to Derby Dinner Play House.

Not only was this his first Field Trip but it was also his first play. I wasn't sure how he would react (another reason I opted to attend). I guess I shouldn't have been such a "mom". He did great. He sat through the hour long production of the Frog Prince and he was so attentive. When the play was over, he waved goodbye to the characters as they left the stage. He kept talking about the frog, the circle and the princess. At the end of the story, the princess kisses the frog and all of the characters made a circle around the frog so he could "change into a prince".

I know that there will be many more "firsts" for our little guy, just as there will be firsts for us all. I hope that he has the opportunity to experience something new and exciting on a regular basis in his life. I couldn't help but sit beside him during this program and wonder what his life might have been if God hadn't chosen us to be his family. Would there have been plays? Would there have been trips to new and exciting places? We'll never know... and I am glad that he will never have to find out what might have been. He will just grow up knowing that his Mommy and Daddy love him, and that we so proud to be his parents, and that his Heavenly Father loved him enough to bring us all together. That particular first is one that will remain in our hearts forever.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Scrabble Via Email

Okay... so scroll down and take a look at my meez.... I have retitled it Scrabble Via Email... and here is why...

A few weeks ago we had friends in from church. It was a "game day" and there were numerous games going on throughout the house. The "major" game though was Scrabble. Rebecca, and I played the whole time. We threw in various people along the way: Mike, Chandra, Rachel and Robert... but Rebecca and I never budged far from the board. Okay... I'll admit that there were trips to the counter to get a snack or so, but other than that... I was there!

I love to play Scrabble, I guess because I love words. I love to read and I love to write. I enjoy learning new words. So I guess that Scrabble is a natural game for me. I was so excited when I found out that Rebecca loves Scrabble also. Hardly anyone will play with me, and it isn't that I always's just that I am seriously competitive when it comes to this game. Now... as bad as I am... Rebecca is the QUEEN of Scrabble. She has moves I didn't even know existed, and a travel game that she keeps in her car, playing alone!

One day, as we were both having rotten days at work, I emailed Rebecca and said, "It's a shame that we can't play Scrabble while we work!" Within a few minutes I received an email invitation to play Scrabble with her via email. How cool is that???!!!! I guess we have been playing games for about a month now, and as of yet, I haven't won that first game. (Today I am making my move, but I'm not sure that she won't surpass me. I have learned to NEVER underestimate Rebecca!) And while I haven't won, it hasn't really bothered me. I still get excited when I know we are in a game... and it has become a way to stay in touch with my friend EVERY day. When one of us is just too busy to play, or we are out of the "office" for the day, it makes for a long and boring day! So, simply put (finally!) it is just plain fun!

So if you are in need of a diversion, and you love games, visit . It's a neat way to break the monotony and hey... so what if the building burns down around you... there are words waiting to be created!!!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sweet Sixteen

On the 18th Carly turned is so hard to take that in. It seems like just yesterday she was running around with her little curly hair, chattering away... well... the curls are gone, but the chattering still remains...maybe things have changed that much!!! Except that I actually understand the chattering now!

We managed to totally surprise her for her birthday. Mickey and I purchased her tickets to go and see Phantom at the Kentucky Center. She asked for them months ago, and we told her no way, no how. They would be far too expensive. So then... she decided to ask for a car instead! Hmmm... a car or tickets?! Through it all, she fully believed that she would not get tickets (or a car!) and she began to tell us of other things that she would like to have. I was about to bust to tell her that we had them!

She was so excited when she realized that we had gotten her the tickets. It was unexpected but truly wanted, and that made it very special. As I watched the reality dawning on her face, it was so cool. She thanked us several times over the course of the evening, and even mentioned it again this morning.

It is kind of like the gift of salvation that we get from Christ... we ask for it... we aren't sure that we will receive it...after all, it's rather costly... and we might not be worth it... and then we get it... and it is free... and when the reality hits us, our faces reflect the magnitude of the gift... and like Carly, we should be thanking him over and over again, we should remember what a great gift we have received....

Oh...and I get to go too... a ticket was purchased for my birthday as well... and we are hooking up with my friend Rebecca and her daughter, Lindsay. What a cool way to celebrate so many birthdays!

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Difference

While Sara was in from Denmark we had the opportunity to take her to church with us at GCC. As I sang with the praise team I had the opportunity to watch her. She didn't sing...she occasionally smiled at me...and the whole time I could tell that she was taking it all in...committing it to memory.

A few days prior to church we had the opportunity to hang out together. And yes, that does translate into shopping...but we were still hanging out!! We had some wonderful discussion and talked about many things. We discussed her schooling, her dreams, and we discussed her family. She began to tell me that at one point in time, her mother had been hurt by her parents as a child. The abuse she endured was both mental and physical, and that her mother had finally learned through counseling that she needed to forgive her parents in order to move on with her life. As Sara sat through our pastor's sermon on Sunday, I knew that she was listening intently... it was such a wonderful conclusion to our discussion time!

When we got in the car to go out an eat after church one of her first questions was, "Did you hear the sermon? It was all about my mom. It was all about the discussion that we had." She and Mickey and I went on to discuss the fact that there are often times going to be those people in your life who hurt you, who do not come to you to ask for your forgiveness. This was the case with Lissy and her parents. We talked about the fact that it is still important to forgive those people in your heart, or you will never get beyond the hurt.

We then asked her how she enjoyed the service and she was so happy that she had joined us. She felt that Chad was so prepared to talk on the subject of his sermon. She believe that he had researched and prayed over what he was going to say. That is important to the Danish as they are very focused on studies. She also mentioned that she felt his sermon touched everyone at some point. It wasn't just for one person, but it had been for everyone.

The church in Denmark isn't like the church here. It is still steeped in legalism, and liturgical services are the norm. There are no praise bands, there are no videos and there is no excitement. Most of the time, people there only go on Holiday's, and regular attendance isn't wide spread. Yet Sara...who spent nearly a year attending church with us each Sunday, has opted to attend often. She said that when she enters the church she feels God's presence and she closes her eyes and remembers how she feels when she attends church in the US.

I am glad that she had the opportunity to come "home" and get her battery recharged for Christ. I pray that everyone who attends services here in the US can be recharged. I am personally thankful that we are able to worship in the church of our choosing. I feel very blessed that our pastor "does his homework" prior to giving the message and that people from all walks of life can be touched by what they hear. And I am especially thankful that we had a small reminder from our Danish daughter about just how blessed we truly are.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Our Visit

Yesterday we went to Greensburg to visit with Chandra and family. We hadn't been up to see their new home, and with Sara in from Denmark, we had all the kids under one roof. It was so nice to be with them all. (Left, Sara and Emma)

Each one of our kids, and when I say kids I include son-in-laws and Sara as well, have such different personalities, yet each has such a wonderful sense of humor. I choose to say wonderful instead of warped... but I must confess we are all bordering on warped which can make any topic fun! (Right, Rachel and Kailyn).
As I sat and looked at each child yesterday I was so amazed at the group that God had placed in my family. Even as I write this, I have tears because I feel so blessed, and so unworthy to have been given so much. Mickey and I are truly two of the luckiest and most blessed parents/grandparents around! And being able to have everyone together again was great. (Left, Kailyn, Michael and Chandra; Right Carly and Camden)

Yesterday in our Sermon on The Lord's Supper Chad closed by reminding us that we are the Bride and Christ is the groom, and that when he returns we will have the banquet to end all banquets. We will all be together and the table will be laden with food, and the joy that fills the place will be immense. I think that when our kids are all with us, we get a brief glimpse of what that banquet will be like. Does it get any better than that? Probably not on this side of Christ's return.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


This afternoon I had an awesome I truly wasn't expecting! I watched little Emma Rose (granddaughter #2) and her mommy called to say she would be a little late. So I was sitting at my computer killing time with Scrabble (thanks Rebecca!!!) and Rach walked in and handed me a box of Kleenex and told me I was going to need it.

With a look of confusion I turned around towards the hall and in walked Sara...our former exchange student from Denmark. Needless to say, the tears began to flow! I hadn't seen her since Rachel's wedding, and I had no idea that she was coming in. Rachel and Chandra had known for two weeks, and had done an excellent job of keeping it from me!

A little background on Sara is in order...

In 2001 I was the colorguard instructor at Eastern. Sara had arrived at Eastern by way of Denmark as an exchange student and she was a member of the guard. As the season progressed I noticed that she was becoming withdrawn and was very emotional. She finally trusted me enough to tell me about the family she had been placed with. The mom had been gone from the home for over three weeks and the dad had been gone just as long. This left Sara (who as just 16 at the time) at the house with a 14 year old and 18 year old who was in and out. They had been left with $30 and no means of transportation. The water, electric and phone had been turned off, and she didn't know what to do. The "mama bear" in me took charge and I immediately got on the phone with the person who had placed her in the home. I told her that I was removing her and she said she would call the police. I told her not to bother, I was taking an officer with me. (It can be an advantage to be married to a trooper!!)

Mickey and I took Sara to the house to get her items, and I was completely shocked at what we found. Food and trash all over the home... it was a mess. I couldn't believe that this young lady had endured this for so long. We got all of her belongings and took her back to our home where we sat and waited until midnight our time to call her parents. She sat and poured it all out to them, telling them that she hadn't told them any of this because she just didn't want to worry them and she knew that they had spent so much for her to come, she didn't want to have to be sent home.

Finally tucking Sara into bed, Mickey and I began to discuss what we would need to do next. We had not planned on having an exchange student, but I was afraid that the agency would move her to another school, which would be painful for her, and I believed that she had already been through enough. We opted to pray about it and see what happened.

Long story short (okay, maybe not so short!) we asked to keep her with us. She came to our home in late September 2001 and remained with us until June 2002 when her parents, Jens and Lissy, arrived in the US to travel with her for a few weeks and then take her home. Over the time that she was with us we became very close to her. Now, I will say that we didn't always see eye to eye, and with two girls turning 17 in the same house, along with a 10 year old, it wasn't always easy. Yet, I cried like a baby the day that she left. As Mickey and I began to reclaim the office we had turned into a bedroom, I just sat there and cried. I felt like one of my children was leaving forever. I wasn't sure whether I would ever see her again.

When she came in for Rachel's wedding in November of 2004 we were so excited. She asked if she could stay through Thanksgiving that year. Naturally, we said yes and she and Carly were beautiful bridesmaids. After that I didn't believe that I would see her again until her college course brought her here around the time Carly would graduate. As I hugged on this young lady today I silently thanked God for bringing her "home". For a couple of weeks our family will feel complete again. And when she goes back to Denmark I'll cry a little...but I know that in three years her studies will bring her back to the US and I'll get to see her again.

I am always amazed at how God brings people together...that he can draw them from different walks of life and mold them into a family. We think very highly of Sara's parents, and we know that they have a strong love for her... and we are thankful they have allowed us to share their daughter for a short time. God was watching over her in 2001...and I am thankful that he was...and that he allowed us to be a part of his plan. And.... I'm glad she is here if only for a little while!

Welcome "home" Sara Belle!

Monday, October 1, 2007

A day on the river

On Sunday following a great church service, Mickey, Michael and I headed to Madison, Indiana for the annual Chautauqua. We try to go every year when possible. I love to look at all of the craft items, the artists there are fantastic. Sunday was the perfect day to attend, the weather was beautiful and the river breeze was great. Michael enjoyed being out and he had a good time walking with us.

The streets between Vine and Broadway are closed off for this event and there are three roads filled with vendors. The roadway along the river has food vendors and you can get anything from a corn dog and kettle corn to a tenderloin the size of a small dinner plate! Cajun food, Greek gyros and German dishes were also available. There was something for everyone and there were definitely a lot of people there to enjoy it all.

Each year my goal is to make it to the Mistletoe Ornament booth. They make the cutest ornaments from polymer clay, and they will personalize them for you. You pick out what you want, pay them and get a number, and then in 30 minutes to an hour you return and pick up your ornament. I have given them Chandra and Rachel each year as they have married and had children. With the addition of Camden and Emma I was definitely on a mission. Mickey, Michael and I headed straight to their location as soon as we arrived. And they weren't there!!!!!!!

Now, you have to understand that they are the ultimate reason that I go there every year. I couldn't believe that they weren't there! I was so disheartened. Mickey, ever ready to make my world right suggest that maybe they had moved locations. So off we went in search of our prize. He was, of course, right. They had moved over to another street and I was so glad to find them. As I began choosing my purchases I spoke to the gentleman behind the counter and said, "You moved. I was so afraid that you hadn't come this year!" He just smiled and said, "I'm sorry, we got a better location this year." I then told him that they were the real reason that we drive there each year and that I didn't want to miss the opportunity to continue a tradition with our family. He was so pleased that we had returned year after year, and couldn't wait to show me the newest ornaments for 2007. He was happy that we had returned, and we were happy that he was there.

I can't help but compare this to our relationship with Christ. We often go looking for him and feel that he isn't where he should be. We then begin to panic and run frantically around looking for him, only to find that he is still there....he is just moving us in another direction. When we ask him why he moved he just smiles and says, "I'm sorry, I am just moving you to a better location." The key is to never stop looking ... that is where we often fail. We give up too soon, and we never receive what we so desperately need. So don't stop looking... Christ is NEVER gone...he is just waiting for you in a new location, ready to show you what he has in store!