Friday, March 28, 2008

Precious Moments

Tonight I taught my 7 yr old daugter a little bit of piano. It wasn't a lot or even a PLANNED thing, but more of a spur-of-the-moment lesson. In just a few minutes, I was playing left hand of Heart and Soul while she played a little of the right hand. It was SUCH a sweet moment with her. I love those moments when she is excited and she can't help but to giggle. She would mess up a little and just become hysterical. It was so much fun.

When we said our prayers tonight as a family a few hours later, she thanked God for those few moments.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

We are ON THE MOVE!!

I guess I have had so many things going on that I haven't explained WHY I am packing!

And NO this isn't us. I just thought it was funny :)

The house we have been renting is sick. Since we moved in last May, the kids have experienced one respiratory infection after the other. Graycen and I have both been diagnosed with asthma. Poor Annagail has been on breathing treatments since she was 3 months old. It has been a lot to take and has made for a rough several months for us. Currently, three of my five are on breathing treatments using the nebulizer and I have to carry an "emergency" inhaler around with me. We have missed more events and church than I could list here. It has been one illness after the other. We are supposed to get results of the air quality testing today, but even if it is clean, we know it is this house. Fiberglass particles wafting through the air from disintegrating insulation, pile up of dust and debris (like 6 inches worth!!) in the air ducts, and even mo;d are all suspected to be here. It really is a sick little house.

It has been hard, but it has brought me close to the Lord. I was speaking with a friend last night and I told her that nothing makes you realize how wonderful light is more than to be in the dark for a long period of time. We have been struggling through this. It is so hard to see your children get illness after illness and have no relief. It is a Mama's nature to want to nurse them back to good health, but it is possible here.

So, the Lord has led us to the most unlikely place after all. When Nathan and I made ad rive up to the seminary four years ago to pick out a housing option, the first place we looked were these little apartments that the campus offered at a really low rent rate. I walked in, looked around, then sat down and cried. Really, I CRIED. At the time, I just couldn't imagine raising three (at the time) children in such a teeny place. We decided on another option. Now, four years and two more babies later, I couldn't be more excited about moving in to that exact same apartment.

God has grown me here. My "wants" and "needs" are so much better defined. The word "suffering" has become much more defined for as well. Living in a nice apartment that has enough floor space for everyone to have a bed, clean air to breathe, working appliances, A DISHWASHER (PTL!!!!!!) is NOT suffering. Inconvenient at times? Yes, I am sure it will be. LOUD at certain times of the day when all of the children are cranked up and on full-speed? MOST definitely! But suffering isn't what that is called in the slightest. I consider it a blessing that what the Lord has led us through has given me the perspective that I have now. This teeny tiny apartment will be our home. There we will be able to raise our children over the next one or two years (or more). We are going to be in the wonderful position of being able to SAVE money and give more than we ever have before. That is such a blessing.

So I am signing out for now and will probably be too busy to write much until after the move. Please continue to pray for us. This is going to be another of the many adventures of our family for sure!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Packing, packing, packing

I am too busy packing to form any real toughts, so here is another one of my favs. ENJOY!!!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Easter

If the link doesn't work for you, go here and you can view it!
Yesterday was a memorable day in our life. Our oldest daughter, Graycen, was baptized. She has been a Christian for over a year now. Her baptism has been cancelled three times; twice because she was sick and once because the church made a little mistake in their planning. She was so excited about yesterday. She wrote out her testimony and, so bravely, walked right up to the front of the sanctuary and read it. It was so neat to stand next to her while she told the church about how much she knew she needed God and how she had prayed and asked Him to forgive her. Then she ended her testimony by saying, "Since then, I am not perfect, but I have God to help me." I was moved by her desire to include that in her testimony. I told her that it was a very good thing to say, because so many of us assume that perfection is required of us upon our conversion. It trips a lot of us up daily, because we have impossible standards set for ourselves.

She was the first person to give her testimony yesterday and the first to actually be baptized. It was so sweet to be in the wings watching her. I am so very proud of her and who she is NOW even. What a Joyous way to spend our Easter!!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lessons Learned From Gran

This past week has been full. I am sitting outside the house with the kids while someone is testing the air quality of our home for fungus. More on that later, but we were with family through the weekend to celebrate the life of Gran and be together in our grief.

Below is a picture that Nathan took for his graduation portfolio when we were in college. To me, it beautifully captures her beauty & delicateness right along with her fiestiness and strong will.I wanted to tell you a little about our "Gran" and the lessons I learned from her.

1. To Stand By Your Man

Gran was such a unique lady. Having lost her husband relatively early in her life, she lived most of her life alone. She lived in a little house that had been her husband's dream; a hands-on, fixer-upper on 4 acres. Unfortunately, he passed away long before he realized his dream of seeing that house in all it's glory. Gran talked as if she hated "that old house", but when you really listened, you could hear exactly how much she loved it. No, she didn't like that the porch wasn't screened in or that the front bathroom was never finished. What you could hear in her words and stories, if you listened, was how much she loved feeling close to her husband there. She was a good wife. She was supportive of his dream, even when she hated the thought of it (not that she was always quiet about her dislike of it) and she stayed loyal to that dream for some 26 years after he had left this earth.

2. Not to OVERVALUE my own opinions.

She was quiet and didn't want to make much of a fuss, even when she was in pain or uncomfortable. However, don't assume her quiet nature meant she didn't have strong opinions of her own. She was strong; stronger than she looked with her little 5 ft-something, thin frame and her pretty white hair. From the stories she and Nathan's parents have shared with me, her childhood was hard. It is part of what made her so strong, I imagine. Still, she just didn't feel the need to chime in on every issue that came up around her. This is a lesson MANY in this world could stand to learn (myself included). If you ASKED her opinion though, you were sure to get an ear-full. Even if she disagreed with you though, she never did it in an ugly way. You never walked away feeling like she had held it against you or that she had condemned you. This brings me to the most important lesson that I have learned from Gran.

3. To Leave A Legacy of Love.

During the lovely service on Saturday and throughout the week, the number one thing that I heard from the mouths of her friends and family was, "She just loved you all so much!” It was so nice to hear and I am glad that they said it, but not a single one of us needed to hear it. We knew it. We never doubted it. We could tell how much she loved us in the way she treated us; the way she spoke and acted. I never felt judged by her for my not-so-always clean home or for my sometimes (wink-wink)-not-so-perfectly behaved children. She always had a smile for any one of us and she always was ready to give a hug. I know that being here with all five of my bounding babes couldn't have been easy for her at her age, but I can't tell you the number of videos or sweet pictures we have of her right in the middle of them, coloring or acting out a puppet show. My favorite ones are from just this past January. They are of her here at the table, coloring with Cooper, wearing a homemade crown with her white hair bunching out all around. The smiles on her face and Cooper’s in those pictures are just priceless. My children, at their young ages, may not be able to understand completely what has happened to them this week. I have no doubt in my mind, not a single one, that they knew how much their Gran- Gran loved them purely, simply, and completely.

The way she looked at Nathan was another way I knew her heart. He (and his brother) were still her babies even now in their thirties. They did no wrong in her eyes and she just loved them to pieces. I truly imagine that the look I saw on her face when she looked at Nathan this last visit before she passed was the same expression that she must have had on the first day she met him in 1973. Nathan, or his brother, never had to wonder whether they were good enough or whether they deserved her pride or love. They got it by default. The got it purely, simply, and completely because they were her precious Grandsons, gifted to HER by a sovereign Lord. That was the only reason she needed and she seized it.

That is the legacy I want my kids to take with them from my life; pure, simple, and complete LOVE.

We love and will miss Gran. This weekend, Easter Sunday, Graycen is being baptized. She wanted everyone to be there so badly that she has waited for nearly a year for a weekend that everyone could travel up. Now, her sweet Gran-Gran won't be sitting in the pew to see this wonderful event in her life, but what a JOY it brings my heart to know that she is in Heaven and that she will one day be there to welcome all of us. That knowledge brings me so much comfort in the times through this week when my heart is heavy.

Gone from this earth, but never to be forgotten by any one of us …

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In Loving Memory...


Gran, Gran-Gran, Mother,
& Friend.

Nathan's Grandmother passed away sometime during the night or morning. She was loved dearly by her daughter, her son-in-law, her two Grandsons, her two Granddaughters-in-law, and her SEVEN GREAT GRANDCHILDREN.
We miss her already and are SO blessed to have had time with her just this past weekend for Annagail's first birthday. We take comfort in the understanding that she is celebrating her life in Heaven this morning with Jesus.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

My LAST, FIRST Birthday Party

Yesterday my youngest blessing turned one!! Thank you all for your prayers as she is feeling so much better. The meds did their duty and she really had a great time today.

We canceled her party for most everyone, but our families that travelled up and a few of our very close friends here that don't have children yet were here with us. It was fun to see her open her gifts. We asked everyone to bring a verse or prayers for her as their gift and it was neat to hear them read to her. I plan on putting them into her baby book.

My Grandmother wrote a great poem for Annagail. This is her reading it to her. And here is the poem:

The Story Of Annagail

One windy morning in two-thousand and seven
An Angel said, “Oops! I’ve got to leave Heaven”
And fly down to (our town) in the middle of Earth
Where Angela and Nathan are awaiting the birth
Of Annagail Fayth, the last one of FIVE –
Their home is as full as a little beehive!

The Angel just laughed and said “Sake’s alive!
This little package is due to arrive!
Their family is complete and my job is done
As four others are waiting to join in the fun!

Her big sister, Graycen will be dancing for joy
MaryEvelyn, the artist, has a smile that is coy
Cooper will laugh, the protective big brother
And Ella makes jokes, one after the other

Her first year is over and with so much attention
She knows she is loved
By too many to mention!

A funny thing that happened is that Annagail got a Bullfrog Webkinz from her Grandmother. She is one, so she loves the animal even if she can't play with her online yet. I, however, have been telling Nathan that I wanted a frog Webkinz. I know it is silly, but the kids always ask me to feed their pet if they forget at bedtime or other little things like that. I saw a frog at a toy store and I thought it was too cute. When Annagail opened it, I went nuts. I think I was too tired or something, but I was so excited. It is all on video. I started to load it here for you, so that you would get a laugh, but Nathan is threatening to send it in to America's Funnies Home Videos. I don't want to spoil the show for you. Hehehehehehehe.

So, this was our last, first birthday and I couldn't be more content with that knowledge. If you have known me for long, you know that there was a time wen I thought I would never feel that peace. The Lord, in His perfect wisdom, delivered to us a family of five beautiful, stair-step (or very close to stair-step in a few cases) children. With each birth, we didn't feel like we were done. Even after Ella (our fourth blessing) had her dramatic (and traumatic) entry into the world, we realized (after the dust settled) that we weren't done. Now I feel different. During my pregnancy with Annagail, we prayed together and separately for wisdom. The Lord delivered peace to us that wasn't brought about by fear or frustration. He delivered a peace to us about our obedience to Him in this area of our lives and we are blessed by it even now.

As this last, first birthday passed, a lot of the milestones have or will soon pass for us too. Annagail is almost fully weaned from her Mama's milk to whole milk. She took TWO STEPS today on her own. Yet, I don't feel sad about their passing. I feel so happy and joyful about what the Lord has and will continue to bless us with. I am looking forward to meeting Annagail over and over in the next year as she and her personality grow and develop. It is nice to be able to look ahead with some closure on the season of pregnancy for us. It was sometimes a rough season and sometimes a reluctant season, but how grateful we are to have been so mightily blessed in it.


God is good and you are evidence of that!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


We are contagious, AGAIN!!

Unfortunately, my little Annagail (the sweet little lady in pink on the right there), has pneumonia. I would greatly appreciate any and all prayers for her speedy recovery. We go tomorrow for more tests and hopefully a much better X-ray. She will be ONE on Saturday and I SOOOOO want her to be completely well before then. She is still pretty rattly tonight, but I am hoping that another night of antibiotics, steroids, and breathing treatments will show a big improvement in the morning.

I also saw the Dr today and she thinks that I just beat pneumonia by coming in today and getting antibiotics myself. Right now I feel pretty crummy, but I will be fine. I really just want to make little Annagail better, so that she can breather well gain.

I spent a long time on the phone with a great friend today who shared with me that she knew that the Lord was stretching Nathan and I with all of these illnesses that we have incurred with the kids this year. I know this is true and it does somehow make it easier knowing that even this will eventually work for HIS good, but it is still hard to see such a little one suffer. I am praying for her now that she will sleep peacefully tonight and will wake up rested, comforted, and HEALED!

Thanks in advance dear friends!!!
UPDATE: She did well with her treatments all through the night. This morning they said that there was less wheezing, but that they think she has RSV also. They doubled her breathing treatments and we see them again on Monday. All the while, she has been a happy child. She has a wonderful disposition, so if you couldn't HEAR the trouble she is having breathing, you wouldn't know that she even has it.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Daddy Dancin'

We are home sick today from church...AGAIN. However, this was a wonderful moment I got a peek at and had to share. I love how my 3 year old stumbled upon it and had to join in. And can ya hear my 4 yr old son in the background, protesting his in ability to use the computer on Sunday? Nothing makes a magic moment better than a little whine :)

We always joke with Nathan, because he already has songs picked out for his "father-daughter dance" with each of the girls. Each of them have their own song. I know that Graycen's song is one that he sang to her on the night of her birth. She was crying constantly, unless we sang and we were both too exhausted to think of anything. I must have sung "The Old Rugged Cross" a billion times and Nathan sang a song from the movie Where The Heart Is, That's The Beat of the Heart by the Warren Brothers & Sara Evans. He sang that song over, and over, and over, and over... We laugh now, but when that day comes and he steps out on the floor when that song starts playing, she will probably have to hold him up.

So, when some of you hear that song playing. on a particular day somewhere in the future of our lives, you will know why Nathan's knees buckle & he begins sobbing uncontrollably. Good thing he is getting in all of this practice now, huh?