Thursday, February 17, 2011

Posting on the Road - Hodge-Podge

I know I promised lots of posts about our trip but so much has happened and there's so much to think about and process. :) We've had some great ministry opportunities, met great people both from Mississippi and volunteers from the Midwest, heard some wonderful speakers and preachers, and traveled some pretty crazy roads through Mississippi and Tennessee.

Also, there have been many sad baby moments. I don't usually have very much time to sit and think about things so it's been an emotional journey for me. Plus, it seems like it's baby city again. For a while I was doing really well because it seemed like there was a pause in pregnancies and births of people I know, but now we're on round 2 and it's been hard. It's especially hard for people that I am close with or people having their third child. Makes me sad not knowing if God will ever gives us a fifth third child. And the emotions have been surprising me. At weird times I seem to get teary and the strangest things will make me feel like something is missing.

It's been good for me to process our second loss, but difficult at the same time for two reasons: 1) I'm with my dad. I don't want to be an emotional sad sack or look like I'm going crazy so I've been restraining myself, and 2) Because it's just hard and painful to work through the emotions, especially in a quiet way.

I'm also missing my boys like crazy. It's nice to be gone long enough to miss them, but now that I'm missing them I just want to be home. :) I love my wild boys. I miss their laughs, their cries, their cuddles, their energy (yes, even their energy), and I just miss being with them and seeing them together. Makes me thankful for my living children and crave the ones in heaven.

Enough from Debbie Downer (wah-wah). I will have two posts going up soon (hopefully) about worship on Sunday and when we heard Dr. John Perkins and Dr. Dolphus Weary speak. Thanks for your patience. :)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Dick and Margie

Dick and Margie started coming down to Cary, Mississippi from Platte, South Dakota 16 years ago. They would serve for two weeks at the Cary Christian Center (CCC) and then head back up north to Platte. But their hearts remained in Mississippi.

Four years ago some of Dick and Margie's family came to Cary to build them a "retirement" home right on the site of the Cary Christian Center. They come down in October and stay through May to serve at the Center. And they are such a blessing. They do all kinds of things there: help at the thrift stores, fix anything and everything, paint, clean, sort boxes, and host couples, families and groups in the CCC's dorm and apartments.

We were invited to their house for dinner on Friday night. And it was such a blessing. Margie made the yummiest turkey soup and cheese sandwiches. And Dick made brownies for dessert. The conversation was great but what I enjoyed the most was Dick's prayers.

He had a way of talking to God that made me teary. I wish I could've recorded his voice speaking to God. It was beautiful. He talked to Him with such reverence and respect but... like God was his Dad. I've heard people pray to God with respect before but he just sounded different. You could tell he had a real relationship with Him. It was such a blessing. And he would pause a little between sentences and I loved it. It was so peaceful. To be honest, my husband prays like that at the dinner table but I try to rush him through as our two restless boys struggle to not dig into their food. I will try not to do that anymore and enjoy the conversation that my husband leads me into with the Savior.

We had a wonderful time with Dick and Margie. I stayed in an apartment for the night - a real bed! - while my dad stayed in the truck. We both got to take showers and then in the morning Dick and Margie took us to the local dive, Chuck's, for breakfast. It was fun to see how everyone seemed to know them and how they seemed to know everyone. It was so beautiful. They have really developed relationships with people down here and it's great to see. They are such a special couple and it was fun getting to know them. God blessed me in such a way by being able to take a glimpse into their lives and their ministry. It's a good example for me and my family.

Rolling Fork, MS

We arrived in Rolling Fork, MS on Friday after spending 31 hours in the truck (driving, riding, eating, sleeping). After a few tries backing the truck up to the back doors we walked on the soggy ground around to the front of the building to let Audry, the manager of the Treasure Chest Thrift Store, know that we were finally there. We were greeted with smiles and hugs. She closed down the store, sent the guys to the back and we started to unload...and 2 1/2 hours later the truck was unloaded and the shelves, back store room, floor displays were full. And I mean full: beds, mattresses, building materials, boxes and boxes of clothes, shoes and misc, dishes, baby items, couches and chairs, dining sets, outdoor furniture...We even had a box full of Bibles for Audry to give away a her church, and some of them were those BIG FAMILY Bibles. BIG and heavy. :) But she loved every one of them.

The store was great. It was organized and clean. There were quite a few shoppers inside when we got there. They were really gracious about leaving when Audry closed the shop, probably because they knew why - new merchandise. :) I'm sure the store was busy this morning as there were a lot of new things out on the floor. It's nice knowing that someone eles's unwanted or unused items find new homes, that they become a blessing to someone.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Super Cute - With Yarn

Here are two super cute ideas with yarn from Monica at The Homespun Heart, one of my favorite blogs! Now I need to wait for yarn to go on sale. :)

Wrapped Around You
A great "thinking of you gift."

Yarn Flowers - Cozying Up with Yarn
Such sweet ideas to decorate with yarn and it looks so cozy!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Our Anniversary

My husband and I were married on New Year's Eve of 2002. It was a wonderful wedding and we had so much fun at our reception! It was such a blessed day.

We really enjoy having our anniversary on New Year's Eve as there's always something special going on - although we usually choose to spend our time alone together. The only real tradition that we have for our anniversary is taking the year's calendar along to dinner so we can look over each month and talk about highs & lows, who was sick when, what the weather was (I do write down major things: snow storms, flooding, etc), travels, ministry opportunities, etc. We discuss how we've grown, how we've seen our boys grow, where we see ourselves in the next year and even set some personal, marriage, and family goals.

But this year, I had the 2010 calendar put away on the shelf by December 28th. I was more than ready to start a new year. And honestly, I was hoping Jonathan wouldn't remember our calendar tradition. But sure enough, the afternoon of December 31st he asked me where the calendar was so we could take it along to dinner. I told him that I put it away. And I hoped he wouldn't go grab it for our date.

As we were getting in the car after kissing the boys good night and giving instructions to the sitter, he hands me the 2010 calendar. I look at it with dread. We drive the 30 minutes it takes to get to the restaurant and I feel a headache coming on. It's not your average headache, it's a stress headache that starts in between my shoulder blades and comes out my eyes. My neck muscles are tight and my skull hurts.

We are seated quickly, as my wonderful husband had made reservations, and I take a few ibuprofen to get through the evening. The food didn't even taste that good because my head hurt so bad. As we're eating our table-made guacamole, he pulls out the calendar, ready to dive-in to our tradition. And I tell him that I can't. I can't look at that calendar. I can't look over the year and talk about highs and lows, as my high started in January and ended horribly in April when we found out Elihu was dead. The depression that follows for several months and then finally a light. God's revelation to me about Elihu and the plan He had for his little life. I didn't want to think about how hard October 8th was. I didn't want to think about the pregnancy we discovered in early November. I didn't want to look at the month of spotting wondering if we were going to lose our second baby this year and I didn't want to look at the month of December and see our worst fears realized. I didn't want to see the date of our second D&C for the year and the pain and emotional trauma that we experienced right before Christmas. I did not want to look at that calendar. (Right now I can feel my shoulders and neck becoming tight again just as I write about it.)

I finally admitted my sadness, guilt, shame, anger, self-pity, emptiness to my husband and could finally feel my body relax. He was perfectly fine with not looking at the calendar and wished that I had said something sooner. It wasn't a big deal to him and that was such a relief. We made it through the rest of our dinner and decided not to stay for dessert. I was in a funky mood and didn't really want to stay there any longer.

We decided to walk to a coffee shop several blocks away in the freezing cold with the blustery winds biting at our cheeks. But it felt so good to me. The cold air was so refreshing. There were a lot of people out and about and it was weird for me to see how happy and hopeful they were. "What all these people were so happy about?"

We walked into the coffee shop and ordered our drinks and dessert to go. We sipped as we walked to our car and I felt relieved. I didn't have to reminisce the past year with my husband. I didn't have to go over those tough emotions of losing two babies in one year. I didn't have to dwell on that 2010 calendar. I could move on and hope for the things God has planned for us for 2011. I was finally feeling hope and I was ready to release the year 2010 to God, and put it on the shelf.

2010 was a painful year for us. And some day I will take out that calendar and pour over the things that happened and how we are better for them, how we grew both spiritually and emotionally. And how God was still with us through all that pain. I am so thankful for all of God's new beginnings: a new day, a new week, a new month, a new year. God is good to give us that fresh perspective, that fresh start.

I am thanking God for the hope that 2011 offers me, and I know that even if it's another painful year, that God is faithful and will always offer me a new beginning.

No Spend February...Is Now No Spend March

I was planning on this month being a "no-spend" month but I received an opportunity that I couldn't refuse: to join my dad for a mission trip to Mississippi for a week.

We will be taking a semi-truck full of used items (clothes, furniture, etc) to deliver to a thrift store. Then we'll be spending some time doing some mission work while we're down there. I'm really looking forward to having a week away.

My boys are staying with my mom while my dad and I travel. And my husband is being left at home. Being a youth pastor, he has all kinds of opportunities for mission trips and conferences and I usually stay home with the littles. Now, it's my chance to leave him home alone. I think he'll enjoy the quiet evenings and I'm hoping he'll have time to work on his ministry license paper...or paint the hallway. ;)

The boys and I will be gone for a total of two weeks so I'm making lots of lists of what to pack. The boys will need all of their things: clothes, jammies, church clothes, toiletries, medicine, etc. And then I have to pack myself. I don't want to over pack because I know that there's limited space in the truck. So, I'm packing my regular bag with clothes, toiletries, etc. And then I'm packing another bag for the truck with medicine, some basic toiletries, snacks, drinks, books, journals, my Bible, and some Soduku puzzle books. I want to be prepared but not over packed. It's a fine line.

And then I want to have food ready for my husband at home. He's not picky and can make due with cereal, frozen pizza, etc, but I want him to have some healthy foods/meals as well. So, I plan on getting some things ready for him as well. 

Which brings me to the subject of No-Spend February - the reason the No-Spend month changed is because I didn't feel right about our no-spend goal when I would be going out to eat on the road and when we're working at the sites. So, we're postponing for a month and I think that's ok. :) I'll clean out the pantry next month.

I plan on blogging our "adventures" daily (hopefully) as my mom is letting me borrow her laptop (thanks, Mom!). I plan on spending some time in the Word, journaling in my book, Grieving the Child I Never Knew, resting, reading, and blogging. I am excited to spend some time in Jackson, MS where I've been for ministry several times from high school through college. I just ask you to pray for safety on the roads, that I will come home refreshed, that I will be blessed by blessing others, and that I the time I spend with my dad will be for God's glory.