Monday, March 8, 2010

The inspiration of women

I'm not really sure where the time has gone, but it is now March and I'm getting ready to head into a new decade. It has changed me and caused me to reflect. I have been trying to think about the people who are in and have been a part of my life who have impacted my behavior and decisions. Making the move to Immanuel almost eight years ago was the best decision that I have made. My heart rejoices with the people that only God could place into my life at just the right moment and time. I would like to share about these people without names but these women have truly blessed me.
Back in college, I thought that I was "the stuff" and was so full of myself that it makes me laugh out loud at my ridiculous nature. I met J and she was different...not different in a bad way just didn't buy into every day activities. I was intrigued. She went to church like 3 times a week and was genuinely happy and liked going. I went dutifully every Saturday or Sunday because it was something that I had always done, but not really something that mattered to me. Well, she invited me to her church and the HS was obviously at work in my heart because I accepted the Lord. Throughout the years, we have had some distance because of my issues, but she accepted me back into a friendship and we have been close friends ever since. I can ask her to pray and know that she will do exactly that.
I also have a hugger friend - J. She is sweet and kind and just a nice person to be around to everyone. Whenever I see her she always comes over for a hug which is funny because I am not a huggy person but she draws me in. It amazes me that God knows that I need this hug even when I don't. She also was with a group of people to come to my house the night my father died. To come to someone's home on a night that is difficult and emotional and hard but to come and pray was monumental in my world.
My friend S helps me see out of the box. She is deep and reflective and asks the most amazing questions to direct my thoughts. The older I get the more convinced I am that I have adult-onset ADD. :) She is game for road trips and intimate thoughts and sorrows and doesn't judge or ridicule. She is funny and witty and a good person to focus the conversation back to scripture. I am in awe that God placed this person in my life with her unique gifts and talents.
I have a very special e-mail friend who makes me laugh during long days at school. She knows so much about my needs and the trials of my family and is trustworthy. I will always remember the Sunday after my mom's funeral, I came to church and she was the first person to hug me and I felt okay. She is funny and makes me giggle at work with her antics. C is an encouragement to my always.
My final story is about a person with whom I can share anything and be myself at all times. I don't feel awkward when I ask for help or just need moments of her time. She called me on a Sunday afternoon after I had driven by Immanuel for several weeks on Sunday mornings. She invited me to come back to the evening service and I did and that day began my journey (with God opening His arms to welcome me back). She has become a part of my family's life and shows my sons love and encouragement. She knows my flaws and points them out, on occassion. V also knows my strengths and pushes me to use them for God's glory.

There are so many others with whom I have a special memory. My first Barakel retreat when I was very nervous and way out of my comfort zone and the gals enveloped me. My singing friend L who continues to make me smile when I think of our lack of singing abilities. These women have become a part of my fabric and have helped create me into the woman that God has in mind for me. I may not always listen and I may speak out a little too quickly but I am always watching and learning from the women around me. Thank you. You help me grow and develop and I thank God for you all.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Fall Happenings

Adam and Jackson eating lunch. We didn't have enough chairs so the kids basically had to stand and eat. Good sports, I tell ya.
Can you see the bug that Adam found? It was one of the items that each group had to find.
Amy's group making the letters TNT with sticks from the yard.

Funny faces by the pumpkins. That is our pool house in the background.
The girls with a cat tail.
A picture of Jessie's group on a piece of machinery.
Kaleb, Amy, and Jessie put on a little skit showing the older brother's perspective in the parable of The Prodigal Son.
This was the entire group. Don't you just love all of those tie-dyes???

Okay, so I surely did not want to take two months to actually have a new post. Seriously, though...not much is new or exciting. Kraig finally finished the 18 month-long job and is working hard to get the insulation in on the new barn/shop. However, just today he said that he was bored! I laughed and told him to go outside and play. Kaleb is in the throes of puberty and it is a real doozy. He is testing the waters and I am very thankful for Matt and Amber and the rest of the youth group for positive influences. Peer pressure is fierce! Otherwise, he is doing well in school and is ready to take some art classes. Trevor did very well in school and is enjoying life. He is usually the happy one and of course, very dramatic! I am trying to organize the drop zone in our house. Somehow, within two months time, our lives became hectic and we tended to dump our stuff on the counter or in our cubbies. Grrrrrrrrr...I hate when that happens. School is going well and I am enjoying my students...most of the time.

I thought that I would share a few of the TNT photos with you. These kids were great and they were very energetic along with their leaders who were very good sports at leading or participating in whatever. We had the party in October and the kids made hand plates with hugs and kisses for the older people in the church. They also made prayer pumpkins and wrote down their prayers for people in our church to pray for them whenever they saw their cute little faces on the refrigerators. I almost forgot about the tie-dye! Each of the kids made a tie-dye shirt and a few lucky ones actually had the right size and could wear the ones that they made. Whoops! Luckily, they were all pretty good sports. Enjoy the pics.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


A quick update...the house is getting there. A stack of books that are looking for a good home, papers that must be filed, and office furniture looking to make its way upstairs for good. Other than that, the pool house is up and Kraig has to finish the roof tomorrow as it looks like rain for a good majority of this week. He is exhausted but is working hard to finish. That's the update, pictures will be at a later date.

We were invited to a bonfire tonight at one of Kaleb's team mate's house. It was a nice invitation and had it been from someone at church or a friend, we would have gone. From stories I have heard in passing or from sitting in the bleachers, the majority of parents are big drinkers. I hate drinking. In fact, I don't know if the word hate is a strong enough word here. I don't like to be around it and I don't want our kids around it either. I feel like maybe I am being a stick in the mud by not going to the bonfire but I truly do not want to associate with many of these parents on a social basis. I really only know them very generally and by face, so perhaps I am judging based on talk. I don't know. Here's the question for anyone who has a thought on it. Would you go to an event like this? Why or why not?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What am I doing the last week of summer vacation?

Cleaning, organizing, and switching rooms around. Why? Isn't that what all people do during their summer vacation? Wait until there is only ONE WEEK before the meetings begin. I definitely need to get my head checked out because I am surely not sane!

Kraig is ready to begin phase one of moving the shop to the house. While that is a really great thing, this helpful little move is sending our lives into total upheaval! The computer room and the spare bedroom are being moved into the boys' room upstairs in the loft. Kaleb and Trevor will each have their own space which Kaleb loves! The loft will house a spare bed, a couch, a tv, 2 computers and desks, Kraig's print desk (which is huge) and a tanning bed (hopefully, it just won't fit). I will let you glimpse into my horror that is reality at this point. I will show you the finished product within the next week because it must be finished before September 1st!

Here is Trevor's first move...the LEGO's that he's built. Really??? This is what is most important. It doesn't matter if you move his clothes, bed or underwear...just his hobby.

...and the rest of Trevor's future bedroom which is a total and utter mess. You can only see half the room. Ugh...what was I thinking?
The beginnings of Kaleb's room. Of course, he is pretty organized and neatly took up 3 drawers, a small part of the closet, and the nightstand. All of his clothes (that still fit the little weed) are neatly put in place. I'm so glad that he is that organized but how did our stuff multiply? We've only been here a few years! The other stuff still needs to go to another part of the house. Any suggestions on how to store suitcases without a basement?
Aaaarrrrgh...the boys room with clothes everywhere. Trevor is in the process of trying on clothes and everything fits him from last year. Hooray...but where do I store the stuff that he will eventually grow into? Kaleb is SEVERAL sizes ahead of him! What a disaster!

Say goodbye to Trevor's bunkbed because it will soon be relocating to its new position. The drum set...not sure where that is going to fit. Probably stay in the loft so it won't be as loud...I think. My dad made the small armoire so that has to go somewhere. When did we collect all of this stuff?

Now, you see my dilemna. Who does this the last week before school starts? Oh, summer, where did you go? Maybe, I shouldn't have spent so much time reading at the pool.
Stay tuned for an updated look or a crazy Chris.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

pictures from the traveler

A lone picture from the Appalachian Trail...I will be posting on that later. I just had to update after I saw that the last time you heard from me was about a calculator!
After the AT Backpacking week, I was crazy and took the boys on the train to Chicago. Kraig had to work and will be working crazy hours until the end of October and then I am praying for a work reprieve! Anyone with boys and touring Chicago, would know that the Lego store is the place to visit. You can sit around and build legos (for free) and browse their clearance section. In the mall, they have huge lego's build like this woman and her dog. Of course, Trevor went a little crazy and had to make a scene. Where does he get this from?

This was taken at Moody Bible Institute. We took the tour and you got to wear a Visitor's pass!!! How exciting is that? Kaleb thought that the campus was pretty cool and Trevor was totally not interested. You can't go there to be a marine biologist, so whatever.

Trevor became a worker for the Hershey's factory and got an ID badge and everything. This was his picture for the ID badge also. You must be thinking...where are all of the pictures of Kaleb. Hmmm, you must know that my 11 1/2 year old thinks taking pictures are so last year! Hence, Trevor and I are in the majority of them. I didn't even have to take self-portraits like I usually do.
After you saw this picture, you now understand life with an 11.5 year old. Pictures? Uncool!

We had just gotten off the water taxi and were on the Navy Pier. Of course, mom waited too long to have lunch and we were all starved! Hmmm, did we have pizza yet again, you ask? Of course. It was the only thing that poor Trevor wanted to eat when we went out. Arrrrgh.

Trevor without his glasses. He thinks that he looks way cooler without them. Too bad he needs them to actually see!
I think that I was crazy having back-to-back vacations together, but the boys were pretty good. The Bickerman's usually came along once or twice a day and then their mom, she's pretty strange, would become upset because she was actually physically exhausted herself.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Behold...the calculator

This is the corvette of calculators. It is amazing and I was ahem, able to learn about it for a very long day and a half. So, this calculator is the new and improved TI-Nspire because it obviously is going to inspire my students to understand and want to do their math work. It has the alphabet on it and can do excel on it and then graph it within seconds. You must be wondering who needs this...well, I guess every student in the State of Michigan, for sure. It even comes with a removable key pad and then you can put in a TI 84+ keypad just in case you don't think you have enough information. Sigh...

This lovely information is ALL of the stuff that I have to be able to do and show my students by September. The instructor went really fast and I had no idea what he was talking about. Luckily, I knew that I would be shopping by 3:30 Monday afternoon and so I sat very quietly and continually watched the clock. Notice the yellow and black book? They wrote a Cliff's Notes for this calculator. Obviously, they don't want me to read the other information then, right?

I know that you all wanted to see my fat notebook of information that I took notes on, but then I would have to seriously hurt you. If you want to learn, you have to suffer, oh sorry, sit through and take wonderful notes on the calculator yourself. If you ever want to sit around on a rainy day and play with my calculator and some math problems, I'm sure that I could do without it for a few hours.

Friday, June 26, 2009

All Things Fun

Trevor attended SpringHill's Day Camp at Midland E Free Church this week and had a blast! They created tie-dye shirts, did Euro-bungy, went to the Dow Diamonds and played kickball in the outfield, team building sessions, small group study, large group singing and dancing, and it was all based on the theme of Science. Woohoo - Trevor was thrilled with the theme. He was on Team Ballistic and they won the screaming monkey a few days this week for being energetic and loud!
This was Trevor on Thursday morning when he was too tired to move! 7:00 came around awfully early when one is attending Hopevale VBS in the evening along with day camp. He was great and was a real trooper even though he didn't even get to watch tv!

The inflatables in the background housed the watering holes and thank goodness for them during this hot week. He was exhausted everyday when I picked him up.

This was Brad and he was one of Trevor's counselors. Trevor received the Knowledge award for his thoughtful insights on the Bible teachings during the week and that made him really proud. He also helped make a new verse for the squirrel song. Something about a hippy squirrel and hugging a tree. Maybe, he'll sing it for you...but don't count on it. He's not much of a singer. I wonder where he gets that from???

Singing the Darth Vader part of the Star Wars song. He specifically told me to bring my camera because there would be some great pictures.
The kids came in dancing to some Bible Camp songs and were whoopin' it up for Jesus. Trevor has on the camo hat, of course. He had to wear it every day!
His group leading the song. Trevor is next to the counselor in the orange, in front of course.

Because of Trevor being gone from 9-4 daily, Kaleb and I got some quality time together. (Although, by Thursday, he was not thinking that I was very much fun.) "Mom, you're just not as much fun as you used to be!" This was Kaleb's quote on Wednesday but he now says that he never said that. We spent a good amount of time in the car driving back and forth to Midland twice a day and at this point, Kaleb was silly! This is his new man purse that he made out of a gum wrapper. It won't hold your cell phone, but it is priceless and he'll sell it to you at a reasonable price. He also made a lovely swan out of another gum wrapper. We also had some great conversations that I hope he will remember when times are tough and he gets in different situations without me around. Eleven year olds ask tough questions sometimes. Today, Kaleb was tired and after helping put down the stone by the pool, he went back upstairs to lay down and watch tv. I let him!

This gigantic frog was in my filter the other morning. Ewwwwww.....

Kraig has worked so hard this week after putting in a full day at the job site in 90 degree weather. We have to finish landscaping, electrical (lighting, of course), and complete our outbuilding which will house a bathroom and changing area! Hooray for outdoor potties!

It's getting there, slowly but surely. It has been a tiring week but the quiet moments with Kaleb and with Trevor being involved and happy while learning more about God's word made the week a success. At this point, it's time to jump in the pool and read a good book.