Friday, August 31, 2007

A Sad Week

We've had a very emotional week at church. A dear lady died unexpectedly and we are all in tears most of the time. She was the one who brought the meals when someone was sick or had a new baby. She would frequently call our house and say "I made too much dinner and I'd like to bring you some tonight," and we would know she was lying and had planned on making our dinner the entire time.

She sat directly behind me in church every Sunday and I can still hear her voice and the special way she would say my name. She loved my boys and especially loved my husband. Her family from out of town knew everything about us.

I never go on visitations at the hospital with Chad because I can't take the boys. Last week the boys were especially wild and loud and BOYS so Chad said he would stay home with them if I would go sit with Lil for a little while.

I went to the hospital and we talked for almost two hours. We got so loud at one point a nurse popped her head in to shush us. Lil went home the next day and was back in the hospital just two days later. We kept thinking "Tomorrow she'll take a turn for the better." She didn't.

I miss her and it hurts to even think of her. She had vacationed a lot this summer and I can almost trick myself into thinking she's on vacation. Almost. During our chat in the hospital she told me she was done vacationing. She had traveled all over (4,000 miles!) this summer and shared the gospel with all her grandchildren, great grand children and siblings. "I'm ready to stay home now," she told me.

Welcome home, Lil.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Healthy Snack

It's the beginning of apple season here and we LOVE apples in this house. I have a bag sitting on the counter that the boys can reach so they can eat an apple anytime they want.

This morning Chad and I were drinking coffee in the den while I watched the news and Chad checked his email. Henry was lounging on the couch munching on an apple.

Very proud of his healthy snacking preferences and feeling like a pretty good mom I turned to Chad and said, "Isn't he so cute sitting there with his apple?"

Chad turned to look at him, turned back to look at me and said, "It's not an apple. It's a potato."

It's still healthy, right?

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dad the Bible Hero

Tonight we had a baptismal service at church. We had set up the service outside and Charlie wanted to sit in the front row. He was so fascinated by what was going on that he sat more still than he ever had in an evening service.

Chad gave a mini-sermon and then climbed into the pool. Charlie shouted, horrified "Dad! What are doing with your clothes on!" much to the amusement of our congregation.

Once we got home I talked on the phone with my mom for few minutes and Charlie asked if he could talk. When he got on the phone he said, "Nana! Church was OUTSIDE! And guess what? My dad is JOHN THE BAPTIST!"


Tuesday, August 14, 2007


Yesterday, my mom gave Charlie a little wink. Charlie winked back and said,

"Nana...never, never wink at those little guys that run around and steal gold from the rainbows."

"Why not?"

"They'll PINCH you! (whisper with his hand cupped to his mouth) I learned that at preschool."

Good advice indeed.

I love IKEA

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but, I love IKEA. When we moved a few years ago to Pennsylvannia some friends of ours invited us to go with them to the Baltimore store. We arrived an hour before closing so we had to speed shop but from that night on we were hooked! I'm not a creative person at all - I'm a copycat. I can mimic something I like but I can't come up with it on my own. I love how the store is set up- I can copy how they have their rooms set up right down to the paint color!

My girlfriend and I decided in June that we needed a "no-kids-girls-day" and we went to IKEA Detroit last week. Woohoo! Adult conversation without having to talk louder than the screaming children! We pigged out on the 50 cent hot dogs, $1 humungous cinnamon rolls, and shopped as slowly as we wanted. We were there for over 6 hours!

I was on the hunt for window treatments. For the den and the living room I bought these bedspreads (creative right? I actually came up with that sort of on my own- okay, I copied it from a show on hgtv). If you enlarge the picture you can see there is a ribbed stripe that really makes these look cool! I bought two for each window, hemmed one end, ran a black curtain rod through them, and hung them high to make my windows look bigger. I love it!

These are the ones I'm most excited about. In my bedroom my furniture is black, the carpet is grey, and the bed linens are khaki. They all sort of go together but not really. The curtains pull it all together. I only hung one curtain (I used the other in front of our open linen closet in the bathroom) so it looks like wall art. And I was able to copy down the wall color the room was painted at the store. The room at the store used all the same colors as me so I was so excited!

Now I just need to paint....

And here is the best part...the treat I bring home (served on some kid ikea plates).

Garden Update

My tomatoes are looking so good. I have plenty of green ones that I'm anxiously waiting to turn red. We've had two red ones and they were wonderful! I forget how delicious garden tomatoes are when I'm so used to store bought tomatoes.

See these patty pan squash growing under there? They are ripe and ready to be picked but I can't pick them!

...because of the bees! There is a big, fuzzy one in every flower. And one flower had three! I wasn't all that bothered by them until the other night. My mom stopped by and I offered to pick her some squash. I reached in to move the branches and grabbed right onto a bee. Ouch! It got me between my thumb and index finger. It still hurts a little.

And here is what a baby patty pan looks like. Aren't they cute? Charlie loves to see how the seeds we planted turn into branches, then leaves, then flowers, then squash. A great learning process! If I get the courage we will pick some later today and deliver them to our neighbors. What else can I do with hundreds of patty pans?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday:

When my husband was in seminary his required reading list was long! Most of the books were in the library but sometimes he couldn't get them when he needed them. Purchasing all those books from the school bookstore was awful! One of his professors shared this link with us:

Type in the book you need and where you live and Addall searches numerous online bookstores to find the cheapest one- and they include the shipping price in the total. This has been so helpful for school and we use it for personal books, too. Try it!

And stop by Rocks in My Dryer for more Works for Me Wednesday tips!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Red Bible: Part 3

I was heartsick. All of the sudden the Bible I'd pushed to the back of my mind had become the one thing I couldn't stop thinking about. I couldn't sleep and anytime I thought about it my eyes would fill with tears. How could I have been so careless?

I started to retrace my steps over the last few months. We'd visited my husband's grandparents in Florida so I called. They hadn't seen it but promised to look. I was in a wedding in Canada so I called my friend there. She hadn't seen it either nor had her parents. Where else? Where else? We lived at a Bible camp at the time and, really, it could have been anywhere on the property. I looked through all the lost and found boxes and on every bookshelf in every office. I looked in storage closets and asked every single staff member to keep their eyes open.

One of the staff members reminded me we had had a Ladies Retreat. A wave of dread washed over me. At that particular retreat all of the ladies were given matching tote bags to carry their Bibles and notebooks. I couldn't remember if I had used the red Bible at the retreat but I couldn't find my tote bag or my notebook so I knew I was in trouble. I was envisioning some woman tossing her tote bag in a corner and forgetting about it. I prayed the Lord would let her find my Bible and then let her find me.

For seven years I prayed that I would find that Bible. I made up elaborate stories in my head about how it would be found. A stranger would show up on my doorstep with the Bible in hand, an owner of a used bookstore would find my name and contact me, or something else incredibly interesting. We moved twice in those seven years and every time I packed I thought, "I bet I'll find that Bible." I didn't. Every time I unpacked and got to that last box I'd think, "Here it is! I'm sure it's here!" It wasn't.

The last move was a move back to Michigan. Back home, close to our families. We all live, work, and attend church near each other and our paths frequently cross- swapping kids, doing business, visiting church for one function or another.

My sister-in-law called one day while she was cleaning at her church and asked when I picked up the phone, "How much do you love me?" We aren't very affectionate with each other normally so I laughed and asked suspiciously, "Why?"

She answered, "Because I'm cleaning off Dad's bookshelves in his office because he's never cleaned them.........and I just found your red Bible."

"Wha...??" I burst into tears.

"Would you like me to bring it to you?" she asked.

And I answered through my tears, "Can you bring it right now?"

And she did.

So, I sit here with my red Bible next to me, it's soft leather cover, it's loose, tattered pages and I'm thankful. Thankful not only for the lessons I learned in Bible college, the connections with my mother, but also for this lesson. The lesson that God knows my heart's desires and he hears my prayers.

He gave me my red Bible back.

Part 3

Coming Wednesday...

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Red Bible: Part 2

She was giving her Bible to me. She turned to the front page where her maiden name was written in the upper right hand corner, a squiggly line through it, her married name written underneath.

"My parents gave this Bible to me when I left for Bible school and now I'm giving it to you."

Once I got to college and the assignments started pouring in I could turn those pages to my hearts content. I could even write in it. I added my name to the list on the front page. Three different names, three different seasons of life. We went to different colleges but I discovered we had one of the same teachers. I went to mark a passage in the margin as the professor was speaking and I noticed it was already marked. Next to the passage it read "Dr. Whitcomb" and I felt a little thrill in my heart as if that mark bonded us, my mother and I.

As I read through that Bible I discovered struggles my mother had gone through and the scriptures that encouraged her. An underlined passage read "Carl's funeral," a friend who had died while she was in college. My mom and I didn't talk growing up. We fought a lot. It was mostly my fault. I was filled with teenage angst and liked to keep my private thoughts private. I didn't ask her questions either because I didn't want to be in a conversation that involved any kind of sharing personal information. Having her Bible with all her notes was like having the most meaningful conversation we could have. I began to see verses as she saw them and I was able to understand her a little better.

A few years later I married and the first Sunday we returned to church I drew a line through my maiden name and wrote my married name underneath. Another name, another season. That red Bible was mine now. I used it for devotions, for church, on retreats. One Sunday, a few years into our marriage, in the rush of getting ready I grabbed a different Bible that fit in my purse a little better. After awhile that Bible became my "regular" whether it was out of convenience or out of laziness for not taking the time to look for the red one. I pushed the red Bible into the back of my mind, not really forgetting it but overlooking it.

Over time I started to miss the red Bible. I missed the surprises of finding my mother's handwriting next to a passage that moved my heart. I longed to turn a page and make a discovery and see that she also was moved. So, a few weeks or months after I'd picked up the new Bible I went to the shelf to find my old red one. But when I reached up and looked for it my heart dropped to my stomach. It was gone. I looked all over our tiny apartment and enlisted the help of my husband but our search was fruitless.

I had lost the red Bible.

The Red Bible: Part 1

Growing up in a churched family we all had our own Bibles. Mine was a pink New Testament with my name etched in gold on the cover. It fit perfectly clutched in my little hands and had a pretty pink ribbon bookmark that I could wrap around one of my fingers. My mother had written inside in cursive so it was years before I could read "We love you! Dad and Mom." I loved my little pink Bible- mostly because it was pink and had my name on it. In the early 80's you could find all sorts of trinkets with my name but almost all were spelled wrong. T-r-a-c-y looked so beautiful and right.

Every Sunday morning our family of four would go through our pre-church routine. We had only one bathroom and we stuck to the same rotation so we wouldn't all rush for the shower at the same time. Somehow we all managed to meet at the car at the same time each of us with a Bible, my mom with her purse. She would pass her and Dad's Bibles to the backseat for me to hold while she rummaged in her purse for mints.

I loved to hold her Bible. It was red leather. Good leather. The kind that gets softer with age. It was smooth to the touch. She wrote on her pages (something I was afraid to do as my schoolteachers repeatedly reminded us never to write in books). She has very distinct handwriting- neat, straight, with pretty tails on the appropriate letters. I didn't look inside often because the pages in Romans were loose and starting to fall out. I didn't want to be the one responsible for the final tug that would pull the chapters free. I know she kept a love note I'd written to her in the book of Matthew.

Once I outgrew my pink New Testament I got a plain black KJV from my Sunday School class. When I turned 13 I got a brand new NIV Student Bible. It was reddish leather and I was proud- almost like my mom's. But as I used that Bible and roughed it up a little the "leather" didn't soften. Instead it peeled and cracked revealing cardboard underneath. Someday I'd get a Bible like Mom's, I thought.

Graduation came and I began to plan, prepare, and pack to go off to Bible College. I must have packed and repacked 50 times that summer. The excitement of college and expectation of independence was mingled with the dread of leaving home. If only I could pack enough to bring "home" with me.

My mom came in my room on one of my packing days and watched.

"Do you think you have everything?" she asked.

"I guess..." I looked around the room, doubtful.

She glanced at my stack of books. "You'll probably need a different Bible."

She was right of course. The Student Bible was for teenagers and I was mature now- going away to school.

"Would you look to take mine?"

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Good Links...

I am a penny pincher...a saver...a bargain shopper. I love a great deal and I really love a great tip. This month at MomAdvice Amy is doing a "Month of Savings". Each day she is posting money saving tips and the total amounts you can save. This website is full of great articles and blog entries. It's one of my favorites!

I know a lot of my readers come from The Homespun Heart but if you haven't been there yet you really need to stop by! Monica and her sister, Carrie from With All That I've Been Given, are doing a Sister Swap. I've never done a swap before and I'm really excited to join in the fun!

I'd love to hear about some fun links from the rest of you. Leave me a comment so I can stop by!