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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Meet Quincy...


The newest addition to our family. :)



Isn't he adorably handsome??


He has both of us smitten, for sure. Especially my husband...



They're becoming fast friends.


And they're so adorable I could just eat them both up!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Woot!

Can I just say that I love this lady's blog? She has picture popping photographs, a witty sense of humor, and a faith in God that is to be admired. :)
(Some of you may remember me posting about her son struggling with SVT here....)

And....she's hosting a giveaway at her giveaway blog for a HP Touch Smart computer!! Anybody interested? Head on over and read her post to find out how you could be a lucky winner!! :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Impulsive Provision

Let me preface this post with an apology to my mother -- Sorry this is so late Mom!! I didn't get the final pictures loaded onto my computer until today...so I went as quickly as I could!!

Ahem.

This past weekend, Joe and I went to go get our Christmas Tree! Unbeknownst to us, it was part one of a trilogy of impulsive decisiveness for us! And a glimpse of God's provision. :) Here's the story...

Part I
On the day after Thanksgiving, Lovey and I went to go pick out and chop down our Christmas tree. This is normally a grueling ordeal. When one of us isn't picky, the other one is. (Remember this post of my Mom's??

That one's too fat. That one's too thin. That one's bald on one side. That one has too many dead branches. I just don't like that one.

And the list goes on and on. We were getting a late start, and had a lot left to do on that particular Saturday afternoon, so I braced myself for a long trek around the tree farm, searching for "THE perfect tree".

As we pulled into the Frasier Fir section, we commented on how sparse that particular field looked. But we went on in anyway. And as Joe drove up to the first tree on the right, he commented, "That one looks good."

I glanced over at it. It did look good. Hm. We glanced at each other with raised eyebrows, and proceeded to get out of our car. To our shock and relief, after circling it several times, we concluded that it was indeed "THE perfect tree". Amazed, we chopped it down and loaded it up and went on home to set it up.

"No way, the FIRST one we saw??"

"ALLLRIIIGHHHTT!!!!!"

THE Perfect Tree :)

Part II
Let me backtrack for a minute. Before we went to get our tree, we had made an impromptu visit to our local flea market to see if there was a handy bookshelf there by any chance. Since our current bookshelf is smashed full of books going every which way, and we still have some in piles looking for a home! (What can I say, we love books!!) The photo below doesn't even begin to do this justice, as I had already tidied it up a bit, but it will give you a very small idea of how serious our book addiction and problem really is.

So...at the flea market, we didn't find anything. But decided we would walk down to the Amish Furniture store, a block down from our house later that afternoon "just in case" there was anything there we wanted.

*Background fact: Since we've been married, we have said that we would buy a piece of Amish furniture/wood item every year for our anniversary, resulting in us having a beautifully furnished home. However, we have never found anything we liked and that we could afford. Who knew the Amish were so spendy?? ;)

After we set up the Christmas tree, and went about trying to rearrange furniture and find a home for all our books so that I could set up the Christmas decorations, we found ourselves in a pickle. Our house was a mess. And we didn't have anywhere to put all this STUFF!!! (See photo evidence below)
This was the living room mid-sorting.

Joe's attempt at organizing movies.

Just a FEW of the books still looking for a home.

Our sad looking kitchen with loads of Christmas decorations EVERYWHERE.

What a mess!!

So finally I threw my hands up in the air, and insisted that we walk down to the Amish furniture store. "Just in case". And so we went.

If you know me or my husband, you know that we are just a tad bit indecisive. Ok, I exaggerate. We're probably the most indecisive people known to mankind! We rarely can make a decision at any given time. We usually have to mull it over and agonize over everything for a few hours (minimum) before we can make up our minds.

So you'll understand why this next part of the story is so amazing!

As we walked into the Amish furniture store, we commented on how if we couldn't find a bookshelf, maybe we could at least find a coffee table. Surprisingly, as we walked up to the group of coffee tables, I commented, "Hm. I actually like this one!" Joe agreed. We didn't think much of it but kept looking for our bookshelf. After not finding our bookshelf, we came back to the little coffee table and glanced at the price tag.

Hm. It's actually affordable. We glanced at each other with raised eyebrows. "Should we do it?" I asked. Joe agreed. And before I knew it, there we were at the counter paying for a new coffee table. Totally awesome!

But now our house looked even MORE cluttered!


Part III
After setting the surprise-buy-coffee table on our kitchen floor, one of us (I don't remember which) commented: "Maybe we SHOULD go somewhere else to look for a bookshelf. With our luck today, we'll walk into a place and buy the first bookshelf we see because it will be the perfect fit and the right price!"

And so we did what any other couple in our shoes would do. We headed off to another discount market on a quest for the bookshelf we knew must be waiting for us.

Our first stop was a dud. They had something decent...but not quite what we were looking for - a short bookshelf (to fit under the chimney) that might or might not have a door, was on the narrow side, and fit our budget.

So we went on to the next town, another 20 minutes away. As we drove, we tried to think of where we could look, and all we could remember was an antique furniture store that we knew would be terribly expensive, but the only other options were Target or Wal-Mart, so we thought we'd give it a try.

As pulled into the town, we noticed a furniture store neither of us had remembered. Approaching the door, we noticed that it closed at 5, and it was currently 4:45, so we both ran like crazy people through the front door, gasping and apologizing for walking in so late. (We must have looked like lunatics!!)

We explained to the kind sales lady what we were looking for: a short book shelf. (Really descriptive, eh? ;) She kindly led us all the way upstairs, turning back on all the lights they had turned off in anticipation of closing. Rounding the corner, she pointed to a collection of bookshelves in the corner.

We were floored.

They had one the right height! AND the right price!!! What a break!

The sales lady was probably as shocked as we were! Once again, glancing at each other with raised eyebrows for the third time that day, we simultaneously nodded our heads, agreeing that it was the right fit and just what we were looking for. And it was even on sale!!

Upon arriving home, we added one more item to the mess of our kitchen, resulting in the shot below:


But now we had to make it all fit together!!! Thankfully, my husband is a master at puzzles, so he can make furniture fit in a room like no one else can. And after some trial and error, I finally got my Christmas decorations to stop looking so tacky...so here is the finished work! Enjoy!!


Our lovely Amish coffee table. :)


Another view of the living room -- with a CLEAN FLOOR!! :)

Our new bookshelf (on the left). Though none of it matches exactly, it fits our need.
I'm having a hard time getting used to seeing all those books in one area...it still looks a bit cluttered to me, but it'll get us through Christmas until we can rearrange again!

Our lovely, decorated Christmas tree.
I wanted to name him, but Joe laughed at me. :)


My beautiful Christmas plate collection (thanks to my Mom!) and other "deshorakins" :)

The tidied up kitchen!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Recommendation

Recently, on a trip home to Iowa, I listened to the audio version of the book "Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God", by Francis Chan. Wow. Talk about an amazing, inspiring, convicting and real book!! If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. It makes you see your life through a whole new lens.

I won't take the time now to delve into all of it's details, but one of the quotes that stuck with me was:

"Having faith often means doing what others see as crazy.
Something is wrong when our lives make sense to unbelievers."


If you get a chance, grab this book and devour it! :)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Glory Baby

This is a primitive video that I put together last night while my candle was lit and I thought of my Hopie. I'm not technologically savvy....so unfortunately there is a watermark from the company in the middle of every image...and the timing is a bit off...but you'll get the idea. :)

This song is called "Glory Baby" by Watermark, and I just stumbled across it about a week ago and fell in love with it. I hope some of you will enjoy it as much as I did.


video

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Keep the Candle Burning...

Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss and Remembrance Day. At 7 pm, I will be joining the many others who have lost their little ones in lighting a candle so that there may be a continuous wave of light across the world.

I know I've been absent in posting lately. I want to write - and I think of things to share...but sometimes it's just easier for me to zone out to something thoughtless or choose the easy route, rather than sort through my emotions enough to articulate them here.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The past month has been much harder than I expected. I thought that once I passed Sept. 27th, Hopie's due date, that things would get much easier.

I was so wrong.

Instead, it seems that my pain and heartache is only magnified each time I see someone with a newborn, knowing that it should be my daughter we are cooing over and smiling about.

My arms feel more empty than I could have ever imagined.

I hate feeling this way. I hate avoiding conversations with my pregnant friends just because it causes me pain. I hate feeling jealous of those who have just found out that they're expecting. I hate the way my heart jumps every time I hear the word "Hope", only to crash back down in my chest in sadness. I hate waiting from month to month, wondering if I'll ever be pregnant again ...if my womb will ever carry a sweet little one to term. I hate it that I avoid spending time with the Lord like I should be. Ugh. I just hate it.

I don't intend for this post to be all about me....my pain and my suffering and my loss...God only knows that there are so many others out there going through severe loss and grief that I can't even come close to.

I'm just being honest about how it's been lately. Unfortunately, it's been dark and a bit ugly inside my head and heart.

I know I'm being prayed for. And I appreciate that more than I can ever express. Please don't stop. Your prayers are often what get me through those moments of unexpected tears and wrenching heartache.

On the flip side -- if you are one of my pregnant friends, or someone who just had a baby, please please do not feel guilty. Your little one is such a precious lamb of God...treasure what you have. Treasure every kick that you feel. Kiss their little fingers and toes. Cherish every moment your belly expands or every soft kiss against their cheek. And know that I rejoice with you -- I really do. There is nothing like the joy of new life...

So today with hope, I will remember my Hopie. Knowing that she's in the arms of Jesus - where there is no more sin, no more pain, and no more heartache....she is in the most perfect and complete place she could ever be. And I can't wait to join her there.

I will also remember the precious little ones of those so dear to my heart: Alethia Joy, Samuel, Max & Olivia, Audrey, Isaac, Baby Stuelke, Baby Evers, and so many more....I can't help but smile thinking about the ruckus they must be making in Heaven. :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Beauty from Pain

The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I'm alive but I feel like I've died
And all that's left is to accept that it's over
My dreams ran like sand through the fists that I made
I try to keep warm but I just grow colder
I feel like I'm slipping away

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I've cried my last, there'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today,
Someday I'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I'll wonder why God lets me walk through this place
And though I can't understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how you've brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I've cried my last, there'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today,
Someday I'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

Here I am, at the end of me
Trying to hold to what I can't see
I forgot how to hope
This night's been so long
I cling to Your promise
There will be a dawn

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I've cried my last, there'll be beauty from pain
Though it won't be today,
Someday I'll hope again
And there'll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

--Superchick "Beauty from Pain"

I know I'm behind on posting....but I wanted to share the lyrics to this song. It's been meaning more and more to me lately. Hopefully I'll have a "real" post soon...


Saturday, August 15, 2009

How do YOU eat YOUR nuggets?

Do you line your chicken nuggets up like this??


Well...my Lovey does!
Can we say Obsessive Compulsive?? ;)
Love you, Sweets!! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Family Tragedy Strikes!

My family loves ice cream.


I mean....they really love ice cream.


So you can imagine the shock and horror we endured when we this morbid scene took place during our traditional stop at a small town ice cream shop.


That's ice cream on the floor there, folks. Chocolate ice cream.
A big fave amongst the best of us.

Especially my sister.


Just check out her facial expression!!!

And why in the world my Mom and Aunt Linda appear so cheery
in the middle of an ice cream CRISIS is beyond me.

Seriously.


However, the picture below captures how the majority of us felt in our hearts...



Thankfully, the staff and manager were able to get the
majority of the mess cleaned up while still taking our orders.

I guess ice cream just gives you power like that.


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Burdened.

Tonight I feel burdened with the need to pray. So much has been going on in my own life and in the lives of those around me...it just breaks my heart to see the pain and suffering some of them have to go through.

Recently, my cousin and his wife suffered through their first miscarriage. I was slightly surprised at how much emotion it dredged up in me. Although I was slightly jealous of them for being pregnant with the first great-grandchild in the family, I would never ever wish a miscarriage on them. I wept when I found out....

Then, just a week ago, another dear friend of mine went through a miscarriage -- only 5 months after delivering a daughter still-born. Again...my heart felt like it was being wrenched out of my chest. I could do nothing but grieve and pray with and for them...

Youth group has been wearing on me emotionally as well. There have been several fights between some of the girls -- over very petty, superficial things. Things that they should know better than to fight about. I've had to have difficult discussions with some of them. I've been the big bad mean youth leader and had to enforce the rules. I've heard some horrible background stories from some of their lives. I've needed to be informed about awkward and shocking scenarios that happened in a Christian setting. Ugh. I wish I could just ground them all until they are ready to behave! But I can't. I can just pray.

There's been a cancer scare with one of my close friends. Tests will be happening soon to find out more information. It's unnerving...

I have a terribly irritating co-worker who I have to pray about constantly when I work with her. So that I don't yell. Or lock her in the vault at the bank. Or worse...

Baby Stellan, who I've mentioned before here, is going through some awful SVT times again. I can't imagine the struggle this must be for their family...

The Lord has really been impressing on me the importance of loving others -- truly loving them as Christ does. And, as it usually happens when the Lord convicts you of something, He has been showing me every way I have been failing in this area. Depressing. Discouraging.

My husband is laid off from his job, and has been since the beginning of May. There seems to be less and less of a chance of his company hiring him back at the end of the summer like we had originally hoped.

And, as always, my womb and my arms are empty. The ache of losing Hopie never goes away...and the wound is reopened every time another sweet friend gets pregnant or I start my cycle again. I'm still happy for them. It's just....hard.

However, as we've been studying in our Bible study recently, struggles are to be expected when you're a soldier for the Lord. I Peter 4:12 says:
"Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation."
And we are not without hope. All our hope is in the Lord. And He willingly carries all of our burdens, no matter how trivial or small. He alone can be trusted with them.
"But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh...Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal."
2 Corinthians 4:7-11, 16-18

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ketchup!

I promised a "ketchup" post last time, so here it is -- what's been going on here at our place since April...

During a college preview week at my alma mater, Emmaus Bible College, my good friend Charissa wanted to take pictures of me as a special gift for Joe. However, that gift has yet to be given to him...but I'm working on it! Here are a few of the shots, though not necessarily my favorites. The rest can be viewed here:






In the beginning of June, we had a Girls Nite with our youth group girls to talk about the touchy topic of modesty. We made yummy smoothies, laughed, played games, and painted our toenails and ended with a devotional on honoring the Lord in the way we dress. I don't know how much it impacted their hearts, but it went smoothly and we pray the Lord continues to use our words. Here's the gang below:



Later that month, I went on a second girls outing -- with several ladies from our Bible Study plus a few extra. We went to a very relaxing and refreshing cabin, it was so wonderful!


We also were blessed to see some incredibly beautiful sunsets...



Next was an energy packed trip to Valleyfair with the youth group! I even braved the Power Tower! A fun time was had by all :)




We finished out June with a family vacation to northern MN with the rest of my extended family - at least all that could be there. We enjoyed our time sleeping, eating s'mores, taking pictures, playing poker, hiking, roasting marshmallows, watching Fiddler on the Roof and talking, of course! It was a weekend I will cherish forever...

Listening to Grandpa's reminiscing...



Hiking Buddies!!


Mom Surprised me with her Poker Prowess!


Recently, we had a family reunion at a park near us with Joe's side of the family. I used the time to experiment more with my camera and got quite a few adorable shots of my nephews and niece, as well as others!

Tanner's my silly buddy :)

Sutton has a way with the women in our family!

Precious brother and sister!

Tanner loves his Uncle!

Laina is the little princess of the family :)


And that brings us up to date!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sleep & Me

Well. It's been 2 months since my last post. Sorry guys. Life has truly been a whirlwind...and no, I'm not pregnant, if any of you were wondering if that contributed to my silence. :)

Anywho....perhaps I'll do a bit of a "ketchup" post soon (get it? "ketchup"? "catch up" tee hee), but for now, you'll have to survive with a story about me and my sleep.

In case you didn't know, I am an avid sleep talker. Terribly chatty. Just ask my husband. The poor fellow suffers from lack of sleep due to my random yelling and raving in the middle of the night. Unfortunately, I rarely remember what happened or what I said, so I have to find humor in the stories my hubby tells me. Here's what happened last night...

**My husband will be referred to as "Lovey" throughout the rest of the story.


Apparently Lovey couldn't sleep, so he was downstairs getting a midnight snack or watching a show, I'm not really sure, but that's not the point anyway.

Ahem.

He was downstairs, minding his own quiet, middle-of-the-night business when he began to hear yelling from upstairs. My yelling, mind you. I guess it went something like this:

"Get out of here!! Get out of here!! What are you doing in here?? Why did you let them in here?!?!?!"

This is not normal (even for me) in the middle of the night at our house, so Lovey called upstairs, "Liz,Are you ok?"

More yelling ensued.

By now, Lovey is getting a little concerned about my welfare, so he went to the foot of the stairs and looked up. And there I was, in all my middle-of-the-night glory, standing at the top of the stairs and looking ticked.

My eyes were open, and since I've been known to yell at Lovey when he tries to convince me I'm asleep, he knew that approach would not go over too well. So...he took the next most logical step and asked me, "Who's up there?"

I replied indignantly, "You let them in." Shooting daggers out of my eyes.

Lovey: There's no one up there.

Me: Yes there is!

Lovey: No there's not. No one's here. And even if they are here, they're up there with you and you don't need to worry about it. It's ok.

(Side note: Really, hon, "they're up there with you"?? Like that's encouraging to a crazed sleeping person...)

After a bit more arguing, I guess I did finally go back to bed - much to Lovey's relief. :) But what's really startling about this whole story is...when did I begin sleep walking? And what if I had fallen down the stairs?!?!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

When in doubt, post pics

Yikes. Has it really been 13 days since I last posted?? It's not that I'm at a lack for posting ideas....I have so many thoughts swirling around in my head -- as well as recent happenings that I'd like to share -- but it seems I never have the time to get them down. And when I do have the time, my mind is blank.

Go figure.

However, to keep myself in the groove a bit...I will share a few photos from our recent Mexico Night with some kids from our church. :) Joe and I were in charge of games...and whoooeee!! Talk about exhaustion! It was great fun....but we were totally and completely wiped by the end of the night. :)


Doesn't she look festive? :)


Me and one of the results of "Dress-A-Cactus"
(AND, but the way...Joe MADE that cactus. From our old carpet roll!! Yeeuh!


Little Senor :)


Two of my favorite boys :)


And this one's a freebie....can anyone guess who's in the Chuck E. Cheese suit??
(though you may already know from my facebook....:D )