Thursday, September 21, 2006

A Make-Over. . .

I still remember the first time I saw her. We were worn out after spending the entire day looking at houses to no avail. She was our last stop. I was feeling pretty hopeless by this point. Every other house we looked at that day just wasn't home. You know how you just know? Several of the houses were very nice, but they didn't feel like home. I was begininng to feel disappointed. I had such high hopes of finding "the perfect home for us." After all, we would most likely start our family in this home. . . But, disappointment left me the instant I saw her. A simple, humble home that beckoned us to enter. Before I opened the car door, my heart knew. . . we were home. She was so warm and inviting. And, I loved her. It was spring and the azaleas were in full bloom. We were taken with her. As we looked at the interior, we were only affirmed in our thinking. Although the decor (which consisted mostly of dead animals) was not our taste (not to mention the odd layout of the house and the pokey things on the ceiling), we felt at home inside her. After a long hard day, we were finally home.

I'll never forget the first night we spent in her. Our furniture was to be delivered the next day, so we slept cuddled in blankets on the floor of our new master bedroom. My mind was alive that night with dreams of the life that would happen in this new home of ours. We were so thankful, so overwelmingly thankful for her.

And, now five years and two children later, we are still here. Birthday parties, play-dates, and too many firsts to name have taken place under the shelter of her roof. We have loved her. We have loved the carpet to shreds, loved paint off the doors and walls, loved many linoleum tiles off the floor, loved a few too many stains on her white formica countertops, and we have outloved our living space. So, after much discussion and debate, we have decided to add-on and renovate our beloved home. For the next 4-6 months we will live in a small duplex across town. But, we will come home every day to check on her progress and to let the boys play in the yard.

Many of our friends don't understand why we don't just buy land and build a house. But, how could we when this is home. I trained for my marathon on these country roads that surround her. We brought two boucing baby boys home to her. Joshua's Orchard (a row of fruit trees that Erik planted the spring after Joshua was born) sits just to the left of her. She is our home, and we aren't ready to leave her.

The man who built our home just happens to live across the street. Mr. Cole (or Mr. Tole as Joshua calls him) has agreed to renovate our home for us. Joshua is constantly asking us, "When is Mr. Tole going to break our house? When is he just going to tear down our walls?" And, now we have an answer for him - Monday. Yes, Monday, he will begin the process which will take what will seem like forever to accomplish. But, one day he will finish her, and on that glorious day, I will put before and after pics in a post. So, until that time, my blogging may be sporadic. We will see how it goes. . .

All in all, we are excited about the changes. I am thankful that we are able to add-on to her and make her even more ours. . . But, I am even more thanful that when we pack up and move out of her on Sunday, we can know that it isn't for long. We will be back for many more years and many more memories. I know it is silly, but she really is a part of us. And, I am excited for her. After all, what girl doesn't love a good make-over every now and then. . .

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Cutting a Deal with a 3 Year Old

I had just about had it with all the "Yeah"s and "Nope"s, so I felt compelled to cut a deal. Right or wrong I cut a deal with my 3 year old son. Bribery, Lisa Whelchel said it is okay to use it. In fact, she highly recommends it! So, here was our deal. . . For every "Yes Ma'm" or "No Ma'm," Joshua receives one M&M. Sounds simple enough, and at first it worked like a charm. But, then, he got a little shifty with it!!! First, he came up to me and said, "Tell me you love me." So, I quickly responded, "I love you, little man." To which he immediately came back with, "Yes Ma'm, you do love me." And, at dinner we heard comments like, "Yes, Ma'm these potatoes sure are good," (without a prompting question from me or his father). So, we had to explain that he would only get M&M's for saying "Yes Ma'm" in response to a question, etc. I have heard enough "Yes Ma'm"s in the last 24 hours to last a lifetime. . .

Friday, September 15, 2006

A true friend. . .

Quick Update: My sweet Sister-in-love, Cecilia, has had the surgery to test more lymphnodes and to place her port for chemo. She will now take 2-3 weeks to heal from surgery, and then she will begin 6 months of aggressive chemotherapy.

Oh, I cannot tell you how much I am learning watching her go through this trial! She is amazingly resilient and has the best attitude. Many, myself included, would likely take the diagnosis she has been given and throw a nice little pity party, maybe even a temper tantrum. I have not heard an ounce of this in her voice. How God is that! We were talking the other day about her coming to visit me in the spring to see my newborn baby. She paused for a minute and said, "But, Erin, I won't have hair then, and I will have to be in pictures." Then, there was another small pause, and I reminded her, "But, my baby won't have hair either, and that will make a great picture!" And, we both laughed hysterically! And, that has been the amazing attitude that God has graced her with throughout this trial. There is something to be said about the character of a person who can laugh amidst trials.

I have thought alot about friends as I have watched Cecilia go through this trial. Who would I want to go with me to my treatments or to pick out wigs? Cecilia has been richly blessed by God through a friend named Kathy. Kathy, Cecilia, and my mom went to pick out wigs yesterday. And, they turned what could have been a sad day into a very funny day!! They laughed and played and tried on wigs. Kathy would no doubt let Cecilia cry on her shoulder, but I'm not sure that she would let her cry long before the two of them would laugh. She is the kind of friend who lends strength in times of weakness and not pity, hope and not sorrowful tears. And, that is the kind of friend that I would want with me in a trial. I don't think I will need a friend who feels sorry for me. I can do that by myself. I need a friend who will pull me out of that pit and make me laugh, hard, until I can't breathe, until I have forgotten, even if it is only for a second, the trial that I am in.

Kathy did something so neat for Cecilia this week. I cried when my mom told me. She put a sign in Cecilia and Kelly's front yard. The sign says, "Celebrate Cecilia 2007" And, under the words are pictures from brochures of places Cecilia and Kathy can go and things that they can do together when Cecilia's treatments are over. In other words, Kathy's message is this, "Cecilia, look at these plans that I have for us next year. Look at all the fun things we will do. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. I am going to walk with you through this dark tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel, I am going to dance with you in the bright sunshine!" And, that is a true friend. Not a friend who feels sorry for you, but a friend who says you can do this, keep your head up, this trial is only for a season. I love it! Thank You, Jesus for friends like Kathy, who love us through trials with hope, strength, and a good sense of humor!

Monday, September 11, 2006

September the 11th

Growing up I remember hearing adults over and over again discuss where they were when they heard that JFK had been shot. It was, indeed, a shock that changed the nation in just a matter of seconds. I believe that in the same way my generation will always desire to tell the story of where we were when the planes hit the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the sweet soil of Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001. A powerful day for us as a nation and as individuals. So many lives lost so quickly. . . An evil I don't think my mind will ever be able to wrap itself around. . . I hope I never understand that kind of evil. It was a tragedy without comparison. . .

When I woke up on September the 11th 2001, my mind was on one thing. That date has always been significant in my family, and this year it was especially significant. My father was turning 60 that day. I'll never forget the phone call from my mother when she explained to me what was happening. I turned on the TV only to see the second tower be hit by a large plane. And, it was at that moment that the numbness began. I'm not sure when it wore off. . . I was numb with fear with shock and horror. I think I had always assumed somehow that we as a nation were invinsible. And, here we were as a nation - afraid. What was going to happen next? the White House? Were they going to take down Air Force One? I knew that life would never be the same. It was as if, for me anyway, a new kind of evil had entered our peaceful society. We had always known there was evil out there, those who didn't like America, but we had somehow managed to keep our lives separate, safe, and secure. But, that day everything changed in a matter of a few hours. . .

I remember walking my dog with my husband that night. The night seemed frighteningly silent. As we walked along, my eyes were drawn to the dark beautiful sky filled with twinkling stars but completely void of the flashing lights of aircrafts. It made me realize how much a part of a normal night sky those flashing airplane lights are. I hadn't really noticed them until they were gone, and the night sky seemed lonely without them. When we went to bed that night, it was the first time I ever remember going to bed afraid. I couldn't sleep. I saw images of the twin towers in my head. What would happen during the night? Was it over? It was a long night full of uncertainty.

But, thankfully, fear was not the only emotion that stirred our souls that day. Selflessness and heroism reigned on this tragic day. Obviously Todd Beamer and flight 93 is the first to come to mind. I have always found it interesting and so very like God to allow their plane to crash into an open field killing no one on the ground. They could have landed in a city or a small town, but instead it was that sweet Pennsylvania pastureland that accepted the sacrifice of those brave men. Beautiful, truly selfless and beautiful. And, then, of course there are the heroes of New York. The brave firefighters and policemen who in doing their duties sacrificed so much. . . their own fears, sleep, comfort, and many sacrificed their lives. So, in as a much as it was a horribly sad day, it was also a day full of acts of rare selflessness that we don't often have the opportunity of witnessing. And, that was a bright shining light on a very dark day.

So, today, five years later, I sat in front of the TV and took it all in again. I felt the emotions of that day all over again. I am so thankful to relive it. I don't want to forget. Ever. As I watched my boys playing this morning, I thought of the day when I will share with them where I was on September 11, 2001. I will probably tell them the same story every year on Sept. 11th. And, they may tire of hearing it, but they will know what happened that day and the impression it made on me and our country. I will make sure of that.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Home to me. . .

I love this man with all my heart! I adore him, and that is a very good thing since I promised to live with him for as long as we both shall live! He is perfect - for me, anyway!! One minute he is cracking me up, and the next minute he is ready to sit down, look me straight in the eyes (this is very important to me :-), and have a very serious heart to heart talk about whatever I feel the urge to discuss. He listens to my ramblings. To be honest, I think he finds them rather amusing. And, even though I worry about virtually everything and he worries about absolutely nothing, he still, with great patience and love, listens to me and encourages me. (Huge run-on! Sorry, Sarah!) He is truly the most selfless person I have ever met. And, he takes care of me, good care of me, and I am so safe with him. My respect and adoration for him has only grown with each passing year. He still gives me butterflies. . .

I thought that I would share a poem I wrote for him for our 7th wedding anniversary. Sarah, again, have mercy on me. I am a nurse not a writer. . .

Home to Me
You are home to me,
My strong leader, my rock,
and my safe peaceful place,
where I love to be. . .
You are calm, steady, not easily shaken,
my true constant in this rocky world.
You are my passion, my laughter,
my joy, and my peace.
You are to me strength and gentleness,
confidence and humility.
Your eyes are soft with love,
Your voice tender with grace.
Your right hand is driven and hardworking,
Your left hand is generous and giving.
You are my close reflection of Christ,
Making Him real to me through the example of your life.
Your eyes are ever outside yourself,
always alert to the needs of those around you.
And, quick is your response to meet those needs.
You model selflessness and patience in everything you do.
And, when I am worried and full of fear,
it is with your whole heart you listen,
and with your embrace you comfort me.
You are all things good and true.
You are faithful and unchanging,
day after day and year after year.
How blessed am I to find my earthly refuge in your shadow.
You are my protection,
and in your arms I am treasured and secure.
My precious guide,
as we journey this life together,
it matters not where we live or what we do. . .
If you are beside me, then I am home.
You, my Love, are home to me,
My safe peaceful place,
I will never leave.
I love you, Erin

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sweet Baby James

Okay, so he's not really all that much of a baby anymore!! But, he is still my baby at least for the next 9 months, and really, he always will be. This is my little crowd pleaser! The word "shy" has never been used in the same sentence as the words "James Christofer." When we go places, he literally reaches for perfect strangers as if to say, "Please take me to a place far away and much more interesting than my mother's hip." He is all smiles and laughs. And, now that he has started singing - watch out!! He sings very loud, and well umm. . . a little off key!! But, he is adorable. . .

He is into everything!! EVERYTHING!! And, when we get on to him, he smiles and continues to do whatever he is doing!! He is quite a different little boy from his parent-pleasing brother! I am learning. And, that makes me all the more excited to see what his sweet new brother or sister will be like!! God is so amazingly creative.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Boy Mama

Hallalujah, Praise the Lord!! I got a picture to appear on my blog!!! As I have mentioned in a previous blog, I am NOT very computer savvy!! So, this is an amazing accomplishment for me!!

This picture is of my first born, my darling Joshua. I find myself calling him exactly that, "my Joshua." He is mine, and I adore him! This is the son who sang, "Applesauce, Applesauce where I first saw the light, and the burden of my heart rolled away." (Baby praise post) And, yes, this is the son who felt sorry for me because I do not have a "poe poe."

When I played house, as a little girl, I always had girl baby dolls. I guess I always assumed that I would one day have a house full of girls. I have always been a "girly girl." I have never played sports. I can run distance, but anything that requires an ounce of coordiantion is way out of my league. So, when we found out that our first born was going to be a boy, I had to wonder why God would choose to make me a "boy mama." I wouldn't know what to do with a boy!! After the ultrasound revealed that my baby had a "poe poe," I called my mom. I remember saying, "Mom, what will I do? There isn't a boy bone in my body." To which she quickly replied, "Yes there is. Actually there are around 200 boy bones in your body right now!!"

And, now a little over 3 years later, I wonder what I would do without this precious boy in my life!! I never imagined that I could love someone so deeply. He has changed the way I see myself. I now get dirty and sweaty nearly every afternoon. Without him I would never have known what it is like to dance in a mud puddle while the rain falls on my face. I would never have known how to tackle or shoot baskets, or play with tractors and trains!! We work very hard at our play!! And, I am learning so much about myself through this little boy! I am so thankful that God knows better than we do exactly what we need. Thank You, Lord, for knowing me better than I know myself. And, thank You for the blessing of my Joshua!
My photo
Hi! I live in a sweet country home overflowing with love, laughter, and little ones. I have been blessed to journey these days beside a man that I love, respect, and admire. He is my soul-mate and best friend. Together we are seeking to raise our seven children to be lovers of God, to be wise and discerning, and to be all that our sweet God created them to be. I am in the goldfish and cheerio stage of life, but I am keenly aware that these days are slipping right through my hands. This blog is my attempt to keep our memories safe for years to come.


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