Monday, July 20, 2009

Kids and Death

Wow, I can only say this last week I have felt almost every emotion I can imagine. Last Sunday as we traveled out to Springfield, IL I debated how much I should shield my kids from what was happening with grandpa. When we arrived in Springfield, JA dropped me off at the hospital and I was able to sit with grandpa (he was in a stage 4 coma) for awhile.

The next morning we brought the kids in to meet grandpa and they sang some songs to grandpa. Then JA and Joel took them out to the park, and later they were in and out of grandpa's room. Tuesday was very similar to Monday.

Wednesday morning my grandfather died, and other than telling them that grandpa was no longer in the hospital, but he was now in heaven I wasn't going to expose them to more. But then, Friday night was the wake at the funeral home. JA and I took the kids, but we really didn't know what to expect from them. I am amazed at how much the girls were able to pick up on. I think Kara started to understand when my little brother came back from viewing grandpa and was bawling. Kara started crying, and I left her with someone while I took Lydia up to go see grandpa. In front of grandpa I asked Lydia where grandpa was, and she said right there. I took that opportunity to explain that grandpa's body was right there, but that he was now in heaven singing to Jesus.

I wasn't going to push Kara. I decided to let her go at her own rate. After she saw her cousin Corbyn went up to talk with grandpa, Kara decided she wanted to go, and she literally dragged me up there.

Kara stared at grandpa and said "Grandpa's not there"
Mom : "Where is grandpa?
Kara: "In heaven"
Mom: "What is he doing in Heaven?"
Kara: "Singing"

Later during the wake, I was sitting up front by my mom, and Kara came up to me. (She had colored a picture for Grandpa at the hospital and Dorothy wanted it to be put in the casket with Grandpa). I told her that we were going to put it in the casket and she responded "I want Grandpa to take it with him to heaven." I then had to explain to her that when we die we can't take things to heaven with us. Then she replied "When Oma goes to heaven will she take gobstoppers with her if they are in her pocket?"

Some other fun things the kids said were:

Daddy to Lydia: God called Grandpa home to heaven
Daddy the next day: We are going home
Lydia: Are we going to heaven now? How to we get to heaven?
Lydia on the way home: God told us to go home. Daddy, did Jesus say we have to go home?

Lydia: I miss my grandpa. Can I go to heaven and see my grandpa? How do I go to heaven?
Kara: "One way God says to get to heaven, Jesus is the only way" (singing)

As we walked away from the gravesite, Lydia exclaimed "Mommy, we forgot to plant grandpa in the ground." -- I had explained earlier to the girls that we were going to plant grandpa's body in the ground so that when Jesus comes back grandpa's body would go up to Jesus.

Last night after I put them to bed in their own beds for the first time in a week, Lydia woke up and came crying to me "I miss my grandpa" As I tried to calm her down and explain that grandpa was happy in heaven, Kara called out. I'm going to go to heaven when I die and see grandpa.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Last Mile of the Way

As my grandfather reaches the end of his time here on earth, and I sit at home waiting for the news, my mom called and asked me to find a song that was sung and several funerals in my grandfather's family. I was able to find the song in an old hymnal, and a friend came by to play it for me so that I can learn it.

I find the words to this song very refreshing as I think about my purpose here on earth. I hope you also find the sweet reminder of death not being the end refreshing to your spirit.

If I walk in the pathway of duty,
If I work till the close of the day,
I shall see the great King in His beauty
When I've gone the last mile of the way.

When I've gone the last mile of the way,
I will rest at the close of the day,
And I know there are joys that await me,
When I've gone the last mile of the way.

If for Christ I proclaim the glad story,
If I seek for His sheep gone astray,
I am sure He will show me His glory
When I've gone the last mile of the way.

Here the dearest of ties we must sever,
Tears of sorrow are seen every day,
But no sickness, no sighing forever,
When I've gone the last mile of the way.

And if here I have earnestly striven,
And have tried all his will to obey,
'Twill enhance all the rapture of heaven,
When I've gone the last mile of the way.

Friday, July 10, 2009

A New Carrier

Ever since Kara was born, I have been carrying my children in a ring sling called a Maya Wrap. I love my ring sling, and have gotten a lot of use out of it. However, as we prepare to go to Africa, I don't have the same confidence of being able to carry a wriggly one year old in it. Plus, I have never felt comfortable carrying my kids on my back in the ring sling.Ezekiel about two months old
So, as we get ready for our trip I have been looking for all sorts of back carriers. One problem. All of the ones I seemed to like cost well over $100. Then we went to the Homeschool convention in May. While we were there I saw a woman carrying two kids -- one on her back and one on her front. For both of them she was wearing a Mai Tai Sling that she had made. She let me look at it (when I later ran into her and her kids were sleeping in the stroller). It really seemed quite simple and easy to use -- and definately lighter weight than any of the expensive ones I had been looking at.

When we got home from convention I remembered that my friend Jenny had purchased one of these when her first born was born. After contacting her I was able to get in contact with Dream Haven Baby. I absolutely love it. Erin even went out of her way to find me a lighter weight material to work with my carrier so that I wouldn't overheat when we were in Africa. The price was also very reasonable -- just about the cheapest carrier I've used and very versitle.
Ezekiel at 11 months old
Today I tried it out for the first time, and while my back is a little sore after carrying Key for two hours, I'm sure as I get used to it I won't even notice any pain. Ezekiel certainly loved it

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Back in March, Kara and Lydia participated in a community theatre production of The 12 Dancing Princesses. It's taken me a while to figure out how to edit the videos, I hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Works of Monday

We have had several blessings this past week. JA and I were able to have a wonderful date on Thursday -- the first we've had alone since Ezekiel was born. I am so thankful for a wonderful friend who I can swap babysitting with.

Another praise is all of the VBS decorations we were able to borrow from my parents church. We also have another church that we are borrowing decorations from, so this means very little work for us in regards to decorating the church -- All I have to do is figure out where to put everything :)

A huge praise regarding Ezekiel -- Both of his tests last week came back clear. That means he does not have a kidney reflux. So hopefully this will have been his only staph infection in the urinary track. We are still waiting to get the results to find out if the infection is gone.

I am constantly finding my children to be a source of joy and a great reminder of God's goodness and His truth. Yesterday afternoon while he was waiting for lunch, Andy was singing "I've got the Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy." Kara is constantly singing about God and Jesus -- she is making songs up, and I am thrilled to hear her sing about what she believes about God. Lately she has been singing about God always being with her. We occasionally have to correct her theology, but usually she is correct on truths that many adults struggle with believing. Isn't it awesome to have the childlike faith!

One of these days I will try to record a video of one of her made up songs, but until then here is a video of her singing this morning.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

For love of God and Country

As we celebrate America's Independence today, my thoughts were drawn upwards to God. Two hundred and thirty three years ago, men were willing to sacrifice their lives to establish a country where men and women could be free to live and worship without a distant country governing us when they didn't even know how we lived.

I have to admit that as a believer in America, the future seems very dim in regards to our freedom to preach the gospel and live in a way that pleases God. And while in my heart I want to leave and teach in a foreign land favorable to the preaching of Christ, I know for a fact that God has placed me here and this is where I must live and serve my Lord.

The other day I was talking with my mom and patriotic lessons for Sunday School, and I mentioned the passage of Scripture where Christ is approached about not paying taxes. What does Christ do? He sends Peter off to go fishing. The amazing thing about this fishing trip is that when Peter caught a fish, he discovered a coin in the fishes mouth with which they paid the taxes. Christ concluded this lesson with the message "Render unto Cesar what is Cesar's."

How does this apply to me? Quiet simply, as an American citizen, I need to obey and honor the laws that I am governed by. This means I pay ALL of my taxes and don't attempt to cheat the government. This means I need to support my senator's and congressmen with prayer and encouragement to make wise and Biblical decisions. This means that no matter how much I may disagree with our president, I must have respect for his office and not make accusations or talk badly about the man himself.

And yet, this is not all that Scripture has to say about my loyalty to America. You see, there are some laws that are already in place and others that are soon to be in place that are anti-biblical. They stand for everything against God's holiness.

In Acts 5, Peter and some of the other apostles were thrown in prison for preaching. When they were released from prison, they were given the order to no longer preach Christ. Their response to this command is found in verse 29 "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men." In dealings with America, my loyalty and support must be for my country, but wherever American laws go against Biblical commands, I must take a stand and obey God first.

The Bible has established a very clear pattern of Authority -- "God first, government second." God established government to help establish order.

I hope and pray everyone has a wonderful Fourth of July

Happy Birthday America

Friday, July 03, 2009

Dating my Husband

Marriage is such a blessing, and God has given me the priviledge to be married to the most amazing man. J.A. is also a very godly man.

Yesterday JA and I had our first date alone since Ezekiel was born. We had so much fun, and enjoyed every minute of our time alone without having to stop fights, change diapers, or even listen to complaints about being hungry. For the most part our date wasn't all that exciting. We did do a bit of shopping. For a really fun part of our day, we decided to go to Sears and get portraits taken of just the two of us. We haven't had professional pictures of just us since the wedding. After seven and a half years, we figured it was about time. We had some fabulous pictures taken which you can view here

We had a fabulous photographer, and she was so kind. She gave us some recommendations as to where we should go out to eat. She even gave us the biggest complement about our marriage that we could receive after seven years and four kids. She asked us if we were newlyweds. She even asked us if we were a blended family (since we were so happy together and already had four kids). What an incredible testimony of our love for someone to think we were newlyweds.
One of the best parts of this date was that we had a ton of fun, received some fantastic pictures, and I paid less than $5.50. Now I won't tell you how much we spent on our supper because that was not the most frugal of meals -- but than again, someone had given us $20 a month ago to do something special just the two of us, so maybe it was frugal for us :)

I'm always on the look out for fabulous, fun, and frugal dates. Please take some time to share with me what you and your husband do for dates, or how do you keep the newlywed spirit in your marriage.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Boutique Style Wipes Case Giveaway

Tired of the typical baby wipes travel case? Want something to perk up your diaper bag? Check out Spend Freely to enter to win a Boutique Style Wipes Case.

Don't have a baby? Don't worry, enter to win it for a great baby shower gift.