Thursday, August 28, 2008

Links to Pictures

I know that I have actually put pictures in the last few posts so many of these are repeats BUT if you want to see more pictures from July and August click the month and you can see a few more.

Now we are headed off to the last free movie of the summer. Sad to see summer end but excited for the new school year to start!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Update on our Current Status

The last time I blogged it was about the robbery that took place here. I just wanted to give a little update on that situation. Glenn’s bike was found the next day because a 15 year old boy was riding it not too far from here. It is still at the police department being held as evidence but Glenn should get it back soon. Nothing else was recovered but the Lishawa’s computer was covered by their homeowners insurance so hopefully they will be able to get a new one sometime soon. We were phone-less for about 2 ½ weeks which was kind of annoying and kind of a blessing. We ended up signing another 2 year contract with Verizon and were able to keep our same numbers so you can now call us again if you want to. I was very frustrated with Verizon and was ready to just pay to get out of the last 2 months of our old contract but Davette at the Henrietta BJs Verizon kiosk redeemed Verizon for us. We got fun phones at a cheap price because of Glenn’s work discount and our credit for renewing. I am glad because we are still “In” and so much of our family is also.
We are currently still living at the Lishawa’s house. It has been such a blessing living here to us. The kids especially love their big room and the driveway to ride bikes on. The pictures are of the kids' room and the kids playing in the driveway. There are also cucumbers growing in the trees which is very fun! The 4 of us adults finally took the time to sit down and pray together on Monday night which is something that we really wanted to do as we started out living here and it was a blessing and a challenge to all of us.
Glenn’s application for med school is just about done and he has found a few research jobs at UofR that he is applying for. Hopefully we will start hearing back soon.
We will be starting homeschooling sometime next week. Dad’s burial is on Monday and I think that we are going to have a party on the first day of public school and go out and do something fun since we can J Caleb will be doing 3rd grade and Hannah will be doing 1st. I’ll be doing some preschool stuff with Lydia and Abigail as well so that they don’t wreck havoc all day.
If you have further questions about our status feel free to leave a comment or email me.

Family Camp and Philippians

It has been a while since I blogged. I remember earlier in the week I was excited to see that our pastor had blogged again and I was reminded again that I haven’t in a while though I have so much to blog about so here is another one.

We went to Family Camp at LeTourneau Christian Conference Center August 14-17. Glenn had asked for those days off because of our anniversary but we hadn’t made any plans so when Mrs. Emerson had told us about it we said, “Why not?”

There were not many families there but since we all had at least 4 kids there were quite a few people. J We stayed in one of the new bungalows which was pretty nice though we did have a hike a little bit to use the facilities. There was an Olympic theme with lots of fun events. Each family was their own country and we made flags to represent ourselves. We were the “Maas-Eye” (named after the African tribe). Glenn came up with the name and I came up with the flag idea. There is one eye for each of us and our motto was ”Fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Besides the Olympic events we also got to go swimming in Canandaigua Lake every day which the kids loved. The kids all made friends and were sad to say good-bye.

The speaker for the weekend was Ray Torrey which was a surprise to me. He had taught with my mom for several years and was friends with both of my parents. I knew that I was going to see Carol Emerson (who had been my mom’s principal for many years) but was not expecting to see Ray. God did a work in my heart, another step in the grieving process of losing my parents with being around the 2 of them. It was fitting that in my quiet time for that week I was in 1 Thessalonians 4:13ff. What a comfort for the reminder that we do “not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” God is so good.

We were challenged through Philippians to have an eternal perspective and to keep our focus on the prize which is Jesus Christ. Philippians was re-enforced this past Sunday in church when we were challenged by the life of Bob Kohler who recently died and our youth pastor had the privilege of being a part of his funeral. He had been a missionary sent out from our church in 1939 to the Philippines for about 70 years and his life verse was Philippians 1:21 “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” I want to record the 4 life lessons here just so I don’t forget them:

1. Living for Christ doesn’t spare us from pain.

2. Living for Christ multiplies our impact on the lives of people.

3. Living for Christ gives eternal perspective to this temporal life.

4. Living for Christ reminds us that life is not about me.

I am currently reading Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper and The Grand Weaver by Ravi Zacharias and through all of these things I am reminded and challenged again and again. I want to live for Jesus. I want my life to have an eternal impact. It starts here, with the 7 people I am currently living with, but also outside of here. I want to turn people to Him everywhere I go. As I typed this I had to get out the hymn book and look up Living for Jesus. It truly is “the pathway of blessing for me.” Oh Lord, please help me to live for You today.

2, 4, 6, 8 the Maas family is really great now that Hannah is 6!!

This is our 100th post and we have a great reason Hannah to celebrate! I have been looking forward to yesterday for a LONG time but probably for a different reason than. Yesterday was Hannah’s 6th birthday. I have been looking forward to it because for the next 3 months I will be able to say my kids are 2,4,6&8. I know that it is goofy but I think that it is so fun! I am loving this stage of parenting (for the most part). Our kids are all at such fun ages and are independent but not TOO independent J.

It was a fun day. After birthday cinnamon rolls we went out to play with Hannah’s new Tag Tails. It was so much fun chasing each other and snagging each other’s tails. We played Steal the Zookeeper’s lunch which was a lot of fun! Hannah loved the zebra tail because it has pretty ribbons off the end of it.

We ate a quick lunch then met up with the Chalone’s at the Museum of Play. We hit all of Hannah’s favorites – the Dance Lab, Clifford, Reading Adventureland, and of course Wegmans. Hannah loves being a cashier and even got to check out some other customers' groceries, not just her own. After playing for a few hours we went outside and shared cupcakes that Rebecca had brought and snacks and played on the playground. It was fun to share Hannah’s birthday trip to the museum with some friends.

After we got home we had Hannah’s birthday dinner of hot dogs and hamburgers and corn. Brian and Kristina were home so it was fun to share it with them. Hannah wanted a doll cake again this year. The frosting was a little too soft so I put her in the freezer so she didn’t melt too much. Glenn had to take a picture because it looked like she was surrendering or maybe lifting her hands in praise, we weren't sure. After cake and ice cream we had a little praise session while we were cleaning up which was a lot of fun. We are so thankful for Brian and Kristina! They have been such a blessing to us!

Here is the birthday girl with her doll cake. I did dots instead of squiggles this year.

The day ended with this cute sight of Caleb reading to his sisters. What a great day!

Friday, August 08, 2008

A Thief in the Day

Well, we had a new experience yesterday. We are staying at our friends Brian and Kristina's house until Glenn gets his application done and gets a new job (hopefully 2 months or less). We were out front pulling weeds while Glenn worked on his essay in the front yard for a little while. While we were out there someone walked into the house, walked upstairs, took our cell phones, and Brian and Kristina's laptop in Glenn's Timbuktu messenger bag and then left taking Glenn's $300 mountain bike. I remember seeing a bright green bike out of the corner of my eye while we were pulling weeds but, though I have never really seen another one that color before, it never would have crossed my mind that it would be Glenn's because we were in the front yard! We borrowed the neighbor's phone and called the police and Verizon to cancel our phones and the bank to put a stop on our debit card because I don't remember putting it where it was in my purse. 

I feel so violated and insecure but there are so many things to be thankful for:
* It is just stuff. 
* The kids didn't go into the house to go to the bathroom while the thief was inside.
* So much more could have been taken... Kristina's wedding rings, our cameras, passports, so many other things.
* Caleb - "No one went inside while he was stealing."
* Brian and Kristina were really frustrated with their computer and wanted to buy a new one... I just feel really bad about all the information and pictures that was on it that can't be replaced.
* We all hope to work overseas someday and know that we will be stolen from there, this is just training grounds.

Last night when we were putting the kids to bed we were reading the one year Bible for kids. The passage was from Luke 12:35-48. We laughed after reading vs. 39 "Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into." Oh, how fitting it is to read the Word of God. He always has something for us. The passage goes on in verse 40 "You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected."  We were further challenged in the last couple of verses "And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn't prepared and doesn't carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much even more will be required."

Yes, I wasn't ready yesterday for a thief. If I would have known I would have locked the door and the garage when we were in the front yard. (Brian and Kristina have both told us that they would never have locked them up while they were in the front yard though so they say we didn't do anything wrong.) How much more important it is to be ready for Christ's return. He will come like a thief in the night (which never meant anything to me until yesterday). The little devotional after the Bible reading said, "Jesus' disciples were to be ready for his return. Jesus told them that he would be coming again soon. But no one would know when. So they would have to be ready at all times. Being ready means obeying Jesus' commands and serving him daily by helping and loving others. Everyone needs to be ready. Continue to obey and serve him. If you do, when Jesus comes, you'll be ready."

I feel insecure in so many ways but I know that God is in control and He loves me. I own nothing, it is all on loan to me from God. I am struggling with being disconnected from Glenn. We've had 2 cell phones for almost 2 years and before that for almost 2 years we had 1 and a land line. Now I don't even have any idea how to contact him at work if I need him and he has no way to contact me besides email. I trust that he got to work today OK on his other bike but he hasn't emailed so I don't know. The 3 mile trip took about 15 minutes last time. He is in God's hands and that is where I will have to leave him and trust our God.  I got out our hymn book because it is such a comfort and went straight to It Is Well with My Soul because of this video that we watched in church recently: 
"When peace, like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll; whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, 'It is well, it is well with my soul.'
"Though Satan should buffet, tho trials should come, Let this blest assurance control, That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
"My sin - O the bliss of this glorious thought, My sin - not in part but the whole, Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul.
"And, Lord haste the day when the faith shall be sight, the clouds be rolled back as a scroll, The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend, 'Even so' - it is well with my soul.
"It is well with my soul, it is well, it is well with my soul."

I love that hymn and it has always meant even more knowing the story behind it. I love hearing my kids sing it. God is good. I can trust Him. He knows our needs and He will take care of us.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Digging and Dunking

Yesterday was an amazing day. It had a really rough start though. I have been so nervous about life living in someone else's house that I was on edge with everyone before church in the morning and everyone got the brunt of my anxiety. I am so thankful for my family that loves me and forgives me!! We made it to church about 40 minutes late and I cried through the whole service. I knew that it was stuff I needed to hear, I just didn't want to hear it! 

During the 10am hour instead of Sunday School we went outside to have the ground breaking for our new sanctuary. North Baptist Church has been growing and we are currently at 3 services (we've backed down to 2 for the summer but they are both really full most Sundays). All of the permissions are in place from the city and we were ready to break ground. A few people spoke, including the mayor as we stood in the new sanctuary outlined with white paint then everyone had the opportunity to help dig with the over 100 shovels that people had brought to the church for the occasion. We even made the news. Here is a picture of us at the dig that my friend Melissa took. 

We then went to the 11am ser
vice because I needed to hear it again and be there for the whole service. It was re
ally good. David Whiting's brother Greg preached on Esther a story I have heard tons of times but it was neat to look at it again now. He talked about how our circumstances are not a series of unrelated events but allowed by God for His purposes. It is so comforting to know that our loving God is in control. God is in control - will I trust Him? He gave 4 "so what?" statements that were really good:
1. Be aware that God is working, even in times of silence.
2. God has placed you where you are (right now at 477 Rugby Ave for me) for His purposes.
3. God is the hero, He is in control, even when things seem hopeless.
4. North Baptist Church [and I are] here for such a time as this.
At the end of the service we sang the new song for the month called Lift High
"Broken people, call His name. Helpless children, Praise the King.  Nothing brings Him greater fame When broken people call His name.
Lift High - your chains undone, All rise - Exalt the Son, Jesus Christ - the Holy One, We lift our eyes to You
Sinners all, exalt the Son. Your ransom paid and freedom won. We will see His kingdom come When sinners all exalt the Son.
Lift up your heads, oh lift up your heads, Look on Him"
I'm thankful for the work that God did in my heart today.

After church we wanted to give Brian and Kristina a chance to settle in and recooperate from their vacation without masses of Maas' but we didn't really have any plans. We were playing on the playground after getting the kids and my friend Rebecca invited us over to share lunch and play. It was a fun afternoon and she even edited part of the essay which was great.

At 6 we all went up to Durand Eastman Park on Lake Ontario for the annual Church at the Beach. 13 people were baptized and we got to sing and hear their stories of how God has worked in their lives. It was so amazing. I am always astounded at how God works differently in every person's life! It was an outreach too because we were right by the bike path and people would stop and listen to us sing and to the stories. I got the chance to talk to a lady outside the porta-potty while waiting for Abigail's turn (she told me the potty was 'yucky!') and she and her husband stopped by for a while on their walk. One thing that I thought was really neat about the baptism was that each person had someone who was significant in their spiritual walk help to baptize them. It was really moving. 

After the baptism the kids ran around and played. A little boy named Drew told us that he is going to marry Hannah which made us think of a funny story that we hadn't blogged about last week so pardon this interruption my blog about Sunday. We were talking about how it was important to learn to respect and obey mommy and daddy because it teaches them to respect and honor God and others who may be in authority over them in the years to come since they will only live with us for probably around 18 years. "Why?" I was asked. I told them because then they would be grown up and go to college and get jobs and get married and stuff. Abigail turned to me and asked "Me too?" I said yes and she said with wonder in her voice, "I'm getting married!" It was SO funny! The rest of the night she kept telling us that she was getting married like it was going to happen in the next 5 minutes and kept us laughing. 

Back to Sunday. It turned out to be a perfect day both for the dig and the dunk. God is so good! It looked like it was going to rain but it didn't and the cloudy day made it so that it wasn't miserably hot or hard to see. The sun set on the way home was beautiful too. 

Alright Nan, I blogged. Are you happy? I can't figure out how to upload pictures to this computer (I still haven't totally figured out the Mac thing yet) so when I download pics to our PC later I will upload them here.

One last quote that was in our bulletin: "We are faced with great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations." Chuck Swindoll