Saturday, June 28, 2008
You know you have a big gas tank when....
Our friend Karen let us borrow her little SUV while she is in CA working at a camp this summer. We've only used it a couple of times but it was getting low so I thought I would go and fill it up and put gas in it. It was pretty close to E. I put in my card and started filling up and it stopped at $50 something. What?? I was so excited! I think that 4 years ago when we bought the Burb we filled up for $50 something once when we were in GA. I have not filled the Burb yet this year. The pumps stop at $75 and then you have to re-insert your credit card. I don't bother. I just pray that that $75 will last us a long time and just drive around until I have to put another $75 in which I usually have to do twice a month (and we hardly drive anywhere - except this month with all the extra planned and unplanned trips.) I was super excited to fill up for just over $50 - Karen will probably be disgusted that it cost that much :)
A sandy seat...
A couple weeks ago when Glenn was working on a Sunday Caleb skipped Sunday School and went to jump in Lake Ontario with Brian. I didn't have his swim suit in the car so he just went in the shorts that he wore to church. After they dried they were put into the dirty clothes to be washed but as I was pulling the darks out to be washed and noticed Caleb's shorts in there I was disgusted b/c from what I could remember he had only worn them to church so they were definitely clean enough to wear again so I put them on his bed to wear to church. When he got home from church he told me that when he looked at the chair that he had sat on in Sunday School there was a pile of sand there and I remembered... he had worn those shorts in the lake! We all had a good laugh at my expense.
Kristina came over and helped me sort/ pack the kids' room on Wednesday and in that process we found "Bomber Man." They are cute little marble shooters that I think are Japanese that we bought off the Chamberlain's garage sale when they were leaving Houghton. We only really get them out when we are moving but they are super fun toys. The kids have been having a blast playing Bomber Man but watch out... the marbles hurt when you step on them!
The Ultimate Mandolin...
I think that it was worth starting my business for that one item. This morning we had strawberries on our pancakes and I had Hannah cut up the strawberries with the mandolin and it worked great. I would never have been able to have my 5 year old cut strawberries before I had it and she had so much fun doing it! After slicing the strawberries I washed it and sliced apples to put on the dryer for Caleb's specialty - dried apples. I love that thing!! It slices everything so evenly and has saved me tons of hours in the kitchen!!
And finally, beautiful beach...
Here is a picture of a beach in Dominica called Batibou that I stole from a spouse of a Ross student's blog. It's pretty! Makes you want to go there, eh?? Swimming is the thing that the kids are most excited about if we go to Ross.
We haven't done our kids devotional that we usually read after breakfast and before school in a while but I got it down today. The story was about a boy who shot and killed himself because people made fun of him because he had a long nose and he thought he would never get a wife as a result. The passage was from Philippians 1:20-26. Which talks about Paul's struggle with his desire to die to be with Christ but it being more necessary for him to live because that would mean fruitful labor for Him. We talked about Grandpa Roger and how he had wanted to die for a long time - both b/c he wanted to be with Christ and b/c he was tired of his body that didn't work anymore and for the last 5 years b/c mom was already there. I had talked about this passage with Dad several times over the years. I know that God had a reason for keeping him alive. We talked about how dad was always passing out Gideon New Testaments and how just a few days before he died he was at the Memorial Day parade in town giving them out to people. God may have wanted him to live that long so that someone at the parade could get one of those NTs and come to know Christ as a result. It may have been God's will for dad to die how he did so that He could get His Word into the hands of the emergency personnel that had responded to the call. How I long for the cry of my heart to be "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain." God reminded me this morning of how important it is that to go on living in the flesh means fruitful labor for me. That hasn't been my focus. I have been so depressed and overwhelmed lately that I haven't been focused on really living. "Only one life, twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last." Oh Lord, please help me to have joy that overflows that only comes from you and not to focus on my circumstances but to focus on being faithful today with the tasks you set before me.
Caleb mentioned this song that we sing at North and that it reminds him of Grandpa Roger at the end of devotions this morning. We looked up the lyrics online and sang it with the Vertical Worship CD. I love this song too.
In Christ Alone
In Christ alone, my hope is found
He is my light, my strength, my song
This Cornerstone, this Solid Ground
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm
What heights of love! What depths of peace!
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease
My Comforter, my All-in-All,
Here in the love of Christ I stand
In Christ alone, who took on flesh
Fullness of God in helpless Babe
This gift of love and righteousness
Scorned by the ones He came to save
'Til on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied
For every sin on Him was laid
Here in the death of Christ I live
There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain
Then bursting forth in glorious day
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me
For I am His, and He is mine,
Bought with the precious blood of Christ
No guilt in life, no fear in death
This is the power of Christ in me
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny
No power of hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand
'Til He returns or calls me home
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
What a comfort the Psalms have been lately! Our God is so good! He is faithful through His Word and through friends and circumstances to give us just what we need when we need it. Hallelujah.
June has been a rough month. I am glad that it is drawing to a close. For those of you who don’t know my (Sonja’s) dad passed away on June 3rd. I have blogged about it (see post entitled ‘Dancing on Two Good Legs’) if you want to know more about that. I am so happy for him but I miss him. It is hard not having either of my parents anymore but I know that God will provide the guidance I need and He is a Father to the fatherless.
What is next? Well, our lease is up at the end of July but we have some beloved friends from our community group at church who have graciously offered to let us bunk at their home for a short time. We are waiting to hear back from Ross University School of Medicine (on
Right now we are sorting and packing our stuff. We have too much stuff. I am not sure what we will bring with us or how much luggage we will be allowed. I am pretty certain that we will only be bringing with us what we can fit in our suitcases (which hopefully we will be allowed 12 of). God is teaching me to hold loosely to stuff and that I am too materialistic.
If you want to keep up with what is up with the
In closing I wanted to share the prayer from the end of an email that I got yesterday:
Thank you for your prayers and support through this time.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
In time of trouble, say, "First, he brought me here. It is by his will I am in this strait place; in that I will rest." Next, "He will keep me here in his love, and give me grace in this trial to behave as his child." Then say, "He will make the trial a blessing, teaching me lessons he intends me to learn, and working in me the grace he means to bestow." And last, say, "In his good time he can bring me out again. How and when, he knows." Therefore, say, "I am here (1) by God's appointment, (2) in his keeping, (3) under his training, (4) for his time." ~Andrew Murray.
Yesterday I finally really started packing. There were some tears b/c I am not sure when I will see this stuff again. (God is also showing me that I am too attached to my stuff!) I went through my kitchen and only packed things that I definitely want to keep and I am certain that I won't be taking with me to Dominica. It only amounted to 3 boxes so far. It was hard b/c there were small spots that usually when packing I throw dry goods into but I am not storing dry goods for 3 months - 4 years... Oh, the unknown. God is working in my heart. He is making me more OK with the idea of moving to Dominica everyday. He has shown me that I can trust Him... He will work out the details in His time and provide everything that I need when I need it. Today a friend is coming over to help me attack the kids room and Glenn is going to take the kids somewhere. Hopefully there will be good reports at the end of the day.
I have been crying a lot lately... sometimes for real reasons and sometimes I just don't know why. I have been reading through the Psalms and boy have they been a comfort. It has made me realize that: (1) it is OK to be in despair and (2) that my God is faithful and He will help me through and (3) that God is so worthy to be praised - He has done so many great things for me.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
"In the summer of 1965 the family of Ed and Jean Nelson took a 4 week family trip west. It was a lively 4 week adventure the summer after Alyce, the eldest of the 5 children graduated from high school. Stories of how 2 year old Paul had supposedly fallen into the Grand Canyon and great grandpa declaring [in his thick Swedish accent] "The sun came up in the vest dis morning" still fill family parties with laughter. Using their trip west as an example and seeking to carry on the tradition as children we'd made plans to make a similar trip 31 years later in the summer of 1996. As kids we thought it would be ideal because it would be the last family vacation before I went to college and both my brother and I would have our licenses and would be able to help drive.
As the years went by I figured that the trip would not happen and more and more I didn't want to go but.... the Gideons International Convention was planned for Anaheim, CA and we were on our way. I had dreamed of traveling in one of those plush travel trailers such as the ones that retired people travel in but the family business got a good deal on a '73 camper that was to be our home. With Timber Harvester Portable Bandsawmills plastered on the front and sides for advertisement we started off on July 14.
Bessy, named after the old mare, 'she ain't what she used to be,' took us to many well known as well as quite a few unknown tourist attractions thanks to her many breakdowns. It is some of these places that I would like to tell you about this evening.
Our first unplanned stop was in South Lebanon, Ohio. 2 of Bessy's 6 tired had blown on the second day of our excursion. We walked around while Elmer, a man who had just had bypass surgery 3 weeks before, changed our tired. It was a small town with not much to see. We were told by some of the local folks that we had a distinct NY accent.
Considering the fact that Bessy only averaged 6-7 miles per gallon we visited many gas stations. One very unique gas station was in Possum Junction in Kentucky. With every fill up you got a free plant. Ours lasted most of the trip but died on the way home.
Along with using lots of gas Bessy also required lots of oil. We visited WalMarts in many states to buy cases of oil. We spent a couple of nights parked in the WalMart parking lot waiting until morning when it would open and we could run insides for a couple cases of oil.
The summer of 1996 was the summer of the Olympics and the summer before the presidential election. As a faithful Republican my father thought it necessary to stop in Bob Dole's hometown of Russell, Kansas. We bought postcards and took pictures - Russell [my brother] in Russell.
The final challenge before reaching CA was the Mojave Desert. 119 degrees. Of course Bessy had no air conditioner so we used squirt bottles and ice pops to try to keep cool.
Anaheim KOA was right by the Disney Land parking lot and the Convention Center was on the other side. We never actually went to Disney Land on this trip but we did walk through the parking lot every day. It was neat to walk back to five 4th of July's in a row.
At the end of the convention we headed home. One of our stops was Yellowstone National Park. 4 Buffalo, a doe, 2 fawns, various other wildlife, gysers, Old Faithful 6pm, Great Griper 1st time in ~1 year.
SD interesting state... "Call of the Wild" taxidermy place, Wall Drug full of motorcyclists for Sturgis"
That ends my notes. The other thing I remember from the trip home besides being afraid of killing several Sturgis motorcyclists as Bessy's breaks went out coming down from Mount Rushmore is that my poor brother Russ got strep throat on the way home and we had to stop at a few different medical clinics on the way home. He lost 25 pounds and didn't really get to enjoy the sights because he was so sick.
Well, there is 4 more little pieces of paper to be recycled. Thanks for reading as I save this for posterity's sake. I hope someone got a chuckle out of it. Back to packing for me.
"Our job as Jesus' followers: trust in the Lord (not in the map), delight yourself in the Lord (not in the map), commit your way to the Lord. Just as I ask my wife, "What's next, honey?" You and I just stay close to our Lord and say, "What's next, Lord? Where's the next step?" My wife doesn't usually tell me the next five turns we're going to need to take; all I really need is to know the next step. That's how your divine Navigator wants to take you through this next phase of the journey, showing you one next step or one turn at a time.
In changing seasons or uncertain seasons, we tend to focus on God's will - that perfect cosmic plan that seems like such a massive mystery. But the focus isn't supposed to be on the plan, but on the Planner - not on the map, but the Navigator. It's easy for God to show you what He wants you to do; it's hard to get you to do what He wants. So these times of choice and challenge are designed to draw you deeper into Him, to motivate you to spend greater amounts of time in God's Word and in God's presence, to get you to release your schemes and dreams so He can lead you into His, to sensitize you to recognize and obey those inner promptings of His Holy Spirit."
My focus needs to be Him, not my problems. One verse that I have been praying constantly lately is 2Chron.20:12b "nor do we know what do to, but our eyes are on you." Be faithful today... be faithful today... that is all He ever calls me to do. Please help me Lord to be faithful today.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
In other news we got the kids passports in the mail this week. I also posted pictures on facebook today. Here are pictures from May which include pictures from when Steph and Brody visited and here are pictures from the calling hours and Kendra's visit.
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
But still... I struggle. Now that it is 'all over,' now what? Before heading to church on Sunday I was really needing help from the Lord and He gave me Psalm 46. I think that Glenn read it at mom's funeral 5 years ago. It was one of her favorites:
1 God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah
4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God, The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
7 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.
10 Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!
11 The LORD of hosts is with us; The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah
God is my refuge, the place I can run to and be safe, and He is my strength. He has been faithful and He will remain. I have slept through the night the last couple of nights which has been good. Yesterday morning after reading my Bible I was still struggling so I got out a hymn book. Singing through a hymn book is always faith bolstering to me. So many songs, reminding me of God's faithfulness, His provision, His comfort, His love. I'm struggling, not just with losing my dad but the uncertainty of things like, where we'll be living in 50 days when our lease is up and what we'll be doing in the fall and things like that. One song that God really used in my heart yesterday morning was "I'd Rather Have Jesus." God really asked me, "Would you?" "Would you rather have Jesus than anything 'this world affords today?'" As I was sharing it with Glenn we came up with a new version of the first verse of the song, "I'd rather have Jesus than acceptance to U of R; I'd rather have Jesus than a new car; I'd rather have Jesus than houses or lands; I'd rather be lead by His nail-pierced hands." He truly is "all that my hungering spirit needs" and I can trust Him and let Him lead.
We took Kendra to the train station last night for her to head back home. It was nice to have my sisters-in-law visit but I am looking forward to getting back into some kind of a routine. I'm overwhelmed with our apartment which is a mess and the idea of packing again not knowing where we are going. God knows though and He only asks me to be faithful today... so today I will find my house and start packing relying on His strength and help to get me through. A song that Sue Schrader and Brenda Eastman sang at both of my parents' memorial services is "Press On" by Selah. This song always made my dad cry. God is using this song to help me today so I needed to look at the lyrics once again:
When the valley is deep
When the mountain is steep
When the body is weary
When we stumble and fall
When the choices are hard
When we're battered and scarred
When we've spent our resources
When we've given our all
In Jesus' name, we press on
In Jesus' name, we press on
Dear Lord, with the prize
Clear before our eyes
We find the strength to press on
I'm keeping my eyes on the prize, with His strength and in His name I press on.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I mourn but not as one with no hope. I know without a doubt that I will see my daddy again in heaven because I am trusting in Jesus Christ who paid the price for my sins just like he did. This morning as I read my Bible the verse I was on was talking about being obedient to your parents. I asked God, how can I be obedient to my parents when they aren't here? I was challenged to follow their godly example and seek to do the things that would have pleased them but ultimately to obey my Daddy in heaven. Yesterday morning I decided that I was an orphan but really, I'm not. I am a princess, a daughter of the King of kings and Lord or lords. My earthly daddy was flawed in many ways but my Heavenly Daddy loves me perfectly and will never leave me or forsake me.
I have to share my favorite story from yesterday. Every emergency response vehicle from the area was in my dad's driveway and many family members were there. After it was confirmed that my dad was dead the emergency workers were walking out of the house and trying to offer condolences to my grandparents and what did they see? How I wish I could have been there - My grandpa, a big white haired man in his eighties, with a huge grin on his face was passing them a New Testament thanking them for everything that they had done over the years. I think that they were a little surprised. That is not the normal response from someone who has just lost his son. My grandpa saw it as an awesome opportunity to get God's Word into their hands. Many of them would have definitely refused a copy of God's Word at any other time but how do you say no to a man who just lost his son? I am standing on Isa55:11 "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." That is how my daddy would have wanted it. He was just reprimanding my grandpa the other day for not taking New Testaments with him when he went to the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial recently. With all those people mourning they need the hope that can only be found in God's Word so my grandpa is contacting Gideons in cities where it will be set up so that they can be there, ready with God's Word to help hurting people. My dad's legacy lives on.
Monday, June 02, 2008
In other news - Steph and Brody leave today after going to the Museum of Play with us again. It has been so much fun having them here! Here is a couple pictures of the kids together. I am sure that I will post more to facebook soon.