Friday, June 29, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Dance

It's Friday again. Time to write for 5 minutes on:



When I hear the word "dance" I automatically think of my girls. They love to dance. They dance crazy dances. Even when there is no music. Especially Lydia.

Watching little kids dance is so much fun. They have no inhibitions. They don't worry, "Am I doing it right?" or "Do I look foolish?" They just dance.

Me? Not so much. I am too concerned with what others might think of me and who might see.

We went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago and Glenn and I went out on the dance floor for the couple dance. We don't really know how to dance and I always feel so foolish, even in the arms of the man I love. His was the only opinion that really mattered at that reception and he wasn't going to judge me and yet I held back and felt foolish though I am sure no one was looking at us.

Why do I care so much about what others think about me? Why do I hold back from doing something fun just because I'm worried about the opinion of people I don't even know?


Join me in writing for 5 minutes and then be sure to click on the button below and link up and read some other writers writing about dance:

Five Minute Friday

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Water Safari ABCs

Yesterday we went to Water Safari. We had purchased discounted tickets through a homeschooling mom for the day so we went on a day that we wouldn't necessarily would have picked based on the forecast (54F by 10am, 60F by 1pm, scattered showers, thunderstorms starting at 4:30pm). After last week's temps in the high 80's and 90's a high of 62F at a water park didn't sound all that exciting.

It turned out to be a great day (and I don't think it was quite as cold as they had predicted). Since we were dry at the beginning we decided to do the dry parts of the park first so, after riding the Sky Ride, Glenn and the girls went on the Ferris Wheel while Caleb and I did the Tilt-a-whirl and Scrambler. Glenn suggested that we do the Bumper Cars next which was perfect timing because that was when the first downpour happened and we stayed dry! We rode some more rides then avoided another cloud burst under the train station while waiting for the circus. After the circus we decided to get wet and went to the wet rides at the back of the park. Later we took the train to the water area at the front of the park. At the end we were freezing so most of us went to get dry clothes from the car while Glenn and Hannah went to do Black River a few more times. Finally, all warm and dry, we rode the dry rides a bit more before heading home exhausted.

On our way home from adventures we often try to come up with an ABC list of memories so here is our ABC list from yesterday:

A: Abigail, Amazon
B: Black River, Bumper Cars
C: Caleb, Cascade Falls, Circus, Curse of the Silverback
D: Dad came with us!!
E: Elephant squirting water
F: Fun, family time, Ferris Wheel, frightening fun, Flivver Cars, fairy tale land
G: Glenn, gondola sky ride, goats (we got to pet them), gorilla and giraffe (both of which were statues)
H: Hannah, Helicopters, homeschoolers (there were 250 homeschool tickets purchased for the day so it was mostly homeschoolers there, of which I only recognized a handful), High Flying Pages, horse tricks
I: Ice cream (we are very thankful that we didn't pre-order the ice cream - everyone that we saw eating it was shivering and most of them also bought coffee or some other warm drink to warm them up while they were eating it!)
J: jerks (we didn't experience any - very thankful for that! I know this is a stretch but we were hard pressed for J's)
K: Killermanjaro
L: Lydia, Lazy River rides, Log Jammer, Lion (again, a statue)
M: memories, Merry-go-round
N: New experiences (I vaguely remember possibly going there as a child but no one else has been there)
O: Open lines (bumper cars were the only thing that we ever had to wait in line for)
P: Pool - a nice place to warm up!, Paul Bunyan, pumpkin oatmeal muffins
Q: Quesadillas - our easy go-to lunch when out on an adventure (and also makes it a sure thing that we have Q covered)
R: Rainy Day (even though it really didn't rain that much!), Raging Rapids, Rondaxe Run, Rope Walk
S: Sawmill, Scrambler
T: Train Rides, Tilt-o-Whirl, Tubes, Tall enough (everyone was tall enough for every ride! Sure makes things easier!)
U: underwear (of the dry variety at the end of the day)
V: very fun day
W: Water Safari, warm water, warm & dry clothes at the end of the day
X: x-hilaration
Y: You (Glenn said this, without me we wouldn't have gotten to go)
Z: Zoo (of the petting variety), Zebra (of the statue variety)

Caleb did an informal survey when we got home for his blog and here are his results:
 Favorite water ride: C: Cascade Falls H: Black River L: Black River A: Black River S: Cascade Falls G: Black River

 Favorite dry ride: C: Choppers H: Bumper Cars L: The Train A: Scrambler S: Tilt-A-Whirl G: Bumper Cars

 Overall favorite ride: C: Cascade Falls H: Black River L: Black River A: Black River S: Tilt-A-Whirl G: Black River

  So my family is now really tired and do not want to answer any more questions also I don't have any more. So I am going to tell you what my favorite part of Water Safari! My overall favorite part of Water Safari  is: The Circus!

I am so thankful that Glenn could come with us! He is the more "dare devil" of the two of us and he can take the more adventurous ones on rides that others of us are too scared to ride and he even convinces us to do things that we wouldn't otherwise try. It is also just so much fun to have him with us, I am SO thankful that he could come with us yesterday. The day definitely wouldn't have been the same without him!

NOTE #1: My kids are ruined for any big amusement park ever. They don't really have any concept of the idea that you may have to wait in line to ride rides since most of their experiences with amusement parks have included no wait times. We have also decided that days that rain is forecasted are the best days to go to a place like this since you are going to get wet anyway. Which reminds me of our wet day at Darien Lake way back when.

NOTE #2: Sorry there are no pictures included in this post. Google informed me that I had used up all of my free photo space for my blogs so until I (1) go back and shrink all my pictures to free up more space or (2) pay google to let me put more pictures on my blog there will be no new pictures. I will probably come back and add pictures later. :)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Thanks Mom and Dad

Yesterday I went to part of a Women of Faith conference via simulcast at a local church. I didn't know anyone there so during lunch I had the opportunity to meet a lady who told me about her family. She told me of the heart ache that she has for her daughter that is far from Christ and she blames herself because they never had a good relationship, they were "like oil and water."

Though I know that that woman was not the reason her daughter is not walking with Christ, I do know that we, as parents, do have a large impact on our children's lives. That conversation made me think about my parents and the impact that they had on my life. Today is mom's birthday (she would have been 61 today) and tomorrow would have been mom and dad's 37th anniversary so I just wanted to take a minute to say "Thanks Mom and Dad" for the impact that they had on me.

A couple of weeks ago while doing my devotions I came across this paragraph in one of them:
Pharaoh ordered that every male born to the Hebrews be thrown in the Nile. Moses was born during this time and, after three months, his mother realized she could hide him no longer. Imagine her angst as she left him in the basket among the reeds in the Nile River! She did not know what the future held, but she released her son by her faith in God."
As I read that it made me stop and thank God for my parents. You see, those risks that I took early in my life I was only able to take because my parents had a great faith in our great God. They trusted Him and entrusted me to His care. I can remember them often telling me that "the best place for you to be is in the center of God's will for your life."

Looking back lately I have wondered what they were thinking at various points in my life when they just had to entrust me to God. (I would love to hear if you were ever privy to any of their thoughts when I was working towards any of my "risky" plans and ideas.) I am so grateful that they did not hold me back when I told them of what I felt God would have me to do. I am thankful that they never communicated to me the fear that I am sure they had in their hearts. I am thankful that they gave me their blessing even when they didn't understand what I was doing or why I was doing it.

I can think of one time that mom expressed her fear to me. It was when we were making plans to go to Bangladesh when Caleb was a newborn. She asked me a couple of times, "Sonja, are you sure you and Caleb couldn't come and stay with us while Glenn goes?" I think that she was more afraid for her grandbaby that couldn't get travel immunizations than for me. Ultimately she turned us over to God and entrusted us to Him which she proved by allowing us to buy plane tickets with their credit card because we didn't have enough financial support to buy them quite yet. Little did she know that she would be in the cardiac ICU fighting for her life when we went to Bangladesh and that leaving her would take more faith than I would have ever dreamed.

I know that my dad feared for us as well. When we were applying to medical he often expressed his concern as to how we were going to survive financially when Glenn couldn't work for 4 years. At that time I had the chance to remind him of of how God has provided for us in the past and remind him that God would provide for us in the future. Little did dad know much his end of life financial decisions would help us in that arena.

Thank You, God, for my parents' faith in You. Thank You that they allowed me to make mistakes and to take steps of faith when I am not sure I would have, looking at things through these parent eyes. Please help me to entrust these kids of mine to You and release them by faith like Moses' parents and mine for whatever You have in store for them. From all You've brought us through they already have such a great faith in You and what You can do. May I never be a stumbling block to them but always be an instrument that continually points them to You. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Risk

Can't believe it is Friday already! Today I am linking up with LisaJo and writing for 5 minutes on:


I have never been much of a risk taker. At least I have never really thought of myself as a risk taker but I guess I was a risk taker when I decided to go work at a camp 5 hours away for two summers or when I decided to travel to Venezuela for a month when I was in high school. God used those times to teach me a lot.

I guess I became more of a risk taker when I married a cute 19 year old guy with big dreams. We have made decisions that have made others think that we are crazy over the years but God has proven Himself faithful and He has never failed.

I think of that quote from Jim Eliot: "He is no fool who gives what he can not keep to gain what he can not lose." He lived that out trying to reach a violent tribe in Ecuador and ultimately it cost him his life.

Taking risks that God has asked us to take has helped me to get to know our God more and has increased my faith in Him. I can trust Him even when what He asks me to do sounds risky and doesn't make sense, even when I can't see Him.

This morning I was looking for a video to show the girls and came across the one I embedded below. I know that I have jumped around when Jesus has been there and caught me and I know that sometimes He has asked me to fall back when there was NOTHING behind me and, guess what, He caught me. He is faithful - you can trust Him!

Would you like to join me in writing for 5 minutes on Risk? Link up below:

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Our {Not as Adventuresome as Planned} Weekend

This weekend we had big plans: "Off to Syracuse for schospital stuff Saturday then on to Waterloo for a bday party that night (happy 50th Uncle Paul!) then on to Rochester for Rock the Lakes on Sunday then back to Syracuse for more schospital stuff Monday and Tuesday then we'll finally be home Tuesday night." We were also planning on meeting up with some friends, finding bathing suits and go to the zoo before our membership is up at the end of the month. Things didn't go exactly as planned but it was a good weekend overall.

Saturday we were up at 4:30 to head to Syracuse because Glenn had 10 fake patients to see starting at 7:15. After dropping him off we headed to the market and bought some #10 cans of beans at Budas for old times sake - haha. After that we went to hang out at a friend's house for a couple of hours. Our kids played with their kids and chickens while I helped Melissa do some yard work. We then went to Old Navy to pick up some swim suits (the kids needed new ones because they grew this past year for some reason and I had a 30% off coupon) then played at Thorndon Park until Glenn got done. After that headed to Waterloo for Uncle Paul's birthday. It was fun to catch up with some family members, meet a new baby cousin, and eat some yummy food while celebrating together. My grandparents were surprised to see us but welcomed us to crash at their house for the night. It was so fun to see them but difficult to see and hear of the struggles they are having as they age.

On Sunday we had weighed back and forth going to church in Rochester. We haven't been to church out there in over a year but I had seen online that the kids ministry was taking over the main service and, though we love HighPoint, we decided not to make the early trek to Rochester and instead went took Grandma and Grandpa down to Seneca Community Church, the church I grew up in. It was so great to be there and see so many people that I haven't seen in years besides on facebook, these people that were closer than family to me as I was growing up. It was a bit like a family reunion - you give hugs to lots of people, have short conversations with some, and never really get to fully catch up with anyone and then it's time to go and you wish that you lived closer. I realized as I was sitting there in church that the last time I had been there was dad's funeral 4 years ago, a realization that made me catch my breath as I sat there on Father's Day. I'm so glad that we went down there. One thing that always strikes me when I return to SCC is that when I mention my maiden name, "Nelson," to people who don't know me, they always immediately ask about Paul and Amy, my uncle and aunt. For some reason that always startles me because they didn't start going to church there until after I grew up and moved away so I don't really associate them with that church and also it makes me sad because fewer and fewer people know of my parents to link me with them.

After church we hit Aldi for some sandwich supplies and then ate with Grandma and Grandpa at their house. It was really hot and the forecast had been predicting thunderstorms so we were up in the air about going to Rock the Lakes to see Newsboys, Franklin Graham, etc. When I heard Caleb say, "I think that we should not go" that sealed it. I was really wanting to go mostly for him because I know that he loves the Newsboys but if he was OK with not going I was OK with not getting heat stroke and sunburns. Instead we all took naps at Grandma and Grandpa's house then played dominoes with Grandma. It was great to just hang out and relax instead of run, run, run! In the early evening we decided to give the grandparents a break from us and took a walk over to visit with our friends Phoebe and Aaron and their kids for a bit then went back to to Grandma and Grandpa's for hot dogs, popcorn, and ice cream for supper then back to sleep. It was so nice to just hang out with Grandma and Grandpa and enjoy them. Grandma commented that they didn't get to do these sleep over things with their kids or other grandkids (probably because they lived so close there was no need) and that she enjoyed it, especially not knowing in advance that it was going to happen so she didn't have to stress out about it. Grandpa loved seeing the girls all spread out asleep on their hide a bed couch and showing off his "Garden of Eden." I'm so glad we could spend this time with them.

Monday morning we didn't have to get moving that early so I decided to take a walk/run up and around the cemetery (C25K W2D2). It was nice to run somewhere flat and I got to see my parents' and grandparents' graves (I did forget the watermelon seeds though, hopefully we can get back to Waterloo sometime this summer). My aunt and uncle have kept some pretty flowers around their graves and I cried a little on my 5 minute walk home thinking of how I miss them. I was kind of embarrassed that I was crying when I saw a man riding a bike that I think was my chemistry teacher from high school. After sitting for a while out in Grandpa's garden and watching the birds, eating some breakfast and reading a devotional with my grandparents we said goodbye and headed back to Syracuse. When we were about 10 minutes down the road all of a sudden I heard screaming and couldn't figure out why everyone was doing so. Glenn pulled off to the side of the road because he had heard the vomiting. Gross! We cleaned up the girl, cleaned up the van a bit, found something to use as a puke bag and hit the road again. I let our friend that we were supposed to have a play date with know that a playdate was probably out of the question and instead she invited us into her home to let my sick one lay down on a bed (Dawn, you are my hero!). After stopping for a couple of quick errands we went and let Lydia lay down. She just wanted to go home so after Glenn was finally done at the schospital we chatted and decided that he should couch surf for the night and catch a ride part-way home with a classmate and we should head home.

The kids and I arrived home at about 9 and crashed praying that there would be no more vomit. We had to cancel plans most of our plans for Monday and all of our plans for Tuesday but my sick girl was so glad to sleep in her own bed. I am thankful that only one of us got sick and that she is better now! Even my child that was grouchy that we were heading home early ended up being glad that we came home early.
Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home; 

(Even though "home" changes addresses on a regular basis we are truly a bunch of home bodies.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Path

It's Friday. Today I'm writing for 5 minutes on "Path."


"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6

As I look back over the path of my life there have been lots of curves that we've gone through. Some that were expected, some that weren't. As I was typing that verse I was thinking, "Have my paths EVER been straight??" I have tried to trust God and not lean only on my own understanding. I have sought to acknowledge Him in every circumstance that He brings my way. As I was thinking all that I came to a realization. This long path has been twisty but He has provided that next step straight ahead of me in the path that He has for me every time.

I am thankful that I do not walk this path alone and that my Faithful Guide is with me all the way.


Well, not much came out in those 5 minutes. Do you want to join in the fun? Link up with the Gypsy Mama here:

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's Working Wednesday: Master Packing List

Summer is here. That often means summer vacation which, of course, means packing and hoping that you didn't forget something. Several years ago I got tired of sitting down every time we were going to go on a trip to make a packing list only to include things that I had included on the list that I sat down to write when we had our over night trip last month or our camping vacation last year. I decided to type up a list that I could just print out anytime we are going to be away from home so I didn't have to think, "What do we need to bring?" This list has made my life so much easier! I've emailed it to several friends over the years who have complained on facebook about not being sure what to pack and it has been a help to them as well.

Now, when we are getting ready to leave home for a weekend or a longer trip, I just print out my list. Then it's as easy as 1,2,3

1. Quickly draw a line through everything I won't need for this particular trip (page 2 only gets printed when we go camping because it has cooking stuff and basic camping meal ideas so I have somewhere to start with for food ideas).
2. Write numbers next to the clothes items at the bottom to indicate how many of each are needed.
3. Start packing.
No thinking involved. This list is helpful for the kids too because it is easy for them to see what they need to pack (it's NOT just Legos and coloring books!). Now that they are 6,8,9&11, I can even cut off their individual lists and they can pack all their own clothes themselves. (No, my 6 year old does not still wear diapers. This list was made when she did though and we always joke as we draw a line through that and write "underwear.") We just have them check with us quick before their clothes go in bags in the car. (It is always safest to check to make sure that they packed what they were supposed to and that they chose clothing that is actually appropriate for the trip that we are taking. Trust me. We have all learned this the hard way.)

I'm going to have to print off one of these for a weekend coming up soon so I thought I'd link it to my blog as it might be a help to others as well in the coming months.

Click here to download the Master Packing List

Hope this is a help to you vacationers this summer. 

Is there anything that you always pack that I missed? 

NOTE: This is my first attempt at linking a PDF that I made to my blog. If it doesn't work for you or if you'd like it emailed to you in .doc so you can personalize it yourself let me know.

Friday, June 08, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Expectation

"My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him." Psalm 62:5

I laughed when I searched my blog for the word "expectations." There are already 2 blogs with "Expectations" as the title and several others that have the word expectations in it. I guess I have struggled with my expectations in the past.

Tonight we went to the drive-in theater and watched Madagascar 3 with the kids. Glenn told me that when he read a review on it to decide whether or not we should go that the reviewer said he put his expectations about as high as a pig can fly or something like that. I thought that that was cute and pretty accurate of my expectations going in. My expectations were pretty low but it turned out to be a cute movie.

Sometimes I put my expectations low and am pleasantly surprised or at least not disappointed. Sometimes I put my expectations high and I am unintentionally hurt.

One thing that I have learned is that I need to surrender my expectations and give the circumstances of my life over to the only One who knows what will happen and why it will happen. Which made me think of a song I love, Psalm 62 by Aaron Keyes:
My soul finds rest in God alone, My Rock and my salvation,
A fortress strong against my foes, And I will not be shaken.
Though lips may bless and hearts may curse, And lies like arrows pierce me,
I’ll fix my heart on righteousness, I’ll look to Him who hears me.

O praise Him, hallelujah, My Delight and my Reward;
Everlasting, never failing, My Redeemer, my God.

Find rest, my soul, in God alone
Amid the world’s temptations;
When evil seeks to take a hold
I’ll cling to my salvation.
Though riches come and riches go,
Don’t set your heart upon them;
The fields of hope in which I sow
Are harvested in heaven.

I’ll set my gaze on God alone,
And trust in Him completely;
With every day pour out my soul,
And He will prove His mercy.
Though life is but a fleeting breath,
A sigh too brief to measure,
My King has crushed the curse of death
And I am His forever.

O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah, hallelujah,
O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah, hallelujah,
O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah! hallelujah!
 Want to write for 5 Minutes on Expectations? Link up with the Gypsy Mama here:

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

What's Working Wednesday: Freezer Inventory

What's Working Wednesday is my weekly post to showcase something that is working for my family at the moment. It may not work for us forever and it may or may not work for you.

I have tried to keep track of what is in my freezer in the past and I never had any luck until I came across this great Freezer Inventory printable from just before we moved from Syracuse. I love knowing what is in my freezer so when I see deals in the grocery fliers I know if I should stock up or not. It is also great for helping with knowing what is available without having to cool our apartment (and warm our freezer) digging around to find something that isn't actually there anyway.

Check it out here. It may be a help to you too.

Friday, June 01, 2012

Five Minute Friday: See

On Fridays I write for 5 minutes and link-up with the Gypsy Mama. Today's word:


Behold He comes
     Behold He comes
           Behold He comes
                Behold He comes
And every eye shall see Him.
Friend will you be ready
When Jesus comes?

Songs or quotes often come to mind when I see the word for 5 minutes Friday and on hearing the word "see" this song above came to mind. I remember singing it many times as a student at TTU. It was always fun hearing the low voices start and the progressively higher voices join in. I looked for a video but the only one I could find was this guy playing it on the piano.

I am so looking forward to seeing my Savior. I get "home-sick" for heaven often but the thing that has struck me thinking of this song again and of scriptures I have been reading lately is "are my friends ready?" I am so thankful for Jesus paying the price for my sin on the cross and I long to see Him but I don't want to keep it for myself. When every eye sees Him I want my friends not to cower in shame and regret but to look on Him in love and gratitude for redeeming them from the pit of their sin.


Want to write for 5 minutes on Fridays? Click the button to join in!

God's Prescription for Your Depression

I hate that I struggle with depression. I've been sinking lately. I'm not sure for how long but yesterday was pretty bad.

I didn't really come to a full realization of how far I'd sunk until this morning when Glenn told me that he missed me and that he wondered: if I even loved him anymore, if I was mad at him, and what he had done wrong. His questions made me so sad and I started crying as I told him that it wasn't about him and that I had no idea what was causing me to feel so low. As he held me he told me that he could think of several reasons why I might be sinking and I agreed that there are quite a few but I don't know which one was the trigger this time. I rarely do.

I've struggled with depression on and off for a lot of my life so I was grateful that we had to be back in Rochester for a Sunday back in 9/09 when we were homeless because a message was preached just for me (I'm sure others benefited from it as well) called "God's Prescription for Your Depression." If you ever struggle with depression you really should click and listen to that sermon. David Whiting, Northridge Church's pastor, was in a series on Life Lessons from Dead Kings and Israel's Famous Prophets that summer and this particular sermon was on Elijah from 1 Kings 19.

I have my notes from that Sunday written out in a condensed form on a 3x5 card that I pull out on mornings like this one so I can re-read over them and be reminded of what I need to do. I want to post them here because they have been a help to me and maybe they will be a help to others as well.  

"God's Prescription for Your Depression"
from D. Whiting, Northridge Church, 9/6/09
1 Kings 19

Common Steps/ Warning Signs:
1. Wear yourself out v1-5
2. Shut people out v3-4
3. Engage in self-pity v4
4. Believe lies v10

God's Prescription:
1. Eat & rest v5-9 "planned neglect"
2. Replace your lies with God's truth - depression grossly exaggerates the truth
3. Be still and know that He is God v10-13
4. Do what is right no matter how you feel v15-18
"To struggle with depression is not a sin - how you handle your despair and discouragement could be."

*Do all you can to get your mind off yourself

2 Final Challenges:
1. fight your depression everyday. God may never give you total and complete victory over it - make it your goal to please God through your depression.
2. Don't just fight depression - fight victimization and self absorption. Don't let depression be an excuse to sin!

Someday I would like to print this up on cute little prescription paper to give to people (wouldn't that be fun coming from a doctor's wife?) because it has been such a help to me but I haven't gotten there yet so I am posting it here.

The warning signs are there, especially #2 (sorry Glenn & kiddos!). I know what I need to do.

Lord, thank You for this reminder. Please help me to focus on You and Your truth, to do what is right no matter what I feel, and please You through my depression.