Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saying goodbye to an old friend

1090 South Ave. Apt 4 has been one of best places we have ever lived.  So we decided as a family to do a top 10 list of why. (After just eating Salvatore's pizza on the empty front porch.)
*The person's name following the comment is the one who said it not the only one who agrees with it.*

10. Saw Wood chucks in Highland Park (Caleb)
 9. Leaves from the Lilac festival (Lydia)
 8. We got to go to the Library a lot (Hannah)
 7. Highland Park and Highland Bowl (Caleb)
 6. Close to movies in Highland Bowl (Hannah)
 5. All sleeping in the same room (Lydia with Abigail's agreement)
 4. The city skyline out our window (Sonja)
 3. Less than a block from the Hospital, the Library and the park (Sonja)
 2. Watching people skate on the pond from the house during the winter (Sonja)
 1. Lots of space for all our stuff, a huge closet and the enclosed front porch. (Sonja)

To continue the list: being close to the museum of play that we could even walk(Sonja), Friendly neighbors (Sonja), Sophia the neighbors' cat (Abigail), a big kitchen (Sonja), watching the cars go past (Caleb), could walk home for lunch (Glenn), lots of space (Glenn),.

Just because we are saying goodbye doesn't mean we are ready to leave. Blugh!!!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

With a Little Help from Some Friends

Today was "move the big stuff day" at the Maas household. I woke up totally not ready for it and tried to work and didn't make much progress. I had been informed that I needed to send out an email to ask for help from our Adult Bible Class teacher and I reluctantly did late last night asking for help at around 1 since that was when I thought one friend was going to be available.  I am super woman and I feel that I should be able to do it all on my own and I also feel guilty asking people to help us move because we move so often! Anyway, I sent it out and an engaged girl from our young marrieds and engaged class came. I hadn't really gotten a chance to get to know Kirsten before but it was so much fun to get to know her while she helped carry our stuff downstairs to the Burb and into storage and into Lishawa's house. I was so glad that she came because she was a huge help!! Our friend Zach from community group also came which was super helpful and Brad also came for the last load. Another huge help today was my friend Rebecca who has 4 kids of her own under 6 took my kids to the Museum of Play for a couple of hours to play so that we could haul stuff without them underfoot. It was amazing how much we could get done without them (not that the kids ever cause big problems but they are kids and do kid-type things often). We are so thankful for so many people who have helped us through this move and for the prayers that have sustained us.

Now I am tired and sore and we are still at the "yucky stage" of moving. The kids are sleeping in a tent in their room tonight and Glenn and I are on the floor in ours. I thought that it would be better because then we can just wake up and start working without having to wait until everyone was up and then get them ready to go out the door but I am sure I will wake up sore, just like when we are camping since we are sleeping on our camping mat. I think that it will just make sleeping in a real bed again all that much more sweet when I finally do it again. Got to go to sleep so we can hopefully get done tomorrow (I don't know if we have ever been able to get done moving a whole day before we had to move out but I'm hoping that it will be the case this time!! Every move gets a little bit easier. Maybe someday I will even like moving. 

Before going to bed (I mean floor) I will end with a quote from Epictetus, "I am always content with that which happens for I think that which God chooses is better than what I choose." Oh, and another good one from Calm My Anxious Heart "If we are to find contentment in the midst of trial and uncertainty we must accept our situation as being purposely allowed into our lives by a personal and loving God."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Blessings and Bummers

There have been so many blessings this past week I just wanted to write down a few:

1. We have sold several things on craigslist – our couch, a desk, a bike, a bed and someone is coming to buy another bed this afternoon. We still have 2 things out there so if anyone wants a heavy roll top desk (that we love, just being nomadic it is not appropriate furniture for us to own) and a tall road bike.
2. We have moved 2 loads to our storage unit and a load of dressers and stuff over to Lishawa's.
3. A friend brought over food on Thursday which has lasted us several meals so I didn't have to think about food, yeah!
4. We are making some serious progress on packing. I really think that we will get it done (until I walk into our bedroom or the kitchen, those are both still really scary!)
5. The kids have been amazing... entertaining themselves (puzzles have been their favorite thing the last couple of days), helping carry things out to the Burb or the dumpster, doing dishes, making us laugh. I am so thankful for them!
6. Glenn's back is feeling a little better (now if he can just make it through today without hurting it worse at work!)
7. We had a fun day on Friday at our friend's house having a yard sale. Though we didn't sell much it was so nice to get out of the house for the day and just relax instead of pack!
8. It has been rainy a few days as we have moved stuff and the rain has held off while putting things into the Burb and into storage.
9. The storage place has an elevator!
10. Glenn's essay is almost done.
11. God has been encouraging us through His Word and also My Utmost for His Highest has been really challenging the last couple of days!
12. Having Karen's car has been a huge help! We took the back seat out of the Burb and filled it with stuff and put the kids in Karen's car and off we went. Not sure how we would have managed without it. Thanks Karen!! The Burb is also a huge blessing (except for the 10mpg thing)

There have also been a couple of bummers:
1. While moving boxes into storage the band of my engagement ring bent, possibly beyond repair. It is a pretty thin band and Glenn is surprised it has lasted the last 11 moves without this happening :) It is put up for right now and we'll address getting it fixed after things settle down.
2. Our microwave died. It was from my mom's book order points that she used to replace mine that she had used in her classroom since I had won it at Project Graduation so it has lasted us 9 years so that isn't too bad. It still has dead cochroach shells in the LED from our first apartment in Chattanooga. The light blew on it last week and ever since it has been a bit smoky inside after I heated something and smelled really hot and sounded funny. I figured for safety sake it would be best to just throw it away instead of having it burn our house down! This is the perfect time of year for a microwave to break though because I am sure that they are on sale for back to school, just not shopping for that right away either.

Well, a quote from WOLBI sounds appropriate right now, “I will not quit, by God's grace I can do it!” 3 days to go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We're moving??

Well, this week has been fun... oops, I am supposed to be packing!! NOT having fun. Oh well, it will get done :) Monday we spent the day at the Museum of Play with my friend Jenn and her girls who came up from Fillmore to spend the day with us. They had never been there before and it was fun to see the place with new eyes again :) After we got home we ate quick then headed out the door to go to a meeting at my director's house. She has 4 kids about my kids ages so they ran and played for another couple of hours. It was no big surprise that the girls all fell asleep on the way home. I am really enjoying my new business. I am making money doing nothing but having fun at parties and talking to people. Works for me. I get paid to go to girl's night out parties :)

Tuesday we actually worked and got our dressers unpacked and moved over to the Lishawa's so we'll have
somewhere to put our clothes and also moved our bikes into their garage so they were no longer in my kitchen :) Also we sold our couch. I think that we paid about $5 to rent it for the year, not too bad. Bought and sold on craigslist... love that site (though not as much as Glenn :)

Today I worked a little bit in the morning then went to the movies with the kids while Glenn stayed home to work. We watched Arctic Tale this week. There was some amazing cinematography. It was fun to watch. Then after a quick stop at Wegmans we headed home to eat something and get back to work. We missed our Summer Reading program on Monday so we went today and stayed longer than we planned but at least we got there dry and walked home dry because the storm started right after we got there and ended just before we left. (These pictures from the library are actually from last week when they had a Tales with Tails event not from today but they are from the library.) We love our library and we are going to miss living less than 2 blocks from the library!! After we got home I made pizza - it was nice to have real food. I have been struggling with the whole feeding a family of 6 and packing thing so the pizza tasted really good after oatmeal and pancakes and cold cereal the last few days :). Over the last few weeks since dad died and while packing our community group and others from church have brought us some meals which has been such a blessing! I am looking forward to eating more regular food again instead of whatever random items are left in our pantry and freezer that I am trying to use up.

Tonight someone came and bought our corner computer desk. The only other big thing that we have to sell is
our roll top desk. I love our roll top desk but it has gotten pretty dinged up over the years and moves that we have owned it. The people on Craigslist who have asked about it wonder how old it is and I have no idea b/c I bought it from my aunt Alyce about 7 years ago and I have no idea how long she had it but pretty sure it was from the Ye Olde Barn so that has got to be at least 13 years old. We're also doing a yard sale with a friend on Friday but I am not exactly sure how much we are bringing because we have given so much away already but I am sure I will find more as I pack and sort.

We decided to rent a storage unit about a mile from here for the next 3 months and just bring clothes, school stuff and a few kitchen items I can't live without (mostly my PC stuff that has made my life so much easier). It is a 10x13 and costs only about $15 more than the storage place that we had rented while house-sitting in Houghton which we didn't think was bad!

Here is a picture of Lydia and Abigail... maybe we have done too much this week. Also, if you would pray for Glenn. He hurt his back today moving Lydia's trundle bed. I see a lot of box moving in my future :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's Official

We don't know what we are doing! Big suprise?? :)

Actually, we do know a small part... Today we left our kids at church and skipped Sunday school and went to Dunkin Donuts with Brian and Kristina and talked logistics. They are leaving tomorrow for two weeks of vacation. During that time we will be moving into their home for (most likely) a couple of months. The guys are pretty excited about the idea... us girls are going into it with a little more fear and trepidation.

This morning at church was the second part of the Fork in the Road message. It was really good. He talked about Abram (which totally makes sense but for some reason I was surprised) from Genesis 11:31-12:9. Abram was living a pretty comfortable life and God asked him to leave and he left. He never settled anywhere. There was no proof that he was going to be OK except God's promise in Genesis 12:1-3. Why would he do this?? Hebrews 11:8-16 gives us some insight... he was looking forward to a city with a foundation whose designer and builder is God. Abraham never saw any of the promises fulfilled that God had made. Hebrews 11:13 said that he died in faith.

Toby called Abraham a "City Watcher" and gave us a City Watcher's Creed:
1. "This world is not enough."
2. "God will keep His promises." When I trust God He is going to give me something so much better, something I could never get if I tried doing it on my own. I am working through
Becoming a Woman of Faith by Cynthia Heald and this morning there were two quotes that I came across as I was reading that really impacted me. "Anytime we exercise our faith, no matter what our circumstances, God Himself becomes our reward." and then a quote from Oswald Chambers, "Assurance of faith is never gained by reserve, but only by abandonment."
3. "I can wait for God's timing." If you have known us or been following our blog long you know that this is a tough one for me. Toby gave an illustration of telling his son to wait and showed of picture of his little boy with a look that said, "but Daddy... I thought you loved me." I struggle so often with waiting. God rarely has our time frame. He so often tells us... "wait." God knows what is best for us and when it is the best time to give us what we want/need.
4. "It will be worth it." What is coming is so much better than what I am giving up.

I can testify to this - it will be worth it. I know I think often... in 10 years, 20 years, 30 years I will be able to look back and see what God was doing. I can do that today. 5 years ago we were preparing to move to Houghton for Glenn to finish his Bachelor's degree. I didn't want to go to Houghton. We could not provide for ourselves in Houghton. We could not do it on our own in Houghton. We would have to trust God and that is what He wanted us to do so we did. We had 2 kids and a 3rd on the way and we moved out in faith and God blessed, He provided - housing, food, friends, a church family, our every need and lots of added wants. He blessed far beyond our expectations, rarely providing in ways that I would have thought of, but He met our every need.

The same God who did that is leading us again. Where or how I don't know at this point but I am willing to follow His lead where ever He takes us. Thinking about this message today on the way home God really convicted me of where I was placing my security for our future. I wanted to get into U of R for so many reasons and so many of them were selfish reasons. I was wanting to take care of myself. That is not what God wants. He knows what is best for us. It is not in finding our security here on earth but in keeping our focus on Him and knowing that our future in secure in His hands.

Abraham's legacy in the short term wasn't all that thrilling - 2 sons and enough land to be buried in, nothing compared to Cain's great civilization. Ultimately though Abraham's legacy, because of the choices he made to trust God and His promises, is Jesus Christ. God promised that all the nations of the world would be blessed through him (Abraham). Jesus is that blessing. I have salvation and the promise of a future in heaven because Abram chose to trust God and step out in faith.

What will my legacy be? God doesn't ask everyone to leave and wander the earth and trust Him like He did for Cain and Abram but I really believe that that is what He has called Glenn and Sonja Maas to do. Is that comfortable? No. Will it be hard? Yes. Will it be worth it? Yes! Does it mean that we will never live anywhere for more than 2 years? Maybe. :) I want to leave behind a legacy of faith. I want my kids to know that God will take care of them and that it is worth the sacrifices to trust Him because He loves us and knows best. We will always be weird - aliens, strangers, exiles, because our true home is heaven.

I'm scared to be homeless but God has provided a temporary place for us to live and He will take care of us. One thing I think that God is really working on me right now is humbling me. I have never actually done it on my own but I have always felt like I have and now, having no place to call the Maas home is really difficult for me. (Brian said we should call their home the Lishamaas'). I am excited about what God is going to teach all of us through this time though I am really nervous about the actuality of the whole thing.

One last quote from my book, "My greatest moments of doubt come when I question God's ways.... God challenges me to keep going into a land flowing with milk and honey, but... in my "little" faith I doubt the goodness and faithfulness of the Lord. I believe that He is always with me, but when the winds begin to whip up the waves, I cry out for the Lord to wake up.... I need not doubt His word, no matter what the circumstances.... This is faith - trusting God with my past, present, and future even though, logically, I should trust no one but myself. But if I do rely on my own insight, I will spend my life risking nothing, depending only on what I can see and touch. I will be my own rescuer. I will listen to my doubts, debate God's ways, and cling to my own understanding- and suffer the consequences of these choices by dwelling in the wilderness, living in fear, and going under in the storm." That last part is not how I want to live. I want to live by faith, Lord help me to trust You! You will keep Your promises, I can wait for Your timing, it will be worth it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

We must have no friends... or enemies for that matter

We had stir fry for supper tonight. I love stir fry in the summer with all the yummy fresh veggies from the garden - green peppers, zucchini and summer squash in particular. Since we didn't know where we were going to be come harvest time we didn't garden again this year so I bought some zucchini from the Public Market to put in our stir fry. Glenn's comment was, "We must really have no friends or enemies either if we had to buy zucchini." It made me laugh. For years my source was Grandma Hansen's amazing garden. Which make me think of how depressing her back yard looked when I drove by her old house last time I was in Waterloo. Grandma was an amazing gardener and you could never visit her in the summer without her giving you bags and bags of produce!! So yummy! I miss her so much, and not just for her garden!

In other news I think that I know the basics of what we are going to do for school this year. This week I have been in a battle against the dining room (which has also been our school room). I have been given a bunch of homeschool stuff and I needed to sort through it to see what I would be using this year and what I should get rid of, etc. I have been dying to get it packed but just when I thought I might be making progress it would be time for a meal again and I would have to find the table and go and make something for everyone to eat I would get into it again and then it would be meal time again. Maybe we should have fasted this week :) I doubt that that would have gone over well. I think that I probably should have stayed home more this week and not have done so many outside of our home things but they were fun memories and this week was Caleb's birthday and there were special events at the library (which we are going to miss SO much, I don't know if we will ever live so close to a library again!) But we have 11 days until we have to be out, so much to do but it will get done, even if I give up sleep for the last week (which I am sure I won't do b/c I would be WAY too grouchy to deal with and I won't subject my family to that :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

City Building??

What to do? What to do? This past Sunday's message was really challenging to me. An intern that had been at North last year came back to preach a couple Sundays on A Fork in the Road. It was a real challenge to me. First he talked about 3 Obvious Truths that drive us:
1. We are finite creatures
2. We are dependent creatures
3. We are vulnerable.
Ouch on all three. Basically we are needy and we have a choice to make as to where we are going to turn to get our needs met.
He talked about Cain. I have heard the story of Cain and Abel from Genesis 4 tons of times over the years but I had never looked into it like we did this Sunday. We all know... Cain doesn't bring the right sacrifice, God is pleased with Abel's and not his; God asks him to obey but Cain takes matters into his own hands and kills his brother; God punishes him and tells him that the ground will no longer produce for him. End of story right? I had never seen God's punishment as an invitation but that is really what it was. God takes away his normal way of life and tells Cain to be a restless wanderer on the earth.... ultimately He is saying - trust Me for your every need, I will take care of you. Cain has a dilemma: Do I trust God? He decides - No, I am going to take care of myself and builds a city. It looks great from the outside the first great civilization but it is in a collision course with God and since it is based on violence in Genesis 6 God's has no recourse but to start over with just Noah and his family.
We were given the 21st century City Builder's Creed:
1. I can't count on God
2. I am on my own
3. So I will take care of myself
4. I don't need God.
What about me?? Do I trust God or am I coming up with some other way to take care of myself because I don't think that He is going to come through for me? Bring it down to real life.... last night I was looking online at apartments... Is that city building?? I know that I CAN count on God. I am NOT on my own, GOD will take care of me, and I DO need God. What is the next step? God asked Cain and later Abraham... "Step out in faith... I will take care of you... I will provide all that you ever need.... Trust Me." Abraham did, Cain didn't . It makes me think of a Sunday school session we had with the kids a while ago that I blogged about here. As I read that I was challenged again: What about me? Am I going to trust God? Living by faith is scary but I know that God loves us and has good plans for us and will take care of us. I can trust Him.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Eight is Great!

Caleb turned 8 today and we had a fun day. First thing this morning after he had enjoyed his birthday cinnamon roll (here he is picking out the biggest one) he and I went to the Public Market to get veggies for supper. It was fun to go just the two of us while Glenn was home with the girls. After we got home Caleb opened a couple of gifts that we had given him (here he is with his old army t-shirt that he used to wear all the time that Hannah, Glenn, and I made into a pillow for him) then we all went to the movies to watch Charlotte's Web (the real people one) which was Caleb's pick of the free movies available at the theater this week. It was really funny. We all enjoyed it. Then we got subs from Wegmans for lunch (yum!!) and Glenn went to talk to someone about a laptop that he found on Craigslist then headed home. All three of the girls took a nap and Caleb and I

I am interrupted by announcement... Hannah just came in to tell me that they usually watch TV from the house next door after they go to bed but there is no movie on it tonight. Oh my, what else do I not know goes on around here?? :)

Where was I? Oh yeah, Caleb and I read a couple of books together and we all tried to find our house so that there was a place for people to walk around and sit down amidst all of our boxes and packing unknown stuff and started supper.

One of Caleb's best friends this year has been Will Dudley from our church so we invited his family over to enjoy his birthday supper (Hawaiian Haystacks!!) with us. Kristina Lishawa and our neighbor, "Miss Betty" came too. Chaos reigned in our house (I know, what is new?) as we had a good time with good food and good friends. Along with Hawaiian Haystacks we also had watermelon and Caleb made Strawberry Fizz (a recipe from the Redwall Cookbook that he checked out of the library). After supper and opening a few gifts we had cake and ice cream. Caleb wanted a Cars cake. He really wanted Mater on it but I could only find Lighting McQueen. I think that the cake turned out pretty cute. It was really easy too, just two circle cakes put together with melted chocolate chips brushed on for a road. He enjoyed it and my favorite part was it was shaped like an 8 for my 8 year old!

I think that he had a really fun birthday. He is such a great kid and such a great big brother. I am so proud to be his mom! I can't believe he is already 8!!

This last picture is of our kids giving Miss Betty a hug good bye. She lives in the house next door to our driveway and we often see her when we go out for walks in the park. She is a sweet little old lady whom we have grown to love as we have gotten to know her over the last few months. We are really going to miss her when we move! It is because of Betty that we have decided to adopt "grandparents" where ever we live. It has been such a blessing to get to know her and I know that the kids especially have been a blessing to her as well. We will probably never live near grandparents again but there will always be lonely older people in our neighborhood where ever we live. My little sweeties work their way into everyone's hearts and God can use us to be a blessing to our "grandparents" and I know that it will teach my kids a lot too.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


This morning in my quiet time I read 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
“and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from
the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to
come.” I long for Christ’s return. His return is a sure
thing and knowing that, as I wait for His imminent return
I am not anxious because I know that His timing is perfect
and He knows… He is so longsuffering. As I wait for other
things in our lives I need to remember Who I am trusting.
I can have that same peace in His sovereign plan for our
lives, that He will bring about good things (though at
the time I may not see them as good) in good time (which
is rarely my time)because He is such a good God. Lord,
help me to trust You more.

Friday, July 11, 2008

What is Next?

Well, besides packing we have been praying and researching and researching and praying. We found out yesterday for sure that Glenn would not be getting into the September class for Ross so we'd be looking at January for them and with the fact he won't be going in Sept and other information we have found out in our research he has kind of crossed that one off the list for now. As we have been doing our P&R we have realized that if we don't start this fall we won't match until 2013 whether we start in the Caribbean in Jan or May or next Sept. (The match is a process where medical students are matched up with residency programs - it only happens once a year.) Since we won't match until 2013 anyway we are praying about opening up our options and applying to US schools again for the fall of 2009, and DO schools, Caribbean schools, and whatever else God may have in store for us. We are really open to His leading. Right now he is working on his essay and then he will send in his applications and then we will wait, again, and keep seeking Him.

So... what do we do for this year? Well, we have to move. I called our landlord yesterday and they have already leased our apartment to someone who lives in the building next door. Their apartment is now available but, though is has two bathrooms and bigger bedrooms, it has smaller living area and is $200 a month more than we pay here. Not an option. We are looking into options but we aren't certain that we are going to stay in Rochester so I guess that we will be moving into the Lishawa's for a short time. What about work? Will it really benefit Glenn to stay on at Highland in his current position? Not really. There is a high likelihood that he will hurt his back and he really isn't going to learn anything new in this position either. He would like to do some kind of research, not really sure what. He would also like to shadow doctors and volunteer more this year. Other than that we don't know. Oh, Lord, please guide and direct us. Help us to keep seeking You first and doing what pleases You.

In other news... Abigail is potty training!! She has refused to wear a diaper (even at night) for the last 3 days and has only had one or two accidents and been dry all night - yippee!! Around Christmas I bought several boxes of diapers before our BJs membership expired and and I told her that I wasn't going to buy any more and now we are on the last box and I think that it is going to work - yeah!! I may even get to give some of our size 4s away! Any takers?? The idea of being completely diaperless after 8 years makes me so excited!

Different Perspectives

On Wednesday the kids and I went to the Seneca Park Zoo with some friends and it is funny the different perspectives that people have. As we first arrived and were walking toward the zoo entrance the older of the two sisters that we went with said, while looking at my kids, "Wow, four doesn't seem that bad." She has a little girl that is almost one. The younger sister that is due in September said, "That's funny. I was thinking, 'Wow, that looks difficult. I couldn't imagine having four kids." It made me laugh! Four kids isn't easy, at least not everyday but God has given me four great kids who get along well (for the most part, they are siblings :) I couldn't imagine life without them! I should ask them what their perspectives are on 4 kids after our time at the zoo was over. Their mom said that I was an inspiration to them both. I'm thankful - God in His grace covers a lot of my mistakes. Here are some pictures from the zoo. My little mommies LOVED Ava and wanted a picture with her. Here is also my big turtle named Caleb :)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

One more Acrostic

This one is from my mom. I am not sure if it is original with her but I came across it in some of her writings from her days as NYS Gideons Auxiliary Chaplain and thought that it was good so...

C - Concentrating
O - On
M - my
M - Maker
I - I
T- Trust Him.

"Commit thy way unto the Lord..."

Trust and Success

When I was doing my student teaching at TTU we got together one afternoon a week and one of the professors would give a short devotional to get us started in our time together. I just found two acrostics that I wrote down from devotions at that time. They were a challenge to me to read again so I wanted to put them here so I wouldn't lose them :)

The first is on trust that Tommy Troxel shared with Proverbs 3:5-6

Think about God - spend time with Him
Relinquish your will to Him
Understand God's promises to you, claim them
Stand firm on these promises
Thank God in advance for how He is going to meet your every need

The second one is from Mrs. Walker on success:

Surrendered - Rom. 12:1-2
Unmoveable - 1Cor.15:58 - in faith and in teaching
Call on the Lord - Phil 4:6
Creative - 1Cor.10:31
Enthusiastic - Neh.8:10
Sweet Spirit - Gal.5:16
Student - never stop learning! 2Tim2:15

I am thankful for my education in a Christian environment with teachers that were constantly returning our eyes to our Savior. Though I don't use my education to earn income I know that it has had a great impact on my life and it makes me a better teacher for my kids.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Homeschool... Luggage... Visitors

Well, it is a hot, humid day here in Rochester, NY. I know it got up to at least 91. Ugg. Thank God for fans! Today was homeschool day... no, unfortunately it was not working on math and phonics one day a week that I had intended to do all summer, though Hannah was begging for a phonics lesson... it was sort homeschool stuff to try to decide what to bring, what to keep and what to get rid of. I am having a hard time. This year Caleb will be in 3rd grade and Hannah in 1st. Before I see my stored stuff again Lydia will have at least started K if not completed it while Hannah does 2nd and Caleb 4th... How can my kids be getting that old? What on earth do I need for K-4th grades?? I have really enjoyed using Saxon Phonics with the kids but K,1&2 is over 30 pounds. I don't think I can get away with that much weight for homeschool period, let alone for only phonics. I do use a math curriculum that I print off from the internet (Mathematics Enrichment Programme - it is a great one - and free! - I highly recommend it!). I am looking into using Ambleside Online for most of everything else. Does that mean I can justify 30+ pounds just for phonics?? I don't know. I have been given so much homeschool stuff. So far I have sorted stuff into piles by subject, now I have to make decisions...

In other news we found out that Action Packers are 1 inch too large for airline travel so I think that we may go with Contico Footlockers. I know that we have sworn off WalMart this year but they have them for $35 and they ship to store for free. Pretty cheap luggage. I think that we'll probably do that.

We had two visitors today and Glenn came home for lunch which is always fun! Our first visitor was Kristina who brought us a lasagna for supper - yum! Thanks Kristina! Later in the afternoon my brother Russ stopped in while Camy was at class. Today is their 2nd anniversary (Happy Anniversary you guys!!) and they spent it at Seabreeze and after Camy's class they were heading out for dinner then to a church softball game. It was good to visit with my little bro since we didn't get a chance to talk at Zach's grad party on Saturday. Sounds like they have some fun plans for the month.

Tomorrow we're meeting up with some dear friends from my precious Bible study in Waterloo at the Zoo. That should be fun. Then on Thursday we're going to see Mr Magorium's during the Free Family Film Fest. Other than that it is pack, pack, pack...

Friday, July 04, 2008

God Knows

I have been reading Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. It has been a great encouragement to me. The link is actually to Gutenburg Press where you can download it for free. It is a great book and I highly recommend that you read it (this recommendation is probably only for women but men may enjoy it too). I love it because it is written as a journal and I have always loved that kind of book. The quote that really encouraged me today was this:

"God knows whom He can trust! He would not lay His hand thus on all His children."

This was said of her mother who was dying in much pain but who had just said,"Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. He is just as good as ever." It was encouraging to me because maybe God trusts me. We can trust God and will keep seeking Him regardless of what He brings into or takes out of our lives. We know that He will be faithful. He knows.

4th of July Berries

A few years ago the Nelson family started a tradition of getting together on the morning of the 4th of July and eating waffles with freshly picked berries and going swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's pool. This picture is here for memories sake from the 4th in 2004. In the picture are my Grandpa Edwin Nelson, my dad - Roger Nelson. my uncle Paul and aunt AmyJo fixing up their plates.

Yesterday as I was packing up my kitchen I decided that I would pack away my waffle maker for 2 years (sadness - but I don't use it enough to merit bringing it with me) and was reminded of that tradition. Though we weren't going to be going to Waterloo today I decided we would still have waffles and fresh berries. The only problem was that we had eaten all the berries that we had bought at the market last night at supper so I sent Glenn over to Brian and Kristina's house because we knew that they had strawberries in their patch and were going to be away for the weekend. This is what he and Lydia came home with. They picked the black raspberries in our driveway... needless to say we didn't get many berries with our breakfast :(

Later we took a walk over to the Conservatory to see if we could check out the construction and saw some cool flowers like this orchid and the Staghorn fern mounted on the wall.

On the
way home I picked some wildflowers growing around our house to put in the vase that only had dying flowers in it on our table and "the girls" (which is how Caleb and Hannah refer to Lydia and Abigail) were with me and had found rocks to add to Miss Betty's (our neighbor's) collection. We went and deposited the rocks then on the way home I was looking for more flowers and came across this berry patch by our back door. We ran in and grabbed a couple of bowls to pick berries. This is what we got - yum!! We had lots of berries with lunch!

As for the rest of our 4th I think that we are going to have good old American homemade pizza for supper (it is Friday after all) and we're going to watch the city of Rochester fireworks - probably from the top of the Highland Hospital parking garage. Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Be Magnified

This song has been going through my head all day so I thought I would look up the words. It is a great song! I don't think that I have sung it since we were going to Fingerlakes Christian Fellowship. If you are unfamiliar with it you can listen to it with this link from youtube.

Be Magnified

I have made you too small in my eyes
Oh Lord, forgive me!
And I have believed in the lie
That you were unable to help me
But now, Oh Lord, I've seen my wrong
Heal my heart and show yourself strong
And with my heart and with my song
Oh Lord, be magnified
Oh Lord, be magnified

Be magnified Oh Lord
You are highly exalted
And there is nothing you can't do
Oh Lord, my eyes are on you
Be magnified
Oh Lord, be magnified

I have leaned on the wisdom of men
Oh Lord, forgive me
And I have responded to them
Instead of your love and your mercy
But now, Oh Lord, I've seen my wrong
Heal my heart and show yourself strong
And with my heart and with my song
Oh Lord, be magnified
Oh Lord, be magnified

Top Ten Ways to Tell That You Have Moved Too Many Times

10. You have ever discussed the idea of the "perfect" packing box.
9. You have ever complained about the cost of packing tape.
8. You buy things based on their multi-use capability and portability.
7. You don't believe the old saying "Four moves equals a fire."
6. You have boxes that have had three different things written on them and x'd out.
5. You have ever said, "That is not packing tape, this is packing tape."
4. You feel naked when you don't have a permanent marker in your pocket.
3. You own a professional grade packing tape gun.
2. People always feel sorry for your wife when she tells them how many places she has lived in.
And the number one way you know you have moved to many times.

1.You'll do anything to procrastinate from packing again, including coming up with a top 10 list.

OK, back to work.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Lydia Quotes and Packing Thoughts

Funny things said by Lydia today:
"No I amn't." (amn't is Lydia's favorite contraction :)
"So they don't live together?" (about Grandma and Grandpa Maas since Grandpa was having to go home and would talk to Hannah in about 10 minutes)

A few of my thoughts while packing today:
* We have too many towels. We have decided to bring 12 towels with us to Dominica - 6 bath towels and 6 beach towels (I am excited about going to the beach). I had picked out 6 of our not super nice towels to bring with us and realized... wow, we each already have a towel that we are currently using and there are several more here that I guess I am storing for the next couple of years. How did we get so many towels? I don't think that we have ever bought one.
* I should have known that we were going to go somewhere warm next we finally bought skis and sleds this past winter. (anybody want to borrow them until we get to snow country again??)
* 6 people = LOTS of clothes... how much should we bring? I think that we have decided on 10-14 days worth. I guess that I will be blessing GoodWill with more in the coming days (or our rag bag).
* I am going to miss my Kitchen Aid (OK, actually it is Glenn's mom but I have had it for almost seven years.) I would love to bring it but I just don't think that I can justify using 25 of our 420 pounds on it - sadness!!
* I am looking forward to living simply. We'll only have whatever we decide is important enough to fit in our 420 pounds of luggage. Less stuff = less work for me (hopefully!)
* I am probably going to be suprised at what I kept when I unpack my boxes in a couple of years.
* We have WAY too many books but we can't seem to part with so many of the ones that we have out and we have already packed tons of book boxes and don't know if it is worth it to go through them to make more decisions or just decide when we unpack in 2-4 years.
*sub-note on the books thing - we are REALLY going to miss the Monroe County Library system. Not really sure what is available library wise on Dominica.
* Sheets - we have lots of twin sheets. I have no idea what the kids are going to be sleeping on in Dominica. I am not sure what kind of beds will be available. Hmmm. I wonder if they'll sleep in hammocks? I think that they'd like that. Not sure that they'll like the adjustment back to beds when we get back Stateside though. Full sheets have been recommended on packing lists. We only have one set. Will the girls sleep together on a full bed? Oh, so many questions.

Well, there are lots more thoughts going through my head but that is enough for now. Until next time...

My Glorious

I am not really familiar with this song but God really used it this morning to encourage me! God is so much bigger than the small view I have of Him. He is changing my old self and making me new. He is my Glorious, He will save the day... I can trust Him. Oh Lord, glorify Yourself today in my life, come what may - I trust You.

The world's shaking with the love of God
Great and glorious let the whole earth sing
And all You ever do is change the old for new
People, we believe that

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave God will save the day
And all will say
My glorious

Clouds are breaking heaven's come to earth
Hearts awakening let the church bells ring
And all You ever do is change the old for new
People, we believe that

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave God will save the day
And all will say
My glorious

My glorious (8x)

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave God will save the day
And all will say
My glorious

Glory, glory
Send Your glory(repeat multiple times)