Monday, June 29, 2009

Where am I looking?

I have been wallowing. I guess that is the best word for it. I know that I need to stop so I dug out Calm My Anxious Heart (I never have to dig far. It is one of those books that I can never have too far from me) and started to read it again. Chapter One is convicting. It starts out talking about a woman who has, from an outsiders' view, a nearly perfect life - cute, well behaved kids, loving, generous husband who works hard and helps out at home, beautiful new furniture, etc. and all that she does is complain. She is contrasted with another woman Ella Spees who was a missionary in Africa for 52 years where she had to bring in her thermometer in during the day because it would break when it got over 120 degrees who has been a huge challenge to me ever since the first time I read this book. Ella's prescription for contentment was this:
* Never allow yourself to complain about anything- not even the weather.
* Never picture yourself in any other circumstances or someplace else.
* Never compare your lot with another's.
* Never allow yourself to wish this or that had been otherwise.
* Never dwell on tomorrow - remember that [tomorrow] is God's, not ours.
OUCH! How has my thought process, even my blog from yesterday lined up with that prescription? Not so hot, I'd say. I think that I need to print that and put it on my fridge next to my Andrew Murray quote. How often I complain about everything, especially the weather "It's raining again?" "It is so hot." "Boy, it has gotten chilly." Ugg. Speaking of wallowing, it made me think of another quote from one of my Dillow books,"Two women look through prison bars, one saw mud the other stars." What is my perspective? Where am I looking? I love the quote from Elisabeth Eliot "I know of no greater simplifier for all of life. Whatever happens is assigned. Does the intellect balk at that? Can we say that there are things that happen to us that do not belong to our lovingly assigned "portion." ("This belongs to it, that does not")? Every assigment is measured and controlled for my eternal good. As I accept the given portion other options are cancelled. Decisions become much easier, directions clearer, and hence my heart becomes inexpressibly quieter. A quiet heart is content with what God gives." Someone has to be in control and if I choose to let God be in charge instead of me I will be content. The first time I did this study I had to write a definition for contentment and I wrote, "thankfully, happily taking whatever God sends my way as what He has for me/ His will without complaining or desiring things to be different." That is how I long to live my life. It is a conscious, day by day, moment by moment choice. My life is not perfect but it is the perfect life for me according to God's plan to make me into the woman He wants me to be.

Anyway, I wasn't intending to do a chapter summary on chapter one or I would have gone into the monk story, I guess I will save that for another day. The real reason that I sat down to write this was because I was laughing at myself. I was digging in the cupboard for chocolate (it doesn't really help but I always think that it is going to, hence the reason why I have gained so much weight lately) and a song started going through my head. I still ate the chocolate but came to the computer to look up the words/ listen to the song. The words that were going through my head were "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." It made me laugh... Why am I looking to chocolate when I am down? Where should I be looking? Psalm 62 has the answer "My soul, wait silently for God alone, For my expectation is from Him." I love the song by Aaron Keyes that we sang at North based on Psalm 62. So I ate my chocolate and went to look up the words online.

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. (TO CHORUS)

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. (TO CHORUS 2X)

O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah, hallelujah,
O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah, hallelujah,
O praise Him, O praise Him, hallelujah! hallelujah!

Is this a battle I will struggle with my whole life? Will I ever be content? Oh Lord, please help me to keep my eyes on You and to turn to You trusting that You will prove Your mercy again and again as You have so many times before. O praise Him, hallelujah, my Delight and my Reward, Everlasting, never failing, my Redeemer, my God.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Hahns... Files... Trips to Waterloo

It has been a while again. Time to play catch up. Not as bad as some other times which is nice. It seems we have become quite popular since moving to Syracuse. We have had quite a bit of company which has been a lot of fun. I guess it helps that we have a bit more space for people to be in our current apartment compared to the little house we were living in in Rochester. Sigh... how I wish we could stay in this apartment...

Anyway, last weekend our friends the Hahns who are friends of ours from our first year at Houghton came up to visit us. It was so great to see them. It had been almost 2 years. They came on Friday evening and enjoyed my birthday dinner of chicken fajitas on navajo fry bread with us (so yummy!) and stayed until Sunday morning after church. On Saturday we all went to the Regional Market (not nearly as cool as the Public Market but OK) to check it out. While there we got to look around at a lot of neat stuff and bought a tomato plant. It was pretty big and already had some flowers on it (it has itty bitty tomatoes on it now, we are very excited!) On Saturday evening we hosted our Domino's American Legend houseparty and got all 6 American Legends pizzas to try and share with our guests. Our neighbors from next door and downstairs came as well as my aunt and uncle and cousin and her little guy and friend. We had a lot of fun and the pizzas were very yummy! It was great to spend time with Sam and Jen, get reacquainted and catch up some on their lives. I guess one benefit of moving a lot is that we get to meet and make new friends everywhere we go. The common bond of Christ helps keep those relationships solid even when it is months or years between visits or talks.

We have been plugging away at school this week. I know that it will be harder for the kids to want to focus on school in the mornings once the neighbors come back from their vacation so I am trying to keep them focused and working now. We have made some progress and have had some fun in the process. Hannah is improving every day in reading and I really think that she will be reading on her own by the end of the summer which is very exciting.

Glenn has been studying hard. He had his first exam on the Wednesday before last and did really well on it. It was a confidence booster for him. After being rejected so many times and by so many schools it was good for him to do so well on his first exam in medical school to help him believe in himself again though he does know that it is all only by God's grace.

On Friday we had another visit from friends from Rochester. Karen, Priscilla and Gabe came for Gabe to be able to spend part of his birthday with Caleb. We had fun visiting with them and hanging out at our house and eating lunch then we headed to the zoo (it is completely reciprocal with Seneca Park Zoo memberships if anyone else wants to come out and go to the zoo with us). We had to dodge some raindrops but it was fun.

The kids and I had to make a couple of trips to Waterloo this week. The first one was unplanned. We got school work done in a hurry on Wednesday morning and headed to Waterloo to sign some paperwork that I had to sign during business hours then spent the afternoon hanging out with my grandparents at their pool. Some cousins and Uncle Russ stopped by to swim too. As we were leaving AmyJo and Ehren stopped by with two puppies. We were already planning on heading to Waterloo yesterday for a party at Phoebe's house. It was fun to see her and other friends while I was there and the 8 kids that came with their moms all played really well together in the backyard while Leah watched them. After the party the kids and I headed up "to meet the puppies" which really meant we went to see Paul and AmyJo and Kyle. We visited with them for a while then moved our little party to Grandma & Grandpa Nelsons' for a pool-side picnic. It always goes this way - feast or famine. We had missed seeing Grandma & Grandpa in all of our trips between Rochester and Syracuse in our moving process because they were never available as we were passing through. It was great to spend 2 afternoons with them and Grandma even made me birthday cupcakes :). It has been years since someone else made me a birthday cake so that was a nice "surprise" :)

This week we also have continued our search for a home. We went to see a couple on Thursday but the first one we weren't even allowed to look at because the landlord "doesn't rent to people with children" (I know, it is illegal, but I don't really want to rent from her if she has a problem with kids, there would just be problems the whole time we lived there) and the other one was slightly larger than our little house on Meadowbrook but pretty gross, smelled of cat pee, and had basically no kitchen. I have been pretty discouraged this week but I have looked back through my blog at where we have been over the last several years and seen how God has faithfully come through over and over again and I am trusting Him to do it again.

So for this coming week we will continue to look for a place to live so we won't be living in a box (I guess it would take several boxes) when August 3rd rolls around and continue to get more school work accomplished while Glenn prepares for his next exam which will be Thursday then he has a 3 day weekend! We don't know yet what we are doing but we are hoping to get away somewhere.

I'll try to keep up better with this so it isn't such a book everytime. No promises though. Until next time.... keep l@@king up :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

One Week down, Another 7 to Go

Leaving Rochester I promised people that I would try to keep up with this but so far I have not been successful. We spent Glenn's last week of freedom getting settled and exploring the area a bit. There was a Hike/Bike homeschooling event at Erie Canal Park in Camillus that we got to late and did kind of run into 2 other homeschool dads with their kids but didn't really connect much. We had only brought the kids bikes so we decided to bring a picnic lunch with us and everyone's bikes to go back there after church on Sunday. That was a lot of fun. There is a museum there that we got to check out with a Canal Store which was neat. I decided that we should study the Erie Canal this summer with our school so we checked out some books on it at the library. Another outing that we had was to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. We ended up buying a family plus one membership to the zoo so that everytime we go we can bring one guest with us for free - anyone want to go to the zoo? :) It was a lot of fun to check out. It is different from the Seneca Park Zoo but our membership here is good there too whenever we go back to Rochester :)

Glenn started his anatomy class last Monday so the kids and I started school as well because we have taken too much time off this past school year. We are not going to have to do math for all 8 weeks but we are going to have to do phonics. I am praying that Hannah will gain confidence in herself as a reader this summer. She is almost there but she gives up and gets frustrated too easily. Glenn has been a bit overwhelmed with all the material that he now has in his brain that he did not have a week ago. His first exam is on Wednesday on the thorax. He has been studying a lot but has made it home for dinner every night except tonight because he had review sessions. He has been biking to class. It is a little less than 2 miles. His lab group is working together pretty well and they have become a study group as well. He says they seem to study pretty well together so that is good.

The kids have thoroughly enjoyed having kids nearby. They love playing with 4 year old Elodie downstairs and 5 year old Kyle, 8 year old Trevor, and 11 year old Francesca next door. They play with them outside and then as soon as I tell them that we have to go in for dinner they run upstairs and back on the back porch to talk to them some more. It is fun for them. (yes, we have porches. Abigail told us her favorite thing about Syracuse is that we have "twoooo poh-cheeeeehzzz" - front and back). The next door neighbors have a fun backyard with a pool and the kids have gone swimming with them several times. We love this apartment, if only we weren't subletting and could rent it for the 4 years.... Alas, the guy we are subletting from has had the apartment for 11 years, I doubt that he is going to want to give it up :( I know that God has good plans and He knows where we will be living in 2 months. Why is this always the story of our lives? Everyone here makes you sign a 1 year lease so most likely we will be at our next place for 12 months, at least.

We went to a different church this week and I really don't think that we'll be going back there for regular service. It was OK. The service seemed more like a show than a time to gather and worship. It's not my style. After church Caleb asked if we could go back to West Genny next week. We kind of felt at home there so we may be going back next week, or we may check out a couple more churches. We really don't know. I know that if we had just stayed at FWC like we did at North it would have saved us a bit of misery. Sometime before Sunday I'll try to get a chance to talk to Glenn about that one.

VISITORS!!! We welcome visitors :) On Saturday night our dear friends the Lishawas came to visit us and brought us a picnic supper. We headed out in search of a park with those little grill things. We were told about a couple of them but we decided to go up to Onondaga Lake Park. It is a fun park but it is hard to find grills. They are way up at the north part of the park, I think that it was Willow picnic grounds or something. After driving around the park for a while it was a relief to finally find what looked to be 'grill heaven.' The guys manned the grill while the kids played on the playground. Brian had promised Caleb that before we left Rochester he would take him for a dip in Lake Ontario but we ran out of time and it wasn't able to happen so they (Caleb and Brian) insisted that it happen when they visited us. So Brian and all 4 of my kids went into Onondaga Lake. Gross. Our downstairs neighbor told me that they are probably some of only 10 people who have been in that lake in the last 30 years. Anyway, they did it. It was too dark by the time we got there for me to really see how gross the water is. I will have to check it out next time we go to the park. Anyway, it was so much fun to visit with Brian and Kristina. They are leaving Rochester soon as their residency is ending this month and they'll be heading to MI for a while before heading overseas.

On Sunday night we had other visitors. Mike and Rachele S came by to see us on their way to NH to see her family. Rachele and Glenn had gone to India together back in 1997 with TMI. We had not seen Rachele since she came by to check out TTU before we had even gotten married. We have gotten re-connected with them over the last couple of years through their update letters. They are getting ready to go overseas too at the end of July so it was so great to see Rachele and meet Mike. The kids made fast friends with these people who are on our fridge that we pray for. (big surprise there.)

We would love to have more visitors. I know that I need to go out and meet people and make friends here since we will be here 4 years but I would love to see old friends too. Oh, and what better opportunity than my Domino's American Legends HouseParty this Saturday at 6pm. I am super excited about it. I was picked by to host a party and they sent me a gift card to buy one of each of the American Legends specialty pizzas from Domino's and a fun new game to play with my guests as well as coupons for pizza and the game and free movie popcorn. If you can't come but might want to host your own houseparty you should register on the site. I think that it is going to be a lot of fun!

OK, this concludes my book. I will try not to let it go so long between postings so I don't have to write a book each time.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

It's all About You, Jesus

So, yesterday was one of those morning after days. Allow me to explain. At North Baptist a new song of the month is introduced on the first Sunday of most every month. They are always great and I almost always cry and part of it gets stuck in my head but I can never remember all of the words so, on the morning after, I have to get onto the internet and look them up from the little chunks that I can remember - google and youtube to the rescue. :) On Sunday at church we sang a song that was new to me. On the program it said "Jesus, Lover of my Soul" and I know a song by that title so I thought that I knew what song we would be singing but I didn't know this song. It was really good though. Here are the lyrics I found for it:

It's all about You, Jesus
And all this is for You
For Your glory and your fame
It's not about me
As if You should do things my way
You alone are God
And I surrender to your ways

Jesus, lover of my soul
All consuming fire is in Your gaze
Jesus, I want you to know
I will follow you all my days
For no one else in history is like you
And history itself belongs to you
Alpha and Omega, You have loved me
And I will share eternity with You

So anyway, as we were singing it in church Lydia started crying because "we don't live at 1090 anymore" (we haven't lived at 1090 in almost a year) and I was crying because of the words, especially "It's not about me, As if You should do things my way, You alone are God, And I surrender to your ways." I always want things to go my way but it's not about me. He is not always going to do things my way but I can surrender to His ways and know that He knows what is best. If you would like to hear this song you can listen to it on youtube here.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Updates from Syracuse

written 5/30/09 at 7:30pm

Well, we are in Syracuse. We have been here just over 24 hours. So far so good. We were really planning on sleeping here at our new place on Thursday night but it didn't happen because on Thursday we packed and packed the Burb and the van and worked on cleaning the house but we realized at about 4pm that we were not going to be able to fit everything. We ultimately decided to go to Syracuse leave the Burb, unload the van and then head back to Rochester to grab the rest of the stuff and finish cleaning the house. We all slept on the floor at our house at 59 Meadowbrook one more time. In the morning we finished up, dropped off our modem, went out for breakfast and went to the Museum of Play, then went back to our new apartment that we are subletting in Syracuse. We unloaded and made pizza for supper.

Added 5/31/09 at 8:40pm

Friday night we set up our beds and went to sleep. Saturday morning we got up and started setting things up and putting things away. Tim, the guy who is working on the bathroom, came over and was surprised that we were already here. He had an audience of 4 as he taught plumbing to our kids while he got the sink and shower into working order. He used to teach preschool and got to use some of his teaching skills as our curious little ones watched him. While we were working some more we sent the kids outside to play with the kids next door. There are two little girls who live downstairs in our house, they are probably 10 months and 4 years old. Next door there are 3 kids – the 2 boys are 5 and 8 and the girl is 11. Our kids had a lot of fun with them and they are so excited that kids moved in next door. I think that it is going to be hard to leave here in two months because we have already made little friends. I also think that we need to get as much schooling done as we can in the next couple of weeks before school gets out here because my kids are going to want to be outside playing not inside getting schoolwork done while Daddy is in class. In the afternoon we got a little taste of Rochester here in Syracuse when we went to Levi's birthday party at Miranda's parents house. It was fun to see small group people so soon after leaving. We had to be home by 6pm to flip the Burb to the other side of the street since we have to park on the street and after flipping the Burb we went to P&C to do some grocery shopping since we have a very empty fridge then the kids took baths and we took a walk around the block and went to bed.

This morning we went to West Genesee Hills Baptist Church. People are always surprised when we go to church on the first Sunday we are in a new place but I always think, “What else would we do, stay home and unpack more boxes??” Though church shopping is hard, I think that getting out of the house is a nice break. There was a North connection at the church with a few family members of people from North in the congregation and at least one person who had gone to North a few years ago. After church there was a going away fellowship meal and we were invited to stay for it “since our kitchen wasn't all unpacked” by the pastor's mom. She told the kids that everyone calls her Grandma Ferry and that they could too but Lydia called her “Fairy Godmother.” We got to meet many of the people and everyone seemed pretty friendly. On our way home we stopped at Wegmans – how can you pass Wegmans and not stop? They didn't sell my 5# bag of cheese for less than $10 that my old Marketplace Wegmans sells but it is OK. I am still trying to figure out this town and where we are going to shop. When we finally got home we took a nap. After our naps we took a walk down to Barry Park to play then we headed home to warm up (it got cold tonight!) and watch a movie. Now it is off to bed. We need to be out of the way in the morning when Tim comes back to finish the bathroom so we don't know what we are doing tomorrow but we will probably get to the library to post this and see what has happened in the 4 days since we've had internet.