Monday, November 30, 2009

The Green, Green Grass of Home.

Well, of Todd's hometown anyway.

One of the days that we were back in Iowa for Thanksgiving, my sweet, very patient husband took me out for a drive in the countryside. We had no firm plan other than to find some cool stuff to photograph. It was c-c-c-cold and somewhat rainy, so my sock monkey hat and mittens had their job cut out for them. We turned off the highway onto an unknown gravel road and picked our way along by whim and wisdom, and found enough cool stuff to shoot that I filled a whole 2GB card! Graveyards, barns, windmills are the stuff that makes up the Iowa countryside. Here are several of my favorite barns.

This is the first farm we noticed. There's something about red barns and windmills that is so picturesque. Maybe it's the contrast to the green grass, but it just seems so peaceful and homey.
At this little set up, I was greeted by a very friendly golden retriever, who gave up and left me alone when he found I had nothing of interest for him.
This cow, whom we affectionately named Trey (you know, for the 3 distictive spots), got photographed simply because we liked his spots. He lived down a "minimum maintainance" dirt mud road. I really wanted to test out the landyatchs 4-wheel drive, but Todd's experience on such roads won out and we turned back. It was probably a good thing because we nearly got stuck trying to turn around! I guess when the county posts a sign that reads, "Enter at your own risk" it really is a good indication that you should steer clear (pun intended!)!
I don't know about you, but this barn just makes me want to host a Ho-Down! It just looks like a warm inviting place to have fun.
As we got closer to home I caught these next 2 pictures on the fly. I just love how the firewood is stacked so neat and orderly. This place was clearly Amish.

Beautiful. This jewel is just around the corner...
...and has an Amish neighbor across the way.
And this set wouldn't be complete without a picture of the family homestead. The fondations of this house date back 200 years. Todd's aunt and uncle currently live here. I think the trees are as impressive as anything.

"Not Me!" Monday

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This past week was a whirlwind, what with laundry, packing and driving 13 hours to spend Thanksgiving with extended family. I'm certain that I did not do anything that I wouldn't want anyone to know about.

I did not mistakenly assume that my washing machine was going out when the sprinkler system drain hose got knocked out of the drain and made the laundry room floor all wet. Nope, I'm a logical person and always check things out. I was not completely disappointed when we learned that we did not need a new washer. Not me!

I so did not throw a little hissy fit at Thanksgiving dinner when the family started to sing the traditional prayer before I had my phone ready to video record it. I am really more mature than to roll my eyes, and slam my phone down on the table, in the middle of said prayer. That was SO not me!

Oh, and you know how when we were kids driving down the highway on a long trip we would pass semis and get them to honk by mimicking pulling the chain for the blow horn? Yeah, I so did not do that to the driver of a passenger van, who looked at me like I was completely insane! Nope, not me!

What didn't you do this week?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Falling at His Feet.

Luke 7:36-50

Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner."
Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you."
"Tell me, teacher," he said.
"Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?"
Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled."
"You have judged correctly," Jesus said.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
Then Jesus said to her, "Your sins are forgiven."
The other guests began to say among themselves, "Who is this who even forgives sins?"
Jesus said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."

Who am I?

As I studied this passage tonight, I wondered. Am I the type of Christian who would invite Jesus over to dinner and sit around the table and chat? Or am I the type of sinner who would seek Jesus out, if I knew He was in town, so that I could fall at his feet weeping so desparately that my tears would wash the road dust off his feet, so that I could dry them with my hair, kiss them and pour my most expensive perfume on them for the sheer love of the one whom I believe could forgive my sin?

Who am I?

That's really the wrong question, isn't it? Isn't the question whether or not I recognize the depth of my sinfulness? Was the Pharisee, Simon, any less a sinner than the woman? Nope, not according to scripture. Didn't Jesus point out in the parable that neither debtor was able to pay his debt? Does it really matter how much debt I owe if I can't pay any of it? Nope.

Uh-oh! Hold on this rollercoaster is going for the inverted loop.

If I recognize that I am a sinner, completely unable to pay my debt, and I receive forgiveness from Jesus, then shouldn't my love for my Savior reflect the depth of my sin? Well, the depth of the sin that I am willing to recognize, anyway. Would it be true that the more I see my own sinfulness the more deeply and passionately I love my Jesus?

So, it's not: Who am I?

It's: Am I falling at His feet?

Am I falling at His feet, weeping?

Am I falling at His feet, weeping, washing?

Am I falling at His feet, weeping, washing, kissing?

Am I falling at the feet of Jesus, weeping, washing, kissing, pouring my best fragrance?

Or am I reclined at the table, wondering why Jesus doesn't send these sinners away, completely and utterly unaware that I desparately need him to cancel my debt?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bowling Partay!

Our twins were born on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This year their actual birthday falls on that same day. When I was pregnant with them my (39 week) due date of Dec 31 was a concern. You know, no parent wants their kids born that close to Christmas, especially twins, who already share a birthday. We were actually relieved when they were born 6 weeks early, because we thought it meant their birthday wouldn't be superceeded by Christmas.

We were somewhat wrong.

Their birthday and Christmas don't coincide, but Thanksgiving poses a problem. It really is hard to have a birthday party the weekend of Thanksgiving. Those who are in town usually have family obligations. So, tonight we are hosting the birthday bash.

Can I just stop right here, right now and tell you that 11 year old boys are LOUD! We have two rowdy ones all the time, but WHOA! Nine of them together are nearly deafening! Todd went to bed a bit ago and honestly, I don't see how he can possibly be sleeping.

Anyway. We had a Wii bowling tournament. It was awesome! Did I mention that 11 year olds are loud? Todd made pizza. It was awesome!! And I, of course, made cake! It was WICKED COOL! (bet you thought I was going to say 'awesome' again, huh?) Oh my heavens! Eleven year olds are LOUD!I love you boys! I'll wish you a happy birthday next week.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

40 Reasons....

I turned 40 on the 11th. A significantly round age, I guess. My family and friends got a whole week of celebrating in, which was just fine by me! I love gooey, chocolatey desserts, free lunches and attention!

It's hard to surprise me, mostly because my dear husband doesn't have a sneaky bone in his body. He doesn't get when he says, "We're going to Maggiano's for dinner and other stuff." that it spoils the surprise element. I mean, I do interpret 'other stuff' as 'something else is going to happen that he's being intentionally vague about'.

This year however, my two best friends got me, and they got me GOOD! Oh, the lies! Oh, the deceit! Oh, the wonder of it all!

They got together, pooled their photos, stole some photos of mine from here on my blog and my Facebook page. And they created a book "40 Reasons Why We Love You." The book didn't arrive until after the surprise party, so we just had to do lunch.

Now, Penny was in charge of wrapping the gift. She was on a mission to confuse and befuddle me, and I must say, she did a great job! She wrapped it in tissue an put it in a wooden "Clue" game box with the little pieces to rattle around. I shook it. I felt it. I hefted it. Try as I might, I could not even imagine what they could possibly be giving me! You could say that even though I had a "Clue", I was completely clueless!

I was completely BLOWN AWAY! The book is beautiful! I cried as I read it. My friends shared memories & moments, thoughts & thanks, faith & fun, times & traditions that we have shared. It was so uplifting and quite encouraging to be shown so tangibly that my life has made an impact on the lives of others.
And to my 'besties', Penny & Heather, WOW! You know that I feel every bit the same about both of you! All 40 Reasons...!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quelle Nightmare!

We had gone to a friend's house and I found there was no parking in front of their house so I parked smack dab in the middle of the cul-de-sac. Matt was there on his motorcycle, also in the middle of the cul-de-sac, and we were talking through the window. Kevin had gotten out of the truck and was playing with Gabby and climbing on Matt, being his normally friendly self.

Matt decided to park the truck, so he hopped in as I slid over to the passengers side. I told Kevin to wait on the sidewalk. Matt backed the truck to get a better angle at parking, then pulled forward. Suddenly Kevin ran in front of the truck and I saw his face right before we hit him. Matt didn't even slow, but kept going thinking Kevin would be between the wheels not under them. As soon as he stopped I leapt over him and out the door to go to my baby.

I saw him immediately, laying in the street with a smile on his face, but his head in such an unnatural shape. I began screaming, "OH GOD NO! CALL 911!" I ran to him and dropped beside him on the ground, touching and calling to him, "Oh my baby. My Kevin." And I knew there was no life in him. I also knew that with such a brain injury there was no hope in calling 911. I just could not wrap my mind around it.

At that moment, my brain, unable to comprehend such a horror, forced itself out of the subconscious and into the realm of reality. I woke. Trembling. Sweating. Crying. Relieved. Relieved that the most horrific scene I could ever imagine was indeed just in my head. A dream. My worst nightmare.

I woke my husband. I cried out my dream to him, the horror. He understood. He held me. He listened as I whimpered over and over, "Not my Kevin. My baby Kevin." I couldn't close my eyes without seeing the last part of my dream over and over. So, I did what any distraught mother would do. I got out of bed, crept into his room, threw his blankie over my shoulder and lifted my boy into my trembling, hungry for life, motherly arms and carried him back to my room where I held him, looked at him, caressed his perfectly shaped head, looked into his precious blue eyes, gave him a thousand kisses and waited. I waited until reality seeped back into my mind, until when I closed my eyes I saw his living, smiling, finger-sucking face. I listened to him breathe and suck his fingers and the little swish-swish-swish of his fingers rubbing his blankie in rhythm to his sucking.

I must have given him and his baby brother a thousand more kisses today, just for the sheer joy of living. I must have thanked God a thousand times today that my kids are alive and well. And I must have asked God a thousand times to not let that nightmare ever become reality.

And tonight, there is no nightmare, only him!

Monday, November 16, 2009

"Not Me!" Monday.

Welcome to Not Me! Monday! This blog carnival was created by MckMama. You can head over to her blog to read what she and everyone else have not been doing this week.

This week as I potty trained my last son, I did not even once leave pee in the potty because I was too exhausted to get up and empty it. I didn't take pictures of my son crying on the potty after he emptied the entire roll of toiletpaper onto the floor, and I didn't rewind every last square of the toilet paper back onto the roll. Nope, not me!

Today I did not mess around instead of getting my work done. I totally did not feel completely exhausted and wonder "Why?" only to find my full cup of cold, unfinished coffee sitting on the counter. I did not proceed to warm it up in the microwave and walk out the door to run errands, leaving sit in the beeping microwave until I got home. I'm much too alert for that. Totally not me!

I so did NOT turn 40 this past week! I'm only 22!

How was your week?