Tuesday, August 28, 2007

What's been going on...

Do you ever take notice of the things that you spend time thinking about?

I've recently noticed that the things that I have thought made no difference to me actually do matter to me. Why else would I be pondering them while hanging out the laundry, cooking dinner, or checking the kids' schoolwork?

That's just what I've been thinking. And the stuff that's been on my mind wouldn't make good blog material, either. Sorry for the lack of posts.

Today turned out to be a busy day. We made 2 trips to the vet (actually 3 if you count the return visit to pick her up). Penelope was due for her shots, and then once we got home, we noticed her scratching a lot. I inspected her closely, and she had lots of seed ticks on her. She uses Frontline, but these ticks are ferocious. We took her for a flea & tick bath and were instructed to reapply the Frontline on Friday.
We also took dinner to a recenly widowed elderly gentleman from our church. We had a nice time visiting with him, though we left emotionally drained. He had been married for 58 years and is very lonely. I brought him dinner with my 4 kids and my dog in tow. (Remember that 2nd trip to the vet.)
After that visit, we returned home to prepare dinner for our immediate family plus my mother- and father-in-law.
I think you've been pretty much brought up to speed.

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's happened again

If you recall from a previous post, Scott was going to purchase a first aid kit. Well, he did, and after much searching, he found the right bag to keep it all in. He just got the thing put together and he's been carrying it everywhere.

So... this afternoon he got his first real opportunity to use it. He left his office and was driving on the interstate, when the car in front of him that was doing about 80 mph left the roadway and flipped several times. He slammed on his brakes and swerved over to the side of the road. He grabbed the first aid kit, ran to the car, pulled the girl out of the window, and rendered first aid.

God was really watching out for this girl. At 80 mph and ending in a roll-over, the extent of her injuries was one 3/4 inch scratch on her knee, which she said really hurt. One sterile gauze and three sprays of antiseptic/antibiotic later, the first aid kit was returned to the car.

What was lost on this girl is that her's was the second accident in as many weeks where Scott has been first on the scene. Fifty percent of which now have involved LifeFlight. She is fortunate that she didn't require more medical help, as Scott has yet to take a first aid course. Me, I'm afraid to sneeze around him. I'm afraid he'll strap a splint on me and prick me with needles or something. Nah, he really doesn't want to use it. He's squeamish around blood.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

In God's Time

and not a moment sooner.

Our RV has been on a consignment lot for 3 months. We decided some time ago that if we were not going to be using the RV, we should sell it. They are quite expensive to up-keep if they are not being used. Yesterday was the last day for it to be at the lot, so we loaded up the kids and went to pick it up.

We have been planning a trip to Dallas, which the kids finally found out about. They have been excited about getting the RV back and have been making lists of what to bring with them. Nicholas even got up early and did his schoolwork- he was finished by 9:30 am. He wanted to ride home in the RV with Dad, which apparently Scott had told him he could do.

Another vehicle came into the lot right after we did. While the salesperson went to get the keys for us, the other gentleman asked if he could look at it. He had been by the day before and brought his wife back with him to see it. We agreed to wait while they looked. While we were waiting, they made an offer which was accepted. The gentleman is withdrawing funds from his retirement account, so there will be a 12 day wait, but he has made a down-payment and signed a contract. He also has purchased from this lot in the past and they are quite confident that there will be no surprises. We have said all along that whatever God wants us to do... we will do. We had determined that if the RV did not sell, that we would continue to use it for trips and wait on God to see what was coming. We thought maybe He still had places for us to go. Perhaps it was that He was developing in us Patience and Trust.

So we didn't bring the RV home. Nicholas didn't get to ride in it. He actually cried. He's a big boy, and he doesn't cry often. It was really kind of sad to see. Fortunately, he is not too big to cheer up with ice cream and some inventive Pig Latin.

Do You Really Know Your Spouse?

Can you remember ever having a moment when you thought to yourself, “Do I really know the person I married?” You may have to think back if you’ve been married for a while. Was there a time that something happened or was said that made you think, “What have I gotten myself into?” Perhaps it was even something that even scared you. There are always horror stories in the news of people who get married only to find out that they have married a monster.
What follows is a true story of a couple who have been married for a little over a year. The names have been changed to protect the ignorant… um, I mean innocent. Let’s call our couple Junior and Laura.

Junior and Laura live in a comfortable home in a suburban area. They have a nice-sized yard with quiet neighbors. Laura’s sister and her husband live close by and often stop to visit and have meals with Junior and Laura. So begins our tale….

It’s a blistering 106 degrees in the comfy suburban neighborhood where Junior and Laura live. For unknown reasons, the power goes out. As Junior and Laura sit suffering through the near-unbearable heat, Junior decides that he & his lovely wife should be more prepared for such events. He begins to talk of having stores of water on-hand for emergencies like natural disasters and possible terror attacks. He shares the desire to have more food in the house, in case they can’t purchase it anywhere for a while. And then he decides to approach the difficult subject of telling the un-prepared family members (i.e. Laura’s sister) that they will have to take care of themselves. It came out something like this, “…and if we can’t get enough food, well, we’re just going to have to make some tough decisions about your sister.” Laura did not wish to talk about this, as she and her sister are very close. She covered her ears and began to cry. Junior continued his line of reasoning, trying to convince her that it would be a necessity. She would hear none of it. Eventually they went to bed, but she was still quite disturbed. Laura even retreated to the far side of the bed and cried herself to sleep. Junior was confused by her behavior and couldn’t seem to say anything to calm her down.

The next day before coming home from work, Junior bought some of the survival supplies he had been talking about. He came home with a potable water hose, some lanterns, and a root shovel with a serrated edge. He presented the items to Laura, hoping that she would be a little more comfortable with being prepared for emergencies. The presentation of the serrated-edge shovel brought more tears, followed by Junior’s near-loss of his temper over such unreasonable behavior. Finally, Laura was able to choke out the words, “I… can’t… eat… my… sister.” Junior danced around jubilantly at the ridiculous misunderstanding (“tough decisions about your sister” meant telling her she had to feed herself, not killing and eating the sister) and immediately began emailing and calling his buddies to say that his wife thought he would resort to cannibalism AND start with her sister.

There are really no good words to sum up a story like this. My husband laughed so hard he cried when his friend told him this. All I have to say is, if you wear a pith helmet and carry a saber when you mow your lawn, your wife might just think you’re nuts enough to eat her sister.

A Treasured Guest

I've never heard so many "ohhs" and "ahhs" as when this little fawn makes its appearance. We've seen it several times in the last two weeks. It is always alone. We think that perhaps it's mother was the ill-fated deer you can read about here. This photo was taken beside our driveway. Since most of our land is wooded, we were kind of surprised that he came all the way our of the woods to eat along the fence line. He stayed there staring at us until the neighbor turned on a pretty loud rendition of "Rocky Top". We're hoping he'll come back to visit sometime.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happiness is...

having your belly scratched til you fall asleep.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Preparation for the Work

Early September, 1996
I had just returned to my apartment, accompanied by my soon-to-be husband. My hair was freshly styled in a practice-run for our wedding just a few days away. As we sat on the couch dreamily talking about the life ahead of us, there was a disturbance outside the door.
“I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!,” followed by scuffling sounds. To my utter shock, dismay, and even horror, my fiancĂ© bolted out the door. There was more yelling and scuffling, as I stayed behind the closed door (he had closed it for my protection), fearing for my future husband’s life. Things calmed down, and eventually Scott came back inside to tell me what had happened.
A 10-year-old boy (we’ll call him Ray) lived upstairs and was left alone a lot. He had learned how to cook, but didn’t have any food in the house. His 12-year-old friend (we’ll call him Roy) was also left alone a lot, but he didn’t know how to cook. He had food. Roy brought over ingredients, and Ray was making pancakes for them to share. They got into an argument over something and it spilled outside of the apartment and down the stairs. Roy pulled out a double-edged knife, shouted “I’m going to kill you!” and was in the process of attempting that when Scott interrupted the fight. He disarmed Roy and kept his knife. Roy was then sent home. He promised that as soon as his older brother came home, he would be back. Scott took Ray back upstairs and offered to help him with food or whatever he needed. Ray told Scott that he would be going to live with his dad the next day, and showed Scott all of his stuff that was packed up and his sharpened pencils that were ready for his new school. Scott found out what time his mother would be home, and made a point of being back to speak with her that evening. She was disinterested, to say the least. He also attempted to follow up with Roy, but was not very successful. He did return the knife to the boy’s guardians.
My husband was 21 years old when this happened. I had never seen someone go out of the way to resolve an issue like this. It scared me, but I was impressed. I was not a Christian at the time, so I did not view this as anything beyond Scott’s nature and abilities. I did not know this was a precursor of things to come.
When we moved into our first house with our infant son, Scott instantly formed a relationship with the 3 boys who lived by us. Two were brothers, and the other boy was their cousin. Their mother locked the door when she was away, and the boys had to stay outside. It was often cold. I offered to let the boys come into our house, but they would not unless Scott was home. They could probably sense my “pity” for them, and Scott was more of a pal. They would often sit on our back porch and wait for him to come home from work. Even after a long day at work, he would sit out on the back porch and pal around with them. One of the boys (the cousin) confided in Scott that he had been totally alone for 3 days. His dad had been arrested and his grandfather had gone to the hospital. The authorities didn’t know he was alone. I was mildly jealous of the attention that Scott gave to these boys, when I had been home alone all day with an infant. I am ashamed of my reaction now.
This pattern has continued throughout our marriage. Troubled kids have found their way to Scott and he has always had time for them. He’s never sought them out, they’ve just shown up.
We actually sat down together last year and tried to make a list of our talents, resources, and abilities to see if we could figure out what God’s calling was on our lives. Scott’s ability to reach troubled kids and his concern for them did not make the list. It was completely over-looked. It was only after we were called to the youth ministry that we saw how God had been preparing us all along for such a task. We work mostly with “bus kids” from non-Christian families. We see patterns and cycles of abuse and neglect and the many issues that stem from these family curses. The kids are the victims, but unless they are reached with the Gospel of Christ and His message of hope and redemption, they will soon be the perpetrators. The power of Christ is the only thing that can break Satan’s hold on these families. What a blessed sight it is when we are able to witness parents being led to Christ by their children. God is good and worthy of all praise.
Here’s more good news: God doesn’t prepare the husband without also preparing the wife. My preparation has been different. A lot of it took place in the way I grew up and the neighborhood I grew up in. I can relate to these kids in a way that I never thought I could. My preparation has also been in large part through my husband. His ability to step out and help people regardless of personal consequence has emboldened me. I have seen God bless his efforts over and over. I cannot shy away from the responsibilities God has given me in the name of protecting my kids (which was my nature). I will be vigilant as their mother, but God is ultimately our Protector. He has called our family to labor together and He will be our Defender.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

The Night We Met Joe

Scott has really been too tired to post about our weekend. I told him that I would prefer his take on things, but he insists I can tell it just as well. I'll give it a try. I have no photos to post for this story, as the taking of them would have been, shall we say, tacky.
Saturday evening, right at dusk, I was giving Gloria a bath. I was mildly irritated that I had all the kids to bathe and none of them were really wanting to do it. Scott was engrossed in a book about edible plants, so I huffily went about the task at hand. I heard something odd, but it didn't really register what it could have been. I casually glanced out the window and saw sparks going down the edge of the road. My first thought was, "It's an odd time for fireworks." Then I heard what I thought was a disgruntled cow. We hear that from time to time because of the field across the street. At the same time, I saw a man emerge from the ditch carrying something. At this time, I knew something was up. This really all happened in probably less than a second. I knew there had been a motorcycle out there (I cannot remember if I heard it or saw it, but I knew there had been one passing by.) So I stuck my head out of the bathroom door and said (my exact wording), "Scott, go in front of the house." I didn't know how to say what I had just seen, so that was all I said. He responded with, "What?", to which I said, "Go outside and see if something happened in front of our house." He went out (no shoes), and as soon as the door opened, I knew that the cow sounds were a man's screams. I saw him dialing 911 as he ran down the driveway. I let him go alone (shouldn't have) because I had a little one in the bathtub, and I didn't want my kids to come out and see anything disturbing. My immediate prayer was, "God, please send someone who knows how to help," as well as, "Oh, God, please don't let him die."
Scott made it to the end of our very long driveway in record time. The man was carrying a little girl. They were both covered in blood, but there was no deep lesion, no spurting blood, etc. The man would not lie down. He was running frantically around, even into the road, and calling for help. The motorcycle was in the ditch, so to passers-by, it appeared that 2 people were just standing by the road talking. And when you are driving 60 mph down a country road, you just don't notice blood. Scott said he was afraid the man would be hit by one of the cars. He finally convinced the man to lie down, and stopped a car so the driver could help stop traffic. You can imagine his surprise when a woman jumped out of the car in scrubs with a stethoscope around her neck. She was a trauma nurse. Scott said at that moment, she was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. He really can't remember what she looked like at all, just that she was beautiful. Understandable, considering the situation. She was able to talk to the dispatchers and tell them the vital signs of the 2 people so that they could determine what kind of help would be needed. The man and his five year old granddaughter were both conscious and talking. The little girl said over and over that she was going to die. The man told Scott his name, his granddaughter's name, and that they had hit a deer. It jumped right out in front of them. He rode the motorcycle briefly after he hit it, holding his granddaughter up as high as he could and trying to keep his leg off the road. Then the foot pedal, or whatever it is called, caught the road and they were both thrown from the motorcycle and into the ditch. The man, Joe, lives less than a mile up the street from us. One of the persons who stopped to help went to his house to get his wife.
The emergency vehicles arrived: 2 ambulances, 2 police cars, and a firetruck. It was determined that the 2 needed to be taken by helicopter (LifeFlight) to a major hospital in Nashville. Scott helped to clean up the scene, even working with 3 other men to lift the motorcycle onto a trailer and drive it to the man's house. He came inside emotionally drained 2 hours after the ordeal began.

While this was happening, with 2 bloodied people on the ground and emergency vehicles everywhere, the next-door neighbor (an elderly crazy lady) stopped to tell Scott that he was a bad neighbor and was causing problems with the other neighbors. She said that our refusal to grant someone a permanent easement through our front yard was not neighborly (it was not her, there is a temporary easement, and we are on good speaking terms with the person who lives in the house that needed an easement) and she said that Scott's dad swore at her over a squirrel. Now, my father-in-law might swear at my husband, but he would never swear at an elderly lady. And the very fact that she addressed this while there were people on the ground possibly dying proves my point that she is crazy.
This was followed up by an extraordinarily LONG Sunday at church, with more personal attacks. It is not really something that I should address in a blog, but suffice it to say I clearly understand why the unchurched have such a low opinion of church-goers. "Church people" can be very very ugly, and I would go so far as to say that some are even working for the enemy. Sunday evening as we returned home from church, we saw that the lights were on at the house of the accident victim. We did not want to intrude as it was 10:30 at night, but the front doors were open, and we desperately wanted to know how Joe and Hannah were. We pulled into the driveway, and a young lady came out of the house. We said we were there to check on Joe and Hannah, and she told us that they had been released from the hospital just an hour before. She invited us in. We sat in Joe's living room, as he was covered in bandages and we praised God together. He has a great testimony to share of how God has worked in his life, long before his motorcycle accident. He said that when he picked his granddaughter up out of the ditch, he felt the hand of God wrapped around him. Scott told him that it was obvious God was watching out for them- the way he didn't get hit when he walked out in the road, the trauma nurse getting out of the first car that was stopped, and being released from the hospital the day after being lifted there by helicopter.
It's great to have a new friend who lives just down the street. It's a shame he had to crash his motorcycle in our front yard for us to meet.
Scott has ordered a new and more complete first aid kit (with cervical collars) and we are looking for a first responder course to take. Just in case this ever happens again.

Monday, August 6, 2007

A Day in the Life...

Today has been a good day. I woke up trying to put out of my mind the leftover emotional stress of the weekend. There's just something about having 4 kids around the table doing their schoolwork all AT THE SAME TIME and requesting help with various things that makes a person focus on the here and now. My 2 youngest are not old enough to need to do school, but the older brothers make it look so fun that they can't resist pulling out some books & crayons and putting in requests for flash card time. I got two loads of laundry done(well,they are still hanging out to dry) and two loads of dishes washed (Praise God for the dishwasher!)and dinner started in the crockpot (Black Bean Soup) in between helping the kids with their schoolwork. After the rush of morning schoolwork, we made a couple of loaves of bread. Now with dinner started, schoolwork done, & the husband's secretarial requests filled, all of the pressing stuff is over. There's lots left to do, but I think we are just going to take it easy the rest of the afternoon. Gloria is already asleep on my lap.

I have been gathering information for a trip to Dallas in the beginning of September. Scott's got to go there for a meeting and we are planning to go with him. The kids don't know it yet, just in case there are last minute changes to our plans.
We were hoping to see this guy while in Texas, but the state fair doesn't start til Sept. 21. Scott has fond memories of Big Tex & the Texas State Fair from his childhood.

I'll save the weekend update for Scott. Hopefully he will feel up to it tonight. He'll have a better perspective on it than I do. He'll tell you all about how he met our neighbors & new friends Joe and Hannah.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Some of the things growing in our yard...

One night a couple of months ago, the boys went out and stuck some seeds from a honeydew melon in the ground. We never expected one to grow, planted as it was in a small strip of dirt left from a re-trenching of our water line.

A couple of nights ago, Noah spotted this one while mowing with the yard. You'd have thought he'd found buried treasure by the way he was shrieking. This one will need a lot of TLC to produce.

This is a trumpet vine with a seed pod. Noah picked one to sketch and we are "dissecting" it later today.

The official state wildflower, the Passion Flower. Having lived in the state for all but 1 year of my life, I am surprised that I have never seen this flower before. We are anxiously awaiting the time to harvest the Passion Fruit. Right now they are still green, but should turn a deep purple.

Some wildflowers growing in the fenceline.

Gloria and Penelope playing