Category Archives: Scrapbook

UNEXPECTED

Got a call on January 25th that my Dad was admitted to the hospital… By the end of the weekend, we learned they found cancer and that it was also in his lymph nodes. UNEXPECTED.

Prayers began as we asked the Lord for wisdom. Started searching for flights to head to Arizona. Learned unofficial diagnosis was pancreatic cancer and more tests were done in order to receive a prognosis the following week.

Made arrangements for Mike and I to go together, leaving the boys to man-the-farm and Grandma & Grandpa’s outdoor wood-burner. Lined up help from friends to assist the boys when needed… UNEXPECTED.

Never dreamed in a million years Mike would be able to come with me: UNEXPECTED… but thankfully, God is bigger than my expectations…

Once my Dad’s discomfort was eased, he began to feel better. Told the doctor he thought it unnecessary to remain in the hospital because he didn’t like sitting around feeling sorry for himself – that he felt better when he could keep busy… Doctor agreed. Released him 1-31. UNEXPECTED.

Mike and I flew in late on 2-1. My brother was supposed to pick us up, but was so sick he couldn’t get out of bed for three days. Virus… UNEXPECTED.

Instead got picked up by my Dad and Uncle Jack. Dad looked like Dad – though perhaps tired. UNEXPECTED.

What did I expect? Well, I guess I don’t know… But since I was expecting to see him in a hospital bed, I suppose I thought he’d be too weak to “be Dad”. But he wasn’t. And I was glad. This was a comfort – familiar felt good… UNEXPECTED.

Our hotel room number was 322. Kinda cool – have been memorizing Lamentations 3:22-23: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.

20140211-090333.jpg

My Dad has wanted to get Mike out to see the desert ever since he moved out there in 1999. And even though this was an emergency trip & unplanned, Dad wanted to show Mike his favorite sights… UNEXPECTED.

Internal battles began… We didn’t come out for a vacation… Our funds were/are limited… Money in savings is for the next few months bills, right? Aren’t we going to look irresponsible to those around us? Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21

Prayers were answered and we were filled with peace at allowing my Dad to do what he wanted. He took us to see his good friend, Chuck – wanted Mike to meet him. Enjoyed listening to these guys share hunting memories and past stories… Drove us to grocery stores so he could buy us our “weird” health foods, lol. He wouldn’t let us buy anything that wasn’t a “good price” – he knew the bargains, lol. He and Uncle Jack bought food for a Superbowl feast & cooked for us. UNEXPECTED.

On Monday, Dad took us to his work to file for future time off. Met some of his co-workers and boss, and felt their compassion as they wished my Dad well. So many unanswered questions. Everything hinging on Thursday’s appointment with the oncologist. It was only Monday. It was touching to see everyone’s genuine concern for my Dad.

Then we headed to Uncle Jack’s property. The three men moved cacti as excavation was to begin the next day. Dad was so happy he could bring “the farmer” to the desert, and Mike was excited he got to play in the dirt. Ended the jaunt with a visit to my Dad & Uncle Jack’s favorite local hangout: Greasewood Flats. Heard stories of fun times they shared together. UNEXPECTED.

20140211-092050.jpg

20140211-092334.jpg

20140211-092519.jpg

20140211-092945.jpg

20140211-093220.jpg

20140211-093411.jpg

20140211-093826.jpg

20140211-094158.jpg

Tuesday came. My brother, Mark, was still sick, but getting better. Dad said we could borrow his truck to take my Mom to a doctor appointment, so Mark wouldn’t have to. The week before, she had had foot surgery. This appointment led to x-rays at a nearby hospital, and then back to the doctor’s office. 7 hours. Thankful we could help my brother, and were able to help my Mom, too. UNEXPECTED.

Returned to Dad to find he had spent the afternoon cooking ribs and veggies for dinner for us. UNEXPECTED.

By evening, Mark was well enough to have us over. Got to spend time with him & my Mom, and Mike finally got to meet our 7-year-old niece, Abbi. What a joy! Loved watching Mike play kitchen & color with her! Was fun learning Abbi associates Auntie Dawn with sewing, lol… She wanted to learn how to crochet, so we finger crocheted a bit, and played a game. UNEXPECTED.

20140211-135006.jpg

20140211-135500.jpg

20140211-135715.jpg

20140211-140600.jpg

20140211-140745.jpg

20140211-140920.jpg

Wednesday came. First Dad wanted us to meet a bartender friend of his. He said she liked to eat naturally like us, had told her about us, and she wanted to meet us. She offered to make him organic tonics while he did cancer treatments. This was the first I’d heard of him even being interested in trying something “alternative”, so it was fun to meet her and talk with her. Next my Dad wanted to take Mike to a “real” Mexican place for lunch… Followed by a trip to Cabelas. He started complaining of heartburn, and jokingly blamed it on the onions from lunch. He didn’t want to go back home… Said he was ok. Seemed ok. Took us to Lee Air Force base where we watched fighter jets practice. Joked with other spectators, and was “normal Dad”.

20140211-141518.jpg

20140211-142300.jpg

20140211-142504.jpg

20140211-142620.jpg

Returned to Dad’s place, and we talked about “tomorrow” – Thursday. The oncologist appointment. The hard stuff. What his wishes were. Those questions that are hard to ask, and that I was afraid to ask. It was an emotional conversation because he acknowledged his struggles… But it was beautiful, too, because he shared with me that even though his life may not have looked like it, he truly did believe… And the rest is between his heart and the Lord… There are no words to express how thankful I am we had that talk… UNEXPECTED.

Left Dad for the day with plans of meeting him in the morning for his appointment. Got back to the hotel – only a 10 minute drive. Walked into our room & my Dad’s roommate called in a panic asking us to come back. Dad wasn’t well. He called 911. I called Mark. We got there to find EMS working on Dad. No pulse. Mark & I followed to ER. Mike stayed at the house to finish with the police follow-up. Minutes later, I had to state my Dad’s wishes to the hospital staff. It hadn’t even been 2 hours since he told me what he wanted/didn’t want! I’m so grateful my brother and I were there together… UNEXPECTED.

A woman appeared to help us find a secluded room. I thought she was a volunteer. I just wanted to pray with Mark. Everything just seemed so unbelievable… This lady didn’t leave. So I asked her if she minded if we prayed. I was expecting to pray… But before I could speak, SHE PRAYED!! She SPOKE SCRIPTURE!! And I immediately felt the Lord lifting me up as His Words fueled every fiber of my being. Filled me with hope and comfort and composure. And kept me together as we waited for Mike to join us and to see Dad, one last time. UNEXPECTED.

It wasn’t until awhile later that I learned this lady was the hospital’s chaplain, lol… And then Mike shared how he prayed the Lord would send me comfort while we were separated. HE did!

So Dad didn’t make it to Thursday. So unbelievable: He didn’t make it to Thursday… UNEXPECTED. How ironic. “Tomorrow” was the day we were supposed to find out about how much time he had left, but he didn’t make it past “today”…

Can’t help but think about my last blog post. A post where I am mourning the loss of a trip we planned and couldn’t take. And now I see why. The Lord had a different trip in mind, with far greater implications… The lesson is the same, and I am in awe of how He prepares us for what is to come…Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. (James 4:13-16 NIV)

YES, LORD, I hear You! I pray I will move forward with a passion to be grateful for each moment I am in. Help me to stop placing my hope in tomorrow so that I don’t miss the opportunities that are right in front of me! Thank You so much for prompting me to have that last conversation with my Dad! Use my story to impress on others how precious the moment is that we are in, and not to assume there is more time! If you are reading this post, I pray you have heard the message of salvation that is ONLY available through Jesus Christ… That you have not only heard it, but understand it, and have accepted the gift of His sacrifice so you can spend your eternity in Heaven. And that if you already know this, but know someone who needs to hear it, TELL THEM – DON’T WAIT!! There are no guarantees there will BE tomorrow… WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, Christ died for us. Whether you accept His gift or not, HE STILL DIED FOR YOU! I pray that you know there is a difference between practicing religion and having a relationship with Jesus. The Lord knows our hearts and motivations – and we cannot DO anything to work our way to Heaven. That it is between our heart and the Lord – we must each recognize we are sinners, and that we NEED Jesus. I pray for more people to repent of their sins, and live lives for Him. When we do that, we become a child of God, and His Spirit will live inside us. And because He then lives inside us, HE IS NEVER LATE… What appears as a mystery to us, is not to Him. He never leaves us or forsakes us. And His love endures forever… Amen

We extended our stay from Friday to Monday. The airlines waived the $600 fee!! UNEXPECTED.

To say these days are a blur, would be an understatement. At the drop of a hat, I cry. I can’t seem to control my emotions. I’m having a hard time believing this is real. One minute Dad was with me and then he was just…gone. I mourn for all those who will miss him. I mourn for the missed opportunities I had to have deeper conversations with him, but didn’t. But I mourn with Hope… With a renewed passion to share Christ-in-me more… Hard to type as well. Probably rambling too much and not in complete sentences. But for me, writing this is therapeutic. A record of these past 9 days. I really don’t want to forget all these details… I’m healing as I walk. And I am content with however long that is for me…

Just to journal the last of our trip: Thursday was spent learning about death certificates and how our culture profits from death. Probably good info to know for the future, but it is a bit of a shock to take it all in. We accomplished what we could and now have to wait on paperwork before we can proceed any further. UNEXPECTED.

Ended the evening with Mark & Abbi coming out to swim at our hotel. A nice way to relax after a tense and difficult day.

Friday, my brother needed to work, so Mike and I had a day to ourselves. A much needed time of rejuvenation. I know Dad would have wanted that, and that thought brought us relief as we experienced the beauty of Arizona that my Dad loved so much. We (tried to) climb Camelback Mountain, lol, but realized we were “out of our league” as runners sped past us at breakneck speed while we stopped to breathe and guard our steps to avoid any injuries… We were completely ok with our “peak” being 2/3 of the way up the mountain, lol.

20140211-201022.jpg

20140211-201225.jpg

20140211-204115.jpg

20140211-204023.jpg

20140211-204050.jpg

Next we tried to find some baseball spring training baseball fields… We found some, but we were a day or two early.

20140211-204507.jpg

We had two people tell us about climbing Pinnacle Peak. So we headed there next. It was soooo much more our style!! A not-too-aggressive climb, and the views were spectacular!!

20140211-205248.jpg

20140211-205518.jpg

20140211-211818.jpg

20140211-212158.jpg

20140211-213855.jpg

20140211-214320.jpg

20140211-214414.jpg

Uncle Jack ended up meeting us there and we enjoyed another trip to his property to see the excavation progress. It was an emotional visit, since just four days earlier we were there with my Dad. He loved the backdrop of western movies, and loved living near the mountains and desert. But most of all, he loved sharing it with family and friends…

20140211-214639.jpg

20140211-214730.jpg

20140211-214848.jpg

That night my brother and Mom had us out for an enormous Chinese dinner. I am still full, lol…

20140211-231402.jpg

Saturday we found some souvenirs for the boys and then met Mark at my Dad’s house to clean out his stuff. My Dad was a simple guy, so there was only a room and some boxes to go through. Found some items to keep, and passed the rest on to others. Dad would have wanted that…

Enjoyed pizza and a movie night with Mark, Abbi, and my Mom.

Spent Sunday morning sorting through all my Dad’s personal files. Wanted to try to organize things and sort everything to make it easier for Mark to handle after we left.

Experienced a beautiful morning of worship at Trinity Bible Church. A message the Lord had prepared perfectly for us… EXPECTED!

Spent a final afternoon with Mark, Abbi, and my Mom, and then met up with my Dad’s two brothers who flew in this week to help Mark.

20140211-233005.jpg

20140211-233104.jpg

Saturday afternoon, we went back to the bar my Dad took us to on Wednesday. I wanted to shake the hands of some of his friends, and thank them in-person for being a friend to my Dad. Only saw a few, but that’s ok. It was something I felt strongly about doing, and I will continue to pray for his friends – both the ones I met and the ones I didn’t…

After a meal with my uncles and cousin, Mike and I headed back to our hotel to pack for the morning. We were up at 4am and found our way to the airport with only a couple wrong turns, lol.

Several waves of emotion have swept over me as we watched the mountains fade away from above. A bittersweet departure. I pretty much typed the whole 6 hours we flew – plus most of the day yesterday and today…

When we began this journey, we meditated on the words to this song by Casting Crowns: Jesus, Friend Of Sinners. Click here to read the words. And click here to watch/hear a video.

Friday, we heard this song by Sidewalk Profits: Live Like That – and it blew us away… Click here to read the words. And click here to watch/hear a video.

All along each day our devotions were equally convicting:
http://www.todayintheword.org/
http://odb.org/

And the prayers that have been lifted up as we found moments to txt/email updates, have been felt and received with overflowing thanksgiving!!

Dear Heavenly Father, there is no doubt in my mind that YOU paved the way for this trip to happen. YOU laid the groundwork for us to be able to leave when we did. YOU saw to it that I wouldn’t have to experience this by myself – YOU used Mike to carry me when I needed support. YOU prepared our boys to handle the responsibilities back at home…the hours of bringing hay to cows, thawing waterers, plowing snow, shoveling snow, continuing their schooling, and all this while they also grieved the loss of their Grandpa. YOU orchestrated all the helping hands who pitched in whenever and wherever needed. YOU blessed Mike and I with four wonderful days to be with my Dad before he died. YOU stabilized us when we realized we couldn’t control our situations. YOU used the foods, oils, and herbs we brought to keep our immune systems strong when we were surrounded by bad viruses and bacterias. YOU opened doors for us when we asked. YOU prompted us to share our testimonies at the perfect times. YOU gave us YOUR words when our own were inadequate. YOU gifted us with time to build new relationships and add onto old ones. YOU encouraged us through hymns, songs, and spiritual songs. YOU sustained us with YOUR daily bread, and used the prayers of fellow Believers to strengthen us to persevere. YOU helped us to love, when we wanted to judge – and are enabling us to see all people as having been made in YOUR image. YOU forgave us when our words or actions caused pain, and we cried out to YOU. YOU allowed others to see Jesus in us, and are compelling us to be more bold for YOUR GLORY.
We are overwhelmed when we think about all the ways YOU provide for us, and our trust is in YOU as we put one foot in front of the other. I have comfort in knowing that YOU are in control during all the “unexpectednesses”. YOU have used us to scatter seeds of YOUR love and mercy – and we desperately pray for the growth of those seeds. That we will not grow weary in doing good, so that at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Amen

Deuteronomy 5:16
Joshua 1:9
2 Samuel 22:2
2 Chronicles 7:14
Psalm 55:16-17; 62:2; 107:1; 118:1; 119:11, 49-50, 71, 105, 130, 133, 169-176; 136; 139:1, 23-24
Proverbs 3:5-6
Jeremiah 29:11
Matthew 5:14-16; 6:9-13, 19-21; 13:1-23
Luke 9:1-5; 23:40-43
John 1:12-13; 3:16-18; 8:32; 9:1-5; 14:6
Acts 4:29
Romans 1:18-20; 5:1-5, 8; 7:14-25; 8:26-38; 10:5-15; 12:9-13; 13:11-14; 14 all; 15:4-6, 13; 16:17-18
1 Corinthians 13:4-8a
2 Corinthians 7:10
Galatians 6:2, 9
Ephesians 2:8; 3:20, 5:19-20
James 1:2-3, 5-6; 4:11-12; 5:7-11
2 Peter 3:8
1 John 1:8-10; 4:4-6

bitterness vs. disappointment

It’s a choice I have. One or the other.

“Bitterness” reveals where my hope came from. If I remain bitter, I’m holding a grudge, having a tantrum, bathing in self-pity. It reveals my hope was in a circumstance – some concept I dreamt up. It is full-of-pride, U-G-L-Y.

But today I learned there is a difference between “bitterness” and “disappointment”.  It is truly possible to be disappointed, and yet NOT become bitter!  Probably seems pretty elementary, but I do believe I lumped them both into the same category for far too long.

It has to do with Whom I am lamenting to… When I cry to man (which includes myself), I become bitter and self-righteous.  When I cry to my Father, light is shed onto the narrow path of “accepting change” because He knows a better way.  And I don’t need to know why, I just need to trust and obey. <Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 3:5-6>

Change is hard.  Unexpected change is even harder.     

Here are just a few things His light has made visible to me today:

Just because I have the vehicle, it doesn’t mean I can make the trip.  If the vehicle malfunctions, the trip isn’t possible. If my hope is in the vehicle, I will be bitter…

Just because I have the funds to participate in an activity, it doesn’t mean they’ll get spent on that activity. If my hope is in the activity, I will be bitter if the funds are spent on something else…

Just because I’ve prepared to be absent, it doesn’t mean I won’t still be here.  If my hope is in being away, I will be bitter if I cannot go.

Just because I’ve done my homework, it doesn’t mean there won’t be hiccups.  If my hope is in my efforts, I will be bitter with anything less than perfect.

Just because help is offered, it doesn’t mean it can be accepted.  If my hope is in an alternate plan, I will be bitter if that plan doesn’t work either.

Just because I can’t go where I want, it doesn’t mean I’m not where He wants me.  If my hope is in the journey, I will be bitter about my life.  IF MY HOPE IS IN THE LORD, MY JOURNEY IS WHERE HE IS, AND SINCE I AM NOW HIS CHILD, HE RESIDES INSIDE ME. SO WHERE I AM, SO IS HE.  BITTERNESS G-O-N-E!!!  <1 Corinthians 3:11, Galatians 2:20>

Just because I feel disappointed, it doesn’t mean I can’t mourn the loss of whatever it was.  It just means I must learn how to mourn in a way that reveals Who my TRUE HOPE is in.  <2 Corinthians 4:15-18> And herein lies the lesson for me:  If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. <James 4:13-15>

I think I need to say that again:  If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that. <sigh>

OUCH.

Not a fun revelation, but a necessary lesson.

Lord, I come before You with tears of both disappointment and joy.  My heart aches for the trip we couldn’t make today, but I am so thankful we arrived back home safely and weren’t stranded in this bitter cold.  I’m grateful we have those funds now to put toward fixing our vehicle.  Lord, You know the efforts that were put into preparing to be gone from here – You will use that “fruit” to sustain us a future day, just not the one I thought it was for!  You are teaching me how to find joy in each moment, instead of “what’s next”.  I’m now one step closer to living contentedly – the way You want me to live.  These growing pains hurt, Lord, but I find comfort in You, and You alone.  You have surrounded us with so many who love us – just their willingness to help has been so encouraging, and we thank You for their support.  And Father, there are not sufficient words to explain the beauty of watching our sons handle today’s disappointment.  Their compassion and lack of resentment has revealed a maturity in them that we haven’t seen before.  And witnessing that growth is pulling us all closer together.  Together we mourned the loss of “our plan”, and now the conversion of our will to Yours, begins.  May this serve to motivate me to persevere in “living and doing this or that”.  May my faith be unshaken.

I now know why You led me to meditate on these three passages yesterday – You were preparing me for re-aligning my Hope today so that there is no room for bitterness in me:  The end of all things is near.  Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. (1 Peter 4:7)  Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. (1 Peter 5:8-9)  Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, FIX YOUR THOUGHTS ON JESUS… (Hebrews 3:1a) 

 

Puzzle piece frames

A friend retired from teaching a couple years ago & gave us a bunch of puzzles she found when cleaning out her schoolroom. One of the larger puzzles was missing pieces, but I just couldn’t throw them away… So in a coffee can they went – just waiting to be transformed into SOMETHING… 🙂

Guess this was the year! My original plan was to make ornaments, but I wasn’t happy with any of my samples. Then I became enamored with the words “peace” and “piece”, and this frame/pic is the end result. 🙂

Very indicative of the journey the Lord has us on… 🙂

20131229-192850.jpg

20131229-192907.jpg

Cooperstown 2013

Mike’s dad has been wanting to take the boys to Cooperstown, NY, to see the Baseball Hall of Fame for several years. Earlier this month, that trip came to fruition. Since it’s not a secret I’m pretty good at breaking things at the worst possible time, Mike made arrangements with a farmer friend to take care of feeding hay & thawing water troughs so he could be gone for 3 days. And thankfully, everything went smoothly! 🙂

The day they left was a bit hairy because of a snowstorm, but once they got to I-80 to go through Pennsylvania & into New York, the roads were kept pretty clear. It didn’t take them too much longer than the anticipated 9 hours. 🙂

They said Cooperstown was “postcard perfect”, and they were about the only ones at the Hall of Fame. They had one-on-one special attention so they got to see everything they wanted…almost. Top on their list was to see the Hall of Fame’s card display. But sadly, due to some of the cards showing deterioration, it had been taken down. Once the employees learned my boys were a little disappointed, they made it a special point to take them to see all the cards they still had out throughout the museum. 🙂

They enjoyed touring the tiny shops in the town and searching card shops for treasures… And of course, some fun meals, too… 🙂

20131229-193413.jpg

20131229-193428.jpg

20131229-195357.jpg

Here are the two pics Paul picked for the post: Mike Schmidt’s jersey & a picture of Troy Tulowitzski. 🙂

20131229-200720.jpg

20131229-200734.jpg

Michael picked these two pics for the post: life-sized, painted wood carvings of Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.

20131229-210929.jpg

20131229-211213.jpg

They enjoyed a wonderful stay at the Cooperstown Bed & Breakfast. I’d say they were a bit spoiled… Their ONLY guests, so they were definitely doted on! 🙂 I LOVE that they got to experience the warmth of a home on their get-away. I truly enjoyed getting to know John & Linda via email communications, and all the Roberts boys had the pleasure of receiving their hospitality in-person. 🙂 Thank You, Lord, for keeping my boys safe on their journey to Cooperstown, and for all the memories they have from this trip. May all those who make the same trek see Your hand behind it all – from gifted athletes, to helpful workers, to friendly caregivers… Amen

20131229-195453.jpg

20131229-195438.jpg

So what did I do with my alone time?? Oh, about 10 loads of laundry (actually FOLDED & PUT AWAY, lol…), made 12 loaves of sourdough bread & several batches of crackers, enjoyed hours of catching up on my Bible study notes, and completed a Christmas gift craft for the boys. While I truly enjoyed my “retreat”, it was music to my ears to hear the sounds of an active home again! 🙂

IMG_7748

Living In Thanksgiving

Mike got creative in the milkhouse this morning to make me laugh, and I thought it made the perfect visual for where the Lord has us right now. We are drying our dairy girls up earlier than “our plan” because of reasons beyond our control…nature is like that. So we are thankful for each drop of milk He has blessed us with this season! 🙂

May we not become bitter for what we do not have, but remember that it is not “our will” that we want, but Yours, Lord. Keep us occupied with gladness of heart, because with You, WE HAVE EVERYTHING WE NEED! Amen

This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them—for this is their lot. Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil—this is a gift of God. They seldom reflect on the days of their life, because God keeps them occupied with gladness of heart. (Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 NIV)

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM OUR FAMILY TO YOURS! 🙂

20131128-101055.jpg

HE has made everything beautiful…

This is the view from our dining room window, looking out across the road. My eyes normally focus on the ugly poison ivy climbing up the telephone pole. But the Lord transformed my perspective this morning…

Father, I am in awe of Your transforming power. By allowing this irritating plant to participate in Your glorious display of Your beautiful creation around me, it reminds me of what You’ve done with my soul. Thank You for opening my eyes to the poison that was fueling me – and then for cleansing me with Your life-giving flow so that I may be as white as snow. Amen.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. (Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV)

“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. (Isaiah 1:18 NIV)

Visit with my Dad – September 2013

My Dad moved to Arizona back in 1999. Over the years, he has made several trips back to Ohio, but we think it’s been about 3 years since he’s been here last. It was nice to spend time with him last week as he was in town for his 50th high school class reunion. 🙂

Limo tour – farm style… 🙂

20130927-151151.jpg

The boys have been creating shooting ranges throughout the farm with Uncle Ben this summer. They were excited to show Grandpa – and I enjoyed watching them all take a turn. Also learned that my Dad shoots “lefty”! Which led to a conversation that he also used to bat left-handed, as well… I never knew that. Perhaps that’s where some of my leftiness comes from? Though he did say the reason he batted lefty was because it was easier to see the ball since the vision in his left eye is so poor… Grandpa did well at hitting the different targets as well. 🙂

20130927-151835.jpg

20130927-152048.jpg

20130927-152233.jpg

20130927-152537.jpg

We had such beautiful weather! 🙂

20130927-152735.jpg

My Dad spoiled us with treasures while he was here. He gave the boys his autograph book from when he was a boy. Got to hear the story about when his Little League team won their division (in the 50’s), they had a father/son banquet where the Indians’ announcer was their emcee. He held a raffle for the team for one boy to sit in the Indians dugout for a game, and my dad won that raffle! My Dad shared his memories of his experience & some of the names we were able to decipher right off-the-bat (pun intended, lol) in his book were Tris Speaker, Rocky Colavito, and Larry Doby. It will be fun to try to figure out who the other names are. He was also given a baseball signed by the team that day, but while he went away one summer to work on a farm as a teenager, he said his younger brothers used the ball to play with, lol… It was funny hearing him tell the story to my boys. 🙂

The autograph book also contains signatures of Cleveland Browns players from when my Dad used to visit spring training camps. We aren’t football fans, so figuring out those names will be a little more of a challenge. 🙂

My Dad also brought the boys a bunch of my brother, Mark’s, old baseball cards. (Mark lives in AZ, too.) So my boys have been enjoying reading/sorting/analyzing a lot of baseball stats lately!! I see it as a sneaky way to keep their minds workin’ – I am continually amazed at the data they can spit out about players’ stats/histories. And I love hearing them talk strategy based on stats. Makes reading & math more fun around here! 🙂

A “must-stop” for my Dad is always the Minerva Dairy. Since he says cheese out in AZ is $9 a pound, he stocks up when he visits. He bought us some, too, which was an extra special treat. Unless it’s for homemade pizza, cheese is a luxury around here. We all LOVE IT, so we’ve chosen to not buy hard cheeses until we can make it ourselves or are out of debt – whichever comes first, lol… Until that day, you can catch us browsing through Heini’s in Amish Country once in awhile to get our cheese-fixes satisfied! 🙂

And then came the biggest surprise… My Dad announced he wanted to buy us a four-wheeler for the farm!! Mike & my Dad spent time searching Craigslist & making phonecalls, but there really weren’t many used ones (close) for us to look at. Finally, right before bed one night, Mike decided to check Craig’s list for a neighboring county and low & behold there was ONE listed. We went to bed praying that it might be “the one”. The next day when Mike called the number listed, it ended up being someone WE KNEW!! 🙂 Oh, what a comfort that was. And yes, it was “the one” for us. 🙂

So now it will be understood why the rest of these pics are centered around an ATV. 🙂

20130927-152812.jpg

20130927-152829.jpg

20130927-152900.jpg

20130927-152924.jpg

20130927-152954.jpg

20130927-153028.jpg

20130927-153104.jpg

20130927-153215.jpg

ATV training 101… 🙂

20130927-153339.jpg

20130927-153448.jpg

20130927-153602.jpg

Grandpa has his own ATV in Arizona that he enjoys exploring on with his friends. So when he had his turn to drive ours, he drove in a way that made us laugh… I think Paul’s comment was, “Grandpa looks like an old James Bond!” 🙂

20130927-153637.jpg

20130927-153722.jpg

Much time has been spent in discussions with our boys on the difference between “joy riding” and “enjoying while riding”. For the most part, this vehicle will serve as a very valuable “tool” on our farm (for hopefully a really long time). Which means, it should never go above 20 m.p.h., no stunts are to be practiced, & no trails will be blazed through the woods that aren’t created first. That being said, there is nothing wrong with “enjoying” oneself as it’s being used! 🙂

It came with a snow plow, too, so it will have many functions. Mike and the boys are already scoping out our scraps to create various “toolboxes” they can easily add to the front or back racks, depending on what they are doing: fence work, transporting milk from the milkhouse to our place, moving calves next year, workin’ in firewood, etc. This will also be a huge timesaver/kneesaver for Mike, as much of his day is spent on-foot. 🙂

20130927-153750.jpg

It was really nice to spend time with my Dad. The older I get, and the more I grow with the Lord, I see how important relationships are. Too often I’ve allowed disappointments from the past, to keep me from growing in the present. It was fun to see attributes our boys have inherited from my Dad…and I say “inherited” because they’ve only been with him a handful of times – not nearly long enough to have learned it from him by observation. Like the way they clear their throat or the expressions they use as they describe something or the way they stand or move their legs… And it was fun to all cook together in the kitchen, and watch my boys prepare creative dishes that he enjoyed both eating & watching them prepare. By far, though, the highlight of the visit for me, was the morning my Dad joined hands with Mike & I as we began our day in spoken prayer. I have never prayed like that before with my Dad. It was beautiful, and I am grateful. Thank You, Lord.

20130927-153812.jpg