Friday, July 31, 2009

How Bad Do YOU Need Chocolate?

When we were in Silverton the other day we found this advertisement on the window of a the question would be: How bad do YOU need chocolate??

Admittedly, there have been days when I would have to just get over the idea of tiny little legs scratching my throat as I swallowed....and then take the plunge....
No clue who the lady is....=) If you know her, tell her she made my blog.....

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Uncle Mark

It's Thankful Thursday and I am just so excited to introduce you to one of my most favorite people ever and a man that I am extremely proud of and thankful for: Uncle Mark. You just have to "meet" him, because " to know him is to love him".

Mark is Dw's oldest brother. Born on August 2nd, 1939 in rural Western New York, Mark is known to all who live in that little village.

On a personal level, Mark is known by all who meet him for his cheery, always-positive attitude. He lights up when he sees a friend, and he never meets a stranger. One time I was "talking" to a bloggy friend. She told me in an email where she lived. I said, "Wow! That's about 20 miles from the little town that Dw grew up in. Maybe you know my brother-in-law, Mark? He blah, blah, blah..." and she wrote me back, "Of course we know Mark! We have met him on several occasions!" Another time, many years ago we met a man who delivered milk to this little town outside Buffalo. Again, we asked him if he knew Mark, "why Yes!" So funny, Mark's lively personality is known to far reaching places!!

Mark is very tender-hearted and concerned for all. He cannot even finish the sentence without crying when he asks about our Jubilee. He loves her so much already! He is gentle and innocent. He just doesn't have it in him to be mean. It's not in his DNA, shall we say. He has a compassionate ear and if someone is hurting or sad, he is the first to want to help in any way he can. There is no doubt Mark loves people and people love Mark!

On a church level: Mark is a helper with the Awana club at the church he and my mom-in-love attend (and where the family attended since moving there when Mark was a baby). He has helped over the years with the bus ministry, the Sunday School program, Release Time, just for starters.

Mark is a volunteer with the ambulance service and a volunteer with the fire department. He has a monitor that keeps him informed of whatever emergency is happening in their town. He has a paper route that he has held for many, many, many years.

You know friends, in the world's eyes Mark's handicap would make him a disposable person to many. But our lives have been enriched so much by having him part of our family. Mark has asked that someday when Dw's mom goes to be with Jesus if he could come to live with us here. He wants to "be with his kids". We have made a room just for him in the home we are building.

And speaking of mental handicaps, Dw and I have been amazed over the years at how much of a handicap "normal" people have. So many people have no clue how to be kind or compassionate or how to really love people, but not Mark!! We have watched him love all he meets!! So maybe the question should really be: Who exactly has a mental handicap?

Many years ago some teenagers in town were picking on Mark. I went looking for them. (You bet I did!! Actually makes my blood boil just typing it. Brings out the mama-bear seeking justice!!) Bless their hearts, all 5'3" of me was going to make sure they understood that they better never, ever, ever, mess with my sweet brother-in-love. To this day, Mark will say, "Remember those kids? You told them, didn't ya!" He's just got a special place in my heart...

When we were coming to town to visit, whether when we lived in Buffalo or now out of state, pulling around the corner of Grove Street we are sure to find Uncle Mark waiting - just like this:
Uncle Mark you are a treasure! We love you and are so sad that we cannot be at your huge birthday bash this week-end! So I got to thinking: Maybe Mark, your sadness of us not being there will be eased knowing that friends all over the world heard his story and told him Happy Birthday. Maybe they could even tell Mark what state they live in! (hint-hint sweet bloggy friends)
PS Uncle Steve, please print this and the comments out and read it at Mark's would mean so much to Dw and I and the kids!! xo

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

$.03 and Perhaps A Change of Clothes?

Today Graham and I took Elijah and Elizabeth to run some errands. We had to stop at the grocery store for diapers too. When I was pushing the cart I noticed that some kind soul had left the sale flyer. And right on top of the flyer it said that with the coupon that came with the ad a bag of Nestle Flipz were only $.97!! Can anyone out there yell a hearty Yippee Jesus??

Come on, little bit of chocolate, little bit of crunch, not as many calories or fat grams as chocolate covered nuts (my personal favorite)...but oh yeah baby - score!!

So Graham ran to get 4 bags of the Flipz as the ad said the coupon was only good with FOUR bags...(better yet - yummm). A bag for the kids to share and 3 bags to hide in my undies drawer (I'm just sayin)....

Going thru the self-check-out I rang up the four bags and then ripped the store coupon out of the flyer and scanned it. It took off $.03. I laughed. What the heck? Three cents??!? You mean to tell me those bags are normally only $1.00?? Had no clue, they were a luxury to me I thought.

Graham said, "Three cents off? That's dumb." I laughed louder. Really, here I was all excited about the big savings and it turns out it's a whopping three cents.

As we were pushing the cart, kids and groceries outside I saw a bunch of RV's in the parking lot. Our city is a tourist attraction and they are everywhere.

I said to Graham, "I'm bummed Graham. Right now we would be on our RV trip if Daddy hadn't been sick. Today, I mean, Graham, we would on our RV TRIP!!" (And yes, we would be stopping in Indiana to see bloggy friends, etc.) argh

Graham quickly said, "Mom, I'm okay with it all. We're having fun and look at the bright side, we just saved three cents." Thanks Gray, thanks.


Upon arriving home we had to run somewhere else. The other kids and Quiz kids were piling in cars. I ran in the house to use the ladies room. Everyone was in the car and I ran to do "it". I came down the hallway, hurrying at top speed...and as I entered the kitchen Graham jumped out of hiding and yelled, "Mom, ready to go?" I almost touched the vaulted ceiling with my sky jump! Does my 14 year old not get how much stress there has been? He was laughing like a crazy person and continued laughing for about 5 whole minutes. When he gained control he said, "Don't you need to go change your pants?" No son, not this time.

But it is payback time. So he better be watching. I don't get mad but I will get him back. Big time.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What Exactly was In That Box??

I mentioned a bit ago that while we were in Iowa a box was delivered to our home. Upon getting home I noticed the box, but really, with Isaiah and Dw still so sick, I didn't really notice the box, ya' know what I mean?

After a few days Dw saw the box and took it over to the couch to open it. I was in the kitchen and he said, "Linny, you are not gonna' believe what's in here. You have to come see!" He had started to cry. What in the world was in the box?

I went over and we then gathered as a family and looked. First we opened every note and there were dozens from YOU my sweet bloggy friends! Through tears we read each and every sweet note....And attached to each note was a little piece of material.

Several of you had had an idea right after our house fire. And that idea turned into an invitation from Lori to send a quilt square to another bloggy friend, Chris, who would quilt a quilt for Dw and I.

We are in awe at the beauty. There are all kinds of squares and since my favorite colors are purple, pink and sage green, many are along that theme. Some have special meaning, like the rooster square representing my love for roosters. Or the Chinese little girls representing our Jubilee waiting. Or tea cups for my love of tea cups. Or coffee mugs from my virtual twin who promises that one day she will come and have coffee with me while our little boys who both have Arthrogryposis run and play.

It is breathtakingly beautiful!!! Chris you did an amazing job quilting it...each stitch obviously sewn in love. She even put each of our names and the names of our kids all around the outside edge. Unbelievable!!

We are in awe at your gracious love for us. I tried to take a picture of every angle so you all can see your square. We are actually saving the quilt so that we can put it on our bed in our new home. We will never be able to tell you all what it means to us that you would do something so thoughtful and sweet for us. Thank you all so very, very, very, very much!!!! We will treasure it forever!!

Isn't it gorgeous??? Oh my gracious!! Unbelievable!! We love you all!! xo

Wow! Thank YOU Dear Bloggy Friends

I want to thank all of you who posted comments that you would be joining in the fast for Cindy. I am 100% confident that your comments, being read by others, moved on their hearts. There is something about someone saying, "Although I have never fasted before, sign me up, I'm going to do it" that makes others say, "Well, if they're going to do it, maybe I should too?!" Call it peer pressure or the power of persuasion, it works! And so many of you, my sweet bloggy friends did it!! You decided to 'take the plunge' and fast - and for that (through tears) I say "Yippee Jesus!"

Now I would challenge you to make it a regular discipline. We have fasted for all kinds of needs (houses to sell, rebellious kids hearts to change, healing, financial provisions, people to come to know Christ, our church, friends, or just to grow closer to the Lord).

Dw and I started our day yesterday on our knees praying together. The Lord had directed me to some scripture in the night and so I read that with him too. We so desperately want to see Cindy healed.

Friends, fasting is a time of drawing close. It is a time of focus. It is a time we are submitting to the Lordship of Christ and asking Him to move mountains, but regardless we acknowledge that He is God. When I have fasted I have seen God do amazing things. I have also had times where it has not happened like I begged/prayed/wanted. We do not give up!

When I/we fast we are saying, "Please Lord, from our vantage point, please move this way. But ultimately, you are our loving Father and you hold all things in your hands."

Yesterday's fast was one of the most difficult I, personally, have ever done. On a physical level the babies have diarrhea. It showed up yesterday. I know you know what I'm talking about, but diapers and diarrhea don't really go in the same sentence. Or maybe we just have cheap-o diapers. But I spent my day washing bumper pads, sheets, more sheets, quilts, changing clothes, and cleaning it off floors.

On a spiritual level the enemy brought up something I used to wrestle with when I was just a young girl. He comes to torment, no doubt. By evening I was weary from doing battle all day. I fell asleep on the couch by 7 and only woke up enough to go to our bed. It was weird. I usually only fall asleep like that when I am sick.

For others of you your day yesterday was awesome - a spiritual high. I am so thrilled for you! My point is that whether you have a spiritually intense day fasting or a day of euphoria, persevere! Each fast you do will be different and whether difficult or easy - - fasting will change your life! God will work in your heart. He will reveal himself. He will speak and yes, He will move.

PS I am going to work on the post about "the box" that we received and what special treasure was inside!! Be back later!! xo

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fasting for Cindy - Monday July 27th

Just a brief note to remind everyone that tomorrow there will be people from (literally!) all over the world (North America, Europe, Asia, Africa & even Australia!) fasting for our sweet bloggy friend, Cindy. If you missed out on what this is all about, please catch up here. If you ate breakfast or lunch and had forgotten, its okay, just start fasting now till tomorrow!

While I was worshipping at church this morning we sang the song on my playlist at the bottom. It's called Healer and it is sung by Hillsong. I just added it to my playlist this afternoon. I would encourage you to slide down to the bottom of the blog. I put it as the first song, so please listen. It seems that this song is so appropriate as we fast and pray for Cindy's healing.

Here is what I will do when I fast. I arise while the house is quiet to spend time with the Lord. I ask Him to direct me to scripture that would be something that I can pray as I fast. Maybe a Psalms, or something else. Tomorrow a scripture of healing or praise would be great!!

I try to have someone else prepare the food (teenagers are great for this) and then I spend that time in my room praying. While they eat, I also spend alone praying. I pray throughout the day. I try to have worship music on (even my blog!) to just keep my heart and mind focused on what I'm doing.

Being a mom with many little ones this is not the quiet, serene day that one might envision, butthe Lord has blessed me with all these treasures and He is well aware of my station in life.

This is also a very good time to talk to your kids and grandkids about fasting. Showing them what scripture has to say about it. Some of you kids might want to join in. Some of ours are going to.

I would also just like to warn you that sometimes things happen on a day of prayer and fasting....unforeseen things! Things that could discourage - but be encouraged!! Persevere and trust!! He is working behind the scenes in your life and in mine.

I have to say: I am giddy with anticipation at what God is going to do. I am so proud of each of you who have committed to fasting and/or praying for Cindy's healing - and so many of you being first-timers! Yippee Jesus! It is truly the body of Christ being the hands and feet of our precious Savior. I know that if it was one of you, Cindy would do it for you.

I have also asked Cindy if she would consider being anointed with oil during the day tomorrow. This is according to James 5. My prayer is that this will be a precious day for Cindy and her family and that she will be healed in Jesus name. As you know, I refer to God as the Miracle-working, Mountain-moving, Awe-inspiring, Gasp-giving God and definitely, without a doubt, NOTHING IS TOO DIFFICULT FOR HIM!! Here is the miracle story I told a few months ago about my instanteous healing from the ravishes of Multiple Sclerosis on my arm/hand! Read it for encouragement!!

I love you guys! Thank you for hearing His call and answering!! You guys - once again - totally rock!!! xo

Silverton, Colorado

Last week we went to Silverton, Colorado. It was one of Dw's first outings - we LOVE Silverton and love the drive and love the views. On the way up there I pulled over the car. Dw said, "What are you doing?" I said, "I have to get a shot of this drive to show all my bloggy friends, especially for the ones who don't live in the mountains!" Is it gorgeous, or what?We always stop at Molas Pass to enjoy the scenery.

Once at Silverton we were trying to figure out where to eat. By the time we got to Silverton Elijah was not a very happy camper..... (snacks on the drive, doesn't matter, when it's time to eat he's starving)

Thought with how happy Elijah was that it would be appropriate to eat here...Isaiah's legs were bothering him so much since surgery that he always wanted them elevated to help alleviate the pain....but he smiles regardless...Oh yeah, he's happy.....And playing in ketchup....the only way it gets better than that ...Just this way.....

Friday, July 24, 2009

How To Prepare for Fasting....

I am absolutely and completely elated by the overwhelming response to the call to bloggyland for a fast on Monday for Cindy at Faithful Promises. If you missed the post, please pop down two days and read it. It is one of the most important posts I have ever written.

I will tell you that I have gotten emails and calls from: Beth, Nancy in CT, Stacy, Laine, Annette, Suzanne, Marianthe, Elisa, Bonnie, Carolyn, Jen in Phx, Joellen (& MaryEllen & Debbie), Sheridan, Judi, Peggy, Charissa, Tanya & family so far. I know there are more out there joining in, so this is just so stinkin' awesome!

And as far as geographical locations: there are friends joining in fasting for healing for Cindy from Canada, Korea, Germany, England, the United States and even Uganda!! And that's just the ones we know of. That is just amazing to me!

Today I thought I would do a brief post about how to prepare for fasting. I kind of mentioned some things the other day, but here are some tangible things to do between now and Monday.

As we prepare to fast it is important to get everything out of your heart and life that would hinder the Lord's move in your life. Everything. Some of the things that come to mind is: unforgiveness? bitterness? anger? rage? addictions? Just for starters.

I ask the Lord if there is anything that doesn't please Him, would He please reveal it to me? When something pops into your head, or someone's face comes to mind....that would be a good indication that the Lord is showing you someone or something that you need to get right. It is amazing what will come to mind when I ask the Lord that question. Things I didn't realize or haven't thought of in awhile.

Another way to see if you have bitterness or unforgiveness toward someone is this: Is there anyone that when you hear their name you get all worked up? Or how about this? Is there someone that when you hear that they have had a huge blessing it just irks the daylights out of you? There is probably something in your heart towards them.

Did they betray you? Did they hurt you? Did they promise you something and didn't come through? Whatever it is, you need to forgive to have a clean line between you and Almighty God! Get it right!! There is still two days till the fast...get it right!!

I heard it said once, "Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die!" Yes, unforgiveness holds us in prison and does really nothing to the other person. What a waste of valuable time!!

Many have been hurt deeply by spouses, parents, siblings, friends, employers, neighbors, and even pastors!! But holding unforgiveness is just as much a sin as whatever they did to you. Christ says that unless we forgive others He can't forgive us. That's huge!!

For those who want a more indepth look at the comments regarding the fast, Beccy suggested Campus Crusade's guide for fasting which can be found here. It is very comprehensive and would help anyone who is wondering all about it.

Tomorrow I will give some brief thoughts about Monday's fast. It is not too late to tell friends, prayer groups and family about Cindy and what a group of radical people are going to do to see her healed.

Sweet Sixteen - July 22, 2009 - Emma Joy

Our Miss Emma Joy turned Sweet 16 this past Wednesday July 22nd. What a special day!! I wish I had the ability to show you photos from when the kids were little. Emma was born with a full head of dark, dark black hair that stood straight up. She was so sweet and so itty bitty...all 7lbs. 1 oz. of her.

She and Graham have been buddies for forever -even when they were babies...(Graham was 18 months younger. ) They did all kinds of stinker things together and slowly I will share some of those stories on True Story Tuesday. But for now, I will give you a glimpse into our sweet girl's life.

This precious girl is such a gift to us. So often teenage girls are moody, not so with Emmy. You can count on her to be pleasant and helpful round the clock, rarely even grouchy. She has a tender heart for both people she knows and those she doesn't. Sheis thoughtful and goes out of her way to make life more pleasant for those around her. Emma has a really witty sense of humor and makes us laugh regularly.

She is reliable, committed and steadfast. As the lead Sunday School teacher for the 3 and 4 year olds each week she loves to minister to the little ones - and they love her! She is also on the youth worship team and helps where needed in the youth group.

She asked Jesus into her heart when she was just a little girl and then when Emma was about 7 years old she began to pray every single day that one day God would allow her to go to Africa as a missionary and run an orphanage. She bought her own Ipod and had engraved on it: Emma: Ugandan at heart!

Yes, she loves the people of Africa. In less than a full year she has been to Africa 3 times - making it 7 weeks of 49 being there . Emma is also very wise and has a strong gift of discernment. I have told her that it is good to continue to develop that as she will one day, Lord willing, be working and living in Africa.

And when we were planning what type of house to build after the fire, Emma asked if she could have a room large enough to have all the girls share cause she loves snuggling with the little ones. So they will have a good sized bunk room!

The tradition at our house is breakfast in bed......
Breakfast was a bowl of cherries, a bowl of blueberries, my homemade Jewish Mother Coffee Cake (Emmy's favorite) and a Peppermint Mocha Frappacino. Lunch at her favorite place with mom & dad (again, the River Rat) where we watched rafters float by....Dinner was take-out from the Chinese restaurant...... Autumn (Polly) and Emmy

Emma had mentioned wanting a bike - a cruiser....Pink for our very feminine Sweet 16 year old....Happy Birthday Emma - You have brought us such joy!! We, like all who know you, love you immensely!! xo