Saturday, December 31, 2011

the best gift

Every year I say I am going to write it down. I’ll finally put pen to paper (or rather fingers to keys) and write about losing my dad.  Every December I vow to record it.  And every year it doesn’t happen. But it sneaks up on me.  Not the day.  I know it is coming.  It’s everything else that goes with it.

Dad died 12 days before Christmas.  There isn’t one thing about the season that doesn’t not make me think about what we lost.  You can’t hide or out run that day.  All through the year every siren I hear or fire truck I see makes me think, if only for a split second, of him.  Football season brings it’s own memories.  Christmas brings back the bad memories.  Christmas trees, lights, carols…it’s like every year you have these reminders of that day and the days that followed.  Even poinsettias, because some people had sent them to the funeral home.

I don’t write this for you to be sad.  I’m not sad.  I may be crying right now, but I wouldn’t say I’m sad. I’m far enough on this grief journey that I usually only cry a few times a year.  Sometimes on Ohio State-Michigan game day.  But usually not until 15 days before Christmas.  I’ll remember the last time I talked to my dad on that night and that will start it. I can still see him standing there in my doorway, silhouetted by the hall light.  Our last words were not goodbye.  By the time my sister and I got to the hospital he had already been gone for probably an hour or more.  Our last words came two nights before that. He stopped at my room before going to bed.  “Good night”, that was the last thing he said to me and the last thing I ever said to him. It’d be the last time we’d see each other.  It was a Saturday night.

“Say goodnight, not goodbye, you will never leave my heart behind.” When I heard this song on the Dawson’s Creek finale years later, I was so glad that our last words had been goodnight.  Not goodbye – that is so final, forever.  My dad had given us the greatest gift that anyone could give their loved ones – the hope of seeing each other again.  To be absent from the body is to be present with Christ (2 Cor 5:8).  Two years before he died, my dad had gotten right with God.    I couldn’t even imagine how unbearable it would have been to go through that and not had that hope that this wasn’t going to be it.  Don’t get me wrong, burying him was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

So the point of this post is to encourage you, if you haven’t yet, to get right with God.  Don’t put it off. You never know when your number will be up.  There may not be enough time at the end.  From the NIOSH report, I think there was less than sixty seconds from the time Dad collapsed until he technically died.  I believe that there is a heaven and therefore there is a hell.  Heaven is wonderful, hell is not.  Everyone will go back to the Creator one day.  And you will either stay with him in heaven or you will spend eternity in hell.
No one can be good enough to get to heaven on their own.  Not Mother Teresa.  Not Billy Graham. Not Greg Rodgers. Not even Tim Tebow. Only by the grace from Jesus will anyone get to heaven. It is simple to get.  All you have to do is confess that you are a sinner (the Bible says that all have sinned – have you ever lied? stolen? said the Lord’s name in vain?)  and ask Jesus to come into your heart.  Then turn away from your sin and start living your life for Jesus.  It won’t always be easy, but it will be the most important thing you could ever do.

{He’s here but not here, He’s gone but not gone.}  This line from a song from Ladder 49 is awesome.  My dad is not here on earth physically, but he lives on through the people who’s lives he touched. My dad is gone from this earth, but he is not gone. The part that made him who he was lives on.  Isn’t that amazing?  It really is the best gift.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New Goals

My 32nd Year Goals

1. Save $1000 – I’m hoping this is possible this year with actually having a job, but I am only working part-time and Bean is currently laid off.  So I do realize that this might not actually happen, but I’m hoping I can do this. 
2. Donate blood – I really can’t believe I’ve never done this before.  I don’t even know what my blood type is.  I’m totally not scared of needles.  I’m scared of the possibility of passing out afterwards.  Crazy, huh? 
3. Read the entire Bible – This keeps getting put on my list so I think this year is the time to check it off. 
4. Weigh 150 lbs. – I’m being more specific than just saying “lose weight”.  I’m hoping that starting to train for the 5/k will help me with this. 
5. Dress more girly – With my new job, this is starting to happen.  I need to add more pieces to my wardrobe.  I actually love wearing my new pair of black flats. 
6. Finish my bedroom – Several years ago, I completely gutted my bedroom down to the studs, removing all the old plaster.  All the major stuff is done.  It just needs some finishing touches – pictures and shelves on the wall, a new bookcase, the ceiling repainted and a rug I’d like to make are on the list.
7. Finish Oh! Shoot class – I started this photography class right after Emmy was born.  It just wasn’t a great time with a new baby in the house, working full-time and taking a full load of classes.  So I want to finish this to better my photography skills.
8. Finish Portraits class -  I bought this class because they fill up so fast. I had the intentions of finishing Oh! Shoot before this one started, but it didn’t happen.  This class will help me take more awesome pictures so I can bless others.
9. Visit a new state – I’m hoping that this one will be easy.  As of right now, it looks like I’ll have my summer free.  So I’m hoping a trip to somewhere I’ve never been before can happen – even if it is just a weekend in that state up North.
10. Make a pumpkin pie -  I’m planning to use one of the pumpkins I grew to make this.
11. Take 10,000 pictures –  Calculated, this is like snapping 27.4 photos a day. But I’ve probably got a pretty good chance of doing this.  So far I have two senior shoots to do.  Mom wants a family picture.  Got a 3rd birthday/family shoot possibly this week.  I’m also doing the Daily December & starting Project Life (see below) this year. 
12. Learn song on my guitar – So I had myself convinced that I couldn’t do this on my own, but I could never find anyone to teach me.  But I recently got thinking that if I can teach myself to quilt using only the internet, I can probably learn a song on my guitar as well.
13. Fix supper 2x a week – This will be a challenge as we don’t have the habit of eating supper.
14. Finish Emmy’s 2nd year book – I want to have this done by Christmas. She so enjoys looking through the books I made of her 1st year.
15. Do Daily December book – Ali Edwards has this challenge of making a scrapbook that details something about celebrating Christmas every day during December. I’ve wanted to try this for several years now and I’m going to do it this December.
16. Start Project Life – Another scrapbooking project I’ve always wanted to do is Project Life.  It’s by Becky Higgins and it is all about documenting your everyday life.  It likes like a very interactive process and I’m excited to finally be committing to it.  I had trouble deciding when to start it, but settled on making it all about the year that was 2012.
17. Read 20 books – I actually have two in progress already – Jeremy Camp’s book and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (inspired by last year’s movie goal).  I have two more books I’ve ordered to read plus I’m sure there’ll be some books for school.
18. Watch 20 movies – One of those WILL be Breaking Dawn.  Another will be Courageous after it comes out on DVD.  I also have The Grace Card on hold at the library.
19. Complete 5/K – Have all intentions of completing the Brad Harper 5/k later next month.
20. Try 12 new recipes
21. Daily prayer time – SO looking forward to this!!
22. Go camping – did not happen at all last year.  This fall would be a great time, hint, hint.
23. Make an apple pie – from scratch, of course.
24. Sew a skirt – carried over from last year.  I have a job where I can wear skirts so this would be nice (& more girly).
25. Build craft armoire – I need some real storage behind doors for my sewing and other craft supplies. Got the plans. Just need to borrow the saw.
26. Make 10 crafty things – I’m on pinterest and have been pinning things I’ve liked.  Must make some of these things.
27. Do 10 things I’ve never done before – always a fun little goal to work towards.
28. Mani &/or pedi – didn’t happen this year but will definitely happen this year.  Hey, I didn’t have anywhere to go last year to show it off (:
29. Start living room makeover – This is kind of a vague goal, but I need to leave it that way because of finances and not knowing if the money will be there to do everything.  What I would like to do is paint the walls, put in a ceiling fan, replace the carpet (may have to have the bare wood for a while again), hang photo gallery and look into slipcovers for the furniture (I have found this place that sells really discounted slipcovers from places like Pottery Barn – it’s just deciding if they’ll fit my furniture). 
30. Be intentional with my time – It was hard to name this goal…basically I just want to be a good steward of the time I’ve been given, which could mean a lot of things.  I just want to intentionally do that.
31. Clean/organize the basement – Christmas break project, maybe??
32. Clean out the garage – I want to take everything out, hose it out and then only put back the stuff we’ll actually ever use (Mom – you better start thinking about what to do with the trunk).

Saturday, September 24, 2011

31 Goals is over

It’s that time of year again…my birthday.  I actually just finalized my list of goals for this year tonight.  Some of the goals are going to carry over from last year, ones that didn’t get completed or even started that I’d like to accomplish during this new year for me.  I’m thinking that after this year I might follow my friend and fellow 9/25er Lyndsey in setting more goals but for a longer time period (she’s doing the three years before turning 30).

Before I list the new goals, I’d like to take a moment and reflect on last year’s goals.  I’m not too disappointed in the goals that didn’t get completed because I did actually start most of them.  I’m very excited about the ones I did complete.  Reading 20 books was awesome because I read the Twilight series.  So excited I did.  The 20 movies was great because I watched some great movies, including The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I probably would not have watched had it not been for the challenge of watching 20 new-to-me movies.  Mom & Scott were thrilled with their quilt, which was the 2nd quilt goal I had set.  Although late to start, my new job requires me to dress up.  So dressing more girly has kind of been happening. It’s weird to have a job where you actually have to think about your wardrobe (Genesis was either scrubs or a Genesis tee and I worked there for 6 years). The hosting the dinner party was awesome because it was actually a life goal of mine I sat years ago. Do you know which goal I was most excited about checking off the list?  Growing the pumpkins.  Yep.  After two years of failure, they finally grew.  They now decorate my front porch, my Mom’s house, my aunt’s house & my school library.  I’m hoping to at least get a pumpkin pie from them, if not canning some of the pumpkin as well.
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Here’s our harvest from a couple weeks ago (we may actually have more waiting for us):
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Saturday, July 16, 2011

garden update

Scott & I went to the garden {very early} this morning to do some picking and weeding before it got too hot.
The corn is growing nicely despite the wicked winds that have knocked some over. Should be ready in a week or so. You can see the difference between the first planting and the second planting several weeks later:
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Here’s the tomato plants. We’ve also got some nice banana peppers growing. And cabbage!  Last year the bunnies ate every single cabbage plant.  This year we have one bunny who jumps the fence and just today was the first signs of a deer being in the garden.
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Do you see that little white speck in the middle of the next picture?  Guess what it is!  It’s one of my Boo Pumpkins growing.  I’ve had a goal for three years to grow a pumpkin. Container gardening didn’t work. Last year’s garden crop didn’t work.  So excited that it is growing this year!  I planted Boos, Jack Be Littles and I think Connecticut Field Pumpkins.
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Here’s some of our cucumbers to make pickles with:
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Not sure if this is a pumpkin or a melon.  Their vines have kind of intermixed.
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One of the melons we have growing.  And there’s a lot more blooms, too (:

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We’ve also got potatoes, onion, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, cantaloupe, green peppers,  butternut squash & spaghetti squash growing, but I didn’t take any pictures of those.

Here’s the loot we took home today: a lot of banana peppers, 2 bags of cucumbers, a couple spaghetti squash, a couple cabbage heads and some broccoli.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Strawberry Pickin’

So apparently Elli had never been strawberry picking.  So Scott & Julie promised to take her sometime this year.  So Scott arranged for us to go picking…on one of the hottest days of the year at a time when the shade on the patch was gone!  Then he ended up not going b/c he got a tow job to Massillon.

So Mom, Rhett & I took Elli and Emmy Jo to the garden so they could pick for the very first time.  Elli said she liked it.  She didn’t like getting a hold of the mushy ones.
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I didn’t think Emmy would pick any, but she ended up getting a couple.  This is her first one:
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We managed to get four buckets:
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Then Julie treated us to Whits:
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And before we got home Emmy & Elli were asleep:
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Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day ‘11

This year Memorial Day was so hot!  The day began with our first strawberry harvest of the season (actually, ever).  Mom, Scott & I picked three buckets of berries.

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We had a really nice cookout for lunch. Then we all hit the pool for the first time this summer.  Emmy loved it.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Busy Weekend

My busy weekend started on Friday when Bean, Emmy & I headed to the Columbus Zoo.  It was our first trip of the year.  Despite the LARGE amount of school children on a field trip, it wasn’t that bad. 
We started in the aquarium…
Checking out the new gorilla…
It’s a baby!!
Checking out the orangutans…
The kangaroos were the 2nd favorite animal this time.  I taught Emmy the night before how the kangaroo hops.  Right after this picture, two of these took off to the other side of the exhibit.  She said, “They boing.”
Here’s the #1 animal so far of every trip….a “duck”.  Emmy still thinks anything with feathers larger than a bird is a duck.  Where we like to eat lunch there was a family of geese… “baby duck”, “mommy duck” and “daddy duck”.  Emmy was in heaven.  Anytime she’d spot a duck, goose or swan, she’d say, “I see ducks”.
This “duck” really wanted her lunch.
The baby elephant was asleep…I hope!
Still loving the polar bears.  Even though it was apparently time for a nap…they’re just so darn cute!
Checking out Brutus & Buckeye, the brown bear brothers.
The bobcat.  Emmy thought it looked like our cats… “meow”.
Finally, a decent bald eagle picture for Scott.
There was hardly anyone at the otters by the time we made it to their exhibit. I got some good pictures, but this is my favorite.

So that was Friday.  Saturday was spent at the garden (see the post below) and visiting with my brother and his wife in the evening. 

Sunday after church I went on an impromptu road trip with my Mom, little brother Nick & Bobby B.  At first, Mom was going to treat us to McD’s and eat it on their back deck.  But as we headed there, she was like, “KFC sounds good.”  So we headed towards Coshocton. We took the KFC to Lake Park for a picnic.   Afterwards, we walked around the Lake and then stopped for a Frosty on the way home.  We stopped at Emerson’s, too, for some flowers to plant.