Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Funny Story and More Pictures...

I decided to do one more post of pictures from our trip to northern California. Rande's dad has 24 acres and it is...simply beautiful!

I also wanted to tell y'all a very funny thing that happened the first night we got into town.

After driving the 12 hours to get to our destination, the kids and I went straight to Grandpa Richard's house. We stayed for about an hour or so...and then left around 9:45pm. I didn't know the way to my sis-in-law's house (where we were staying), which meant I had to follow Rande while he drove his sister's SUV. As we were driving the two lane highway, a car came up quickly behind me and then passed on my left, only to get right in between Rande and I. The car stayed in between us for about 1/4 mile, when suddenly bright red lights started flashing! I didn't even notice it was a police car, because it was unmarked. Anyway....Rande immediately pulled over and so did I because I didn't know the way to Kathe's. And besides, I wanted to know why in the world this guy was pulling my husband over!!

Now...those of you who know us, can probably picture this: Ashleigh and I were not what you would call, um, calm. In fact, we were freaking out. : ) I knew Rande wasn't speeding and then when the police officer called through the loud speaker for Rande to..."Come out of your car slowly, with your hands visible and above your head!" Well honestly, it was just too much!

So Rande gets out of the SUV...with his hands up...the bright light from the police car shining on his face...and Ashleigh and I (Zach was in the SUV with Rande) sitting there feeling like we were watching an episode of Cops. The police officer walked over to Rande and asked him if he'd been drinking! He thought Rande was drunk! (Ok...now the likelihood of Rande being drunk would be zero to none. It just wouldn't happen. He hasn't had a drop of alcohol in a long, long time.) The police officer said he saw Rande swerve and believed him to be drunk. My poor husband! LOL He assured the officer he hadn't been drinking and he did indeed move over to the right side of the road when he saw the unmarked car pass me, because he thought it was someone in an obvious hurry. Well...that story wasn't enough for the police officer, so he made Rande take a sobriety test. There was my husband: touching his finger to his nose...and Ash and I just sitting in her truck saying, "No way is he making dad do this!"

I guess the sobriety test was enough, because after Rande passed it...the officer let him go. But before he did, he pointed to the truck and asked Rande, "Who's that guy over there?" To which Rande answered, "That's my wife!" LOL So yeah, it made for a pretty funny story afterward! : )

On to the pictures:

Cousins havin' fun on the quad--Kyle and Zach

Rande riding around the pasture


Beautiful!

More beauty...


This was enough to get my allergies going! LOL
I loved walking through the trees--something we don't have much of in the desert.


Brother and sister--best friends for life


This picture is priceless--our family, with Dad on the day before Ash, Troy and I left.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The Swing...



My sis-in-law's family has the neatest tree
swing on their property. It's attached to a HUGE tree...and obviously if it can hold these guys, then it's a strong tree! : )

My hubby, Zach and our nephew Kyle (the one with THE hair! LOL) had a blast twisting the rope as tight as they could and then letting the swing go. It was pretty funny to see them try to stand up afterward.










And then there was Troy, who absolutely loved the swing. Isn't he just SO cute?! I know, I know...I admit I am a proud Grammie! : )

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Ok...Let's Try This Again

Woohoo! Blogger is now letting me post pictures! I am going to post some over the next few days, so bear with me...and please, if these bore you to pieces...feel free to move on to the next blog. : )
I thought it would be nice to show a picture of who you have been praying for. From left to right: My sis-in-law (Kathe), Dad (Richard), and Rande (my hubby). Once again, thank you to everyone that has been praying for Dad. The Lord gave him a good week and although his strength was deteriorating, he was able to have a good visit with his family and share some precious moments. We are all very grateful. Ashleigh, Troy and Grandpa Richard...priceless.

These next pictures are of my sis-in-law's property (where we stayed). She and her husband (and two of our nieces) live on 5 acres, in a pretty little town. Their house is 80 years old and they are in the process of restoring it. So far it's turning out beautiful and as always, Kathe has a special way of making a house feel like a home. She is also an excellent cook and fed us the yummiest of foods! As my 17 year old nephew Kyle said, "Aunt Kathe's cooking was 'top of the line'!" : )

CB the Nubian goat--CB is short for "cry baby". : )

Lot and LOTS of green...and a walnut tree.

An old shed, which I thought was very cool.

A walnut orchard...the property also has pecan trees and various fruit trees.

Here are two friends I met...I don't think they were feeling very social though. : )




These next pictures are just some interesting things I saw around the property...and decided to snap a few photos.




Thanks for letting me share! More to come...

So...Anyway

I have spent almost an hour (ridiculous, I know!) trying to post pictures of our trip up north. Blogger is giving me fits and now I am thoroughly frustrated. : / So...I'm giving up and will try again later. I *need* to get on with my day.

I did want to mention though...Rande, Zach and our nephew Kyle flew home last night and arrived safely. We are so very thankful the Lord allowed everyone to have a good week with Dad/Grandpa. Thank You, Lord! : )

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Look Who's One Year Old!!

Happy 1st Birthday Troy!!






Grammie loves her Little Man!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Safely Home....

Thank you all so much for your prayers regarding our trip up north, for our family and for my father-in-law. Some of you I know personally, and some I only know through the bloggy world...but I thank the Lord for each one of you. There were many moments over the course of the five day trip, where I was very much aware of the prayers being lifted up on our behalf. Thank you.

Ashleigh, Troy and I left yesterday and made the 12 hour trek home without any problems (Thank You, Lord!). Zach is flying home Wednesday with his cousin and I am not sure when Rande will be coming home. At this point his dad is still able to sit in his recliner (with the help of pain meds) and is very much aware of everything going on around him. I am so thankful the Lord is allowing Dad to have this time with his family...God is so good.

There is much I won't write here...but suffice it say, my husband was a child of divorce and there have been some difficult times in the relationship between father and son. I know looking back, both of them would have done some things differently...but I am truly thankful, that in the last days of Dad's life...none of that matters anymore. Because of God's grace, there has been healing and now they can just sit and enjoy being together. I know they both thought there would be more time...but I praise the Lord they have today.

I wish I could say all that I am feeling right now...but it's hard to express it in writing and I'm tired tonight. : ) Ashleigh wrote a beautiful post today and I can honestly say as she did, that Jesus is our comfort...and He will see our family through this. And speaking of family, I am very thankful for ours. We have a large extended family and we aren't perfect by any means. And like most, we have had our "issues". But when the going gets tough...we put it all aside and cling to Jesus and each other. That is what family is all about.

I hope to post some pictures over the next few days. Northern California is truly beautiful in the spring! So until then...thank you again for your prayers and sweet comments regarding the "newest addition". I'm looking forward to catching up with y'all! : )

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Now For Some HAPPY News...

Before we head up to northern California...I just *had* to post something *very* exciting. You can go to my daughter's blog to find out. It's been really hard to not say anything. : )

Well...we're off! See y'all when we get back!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Thank You!

Thank you to everyone for praying regarding Rande's dad. The kids and I are heading out tomorrow and would appreciate prayers for a safe trip. Thanks!!

You all are a blessing to me! : )

Monday, March 19, 2007

Prayer Request...

I am sorry I haven't been commenting on your blogs the past few days...things have a been a little hectic over here.

I was planning on a fun little post for today, on the fact that the plastic was finally coming down and I'd have my kitchen back, at least for a while. But instead, I have a prayer request.

My husband's father was diagnosed with esophageal cancer this past summer. We made a family trip then, to see him. Rande's dad has gone through various treatments and had been doing "ok". Not great, not good, but fair. Rande was hoping to have a break in all the house stuff to go up (his dad lives 12 hours away, in northern California) and spend some time with him and was actually planning to go in the next week or so. But then this morning he received a call from his sister, saying their dad is not doing well...at all. In fact, it's very bad.

So...my dear husband is leaving on a flight out this afternoon to be with his dad and the rest of the family. And then, Zach, Ashleigh, Troy and I (and other family) will be driving up in the next few days, once we find out all the details.

I am thankful to say that Rande's dad (Richard) is a Christian. Rande led his dad to the Lord, at our church, just a few years ago. Please be praying for Richard's wife (she is a Christian too), my husband, my sis-in-law (Kathe) and the rest of our family. Our heart's desire is that Dad wouldn't be in pain. I am praying too, that Rande can get there and have some time with his dad, while he is still lucid.

The Lord is our Comfort and our Peace. Our family has been down this path many times in recent years...sometimes it feels like too many. But God knows and His ways are not ours. And most importantly, each time as we have traveled the path of loss and grief, the Lord has been with us every step of the way. His grace is truly sufficient....and it's because of our confidence in that fact, we can thank and praise Him. God is good...all the time.

Thank you all so much for your prayers...and I will give updates as I am able.

"And he said unto me,
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness."
2 Corinthians 12:9

Friday, March 16, 2007

Remodel Update and A New Smile...

Whew! It was SO hot today! When Zach and I arrived at the orthodontist it was 95 degrees and it wasn't even noon!! Crazy! I know we live in the desert, but this is *not* normal for March.

Anyway...I thought I'd give an update on our remodel. I realize it doesn't look like much has happened since I last posted pictures, but we really are making progress. This week was pretty stressful, as we had some paint issues, tile issues, contractor issues and a door improperly installed (but it's fixed now).

The family room...it cracks me up how Brodie always gets in the picture.

The old dining room...not much going on here, except painting.


The kitchen...still covered in plastic. : /


Our new front door (at least this was installed properly). Don't worry, this is not going to be the color. It just the primer (the door is fiberglass with a "wood" look to it--it's too dry out here to have a real wood door). We really wanted a door with a larger window, but for privacy reasons, we opted for the smaller one.


Is Zach a trooper or what, to let me post this picture? : ) (We have family that read my blog who would want to SEE his new braces.) Today they did just the top and in two weeks he'll get the bottom. Aren't the clear brackets cool? I think so! You can barely see them! Anyway, he wants me to tell y'all that he's not so excited anymore because his teeth are really hurting tonight. Poor guy! Time to get out the Advil. : ( I had braces and just the thought of that "ache" makes me cringe.

After Zach was through getting his braces on, we went to the Olive Garden for lunch. We had a really good time, just the two of us. I love being with my entire family, but sometimes it's nice to have one on one time with my kids. When we were finished with lunch, we went to Macy's to get Zach some new dress shirts and pants. They were having an incredible sale. I would not normally go to Macy's for Zach's clothes because he is growing so fast, but we could hardly beat the prices.

So it was a good day...and Zach even got some school work done! : ) Tonight we are just going to hang out and maybe watch a movie and tomorrow it's back to working on the house.

Have a great weekend! : )

Today Is The Day....

That Zach gets his braces! He's pretty excited, but he is sad he won't get to eat tortilla chips and tacos for the next 18 months. I'll post pictures when we get home.

Have a great day! Happy Friday!! : )




**Image by allposters.com

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Remembering Mom...

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."
John 14:2

Eight years ago today, my precious mother-in-law (Margie) went to her heavenly home...where her Jesus had prepared a place for her. The verse above was one of her favorites and we talked about it often in the weeks preceding her death.

I loved my mother-in-law very much...so much, that I called her "Mom". I met her when I was 16 years old and she was the first person to talk to me about Jesus and share the Gospel with me. Even though it would be 7 years later until I received Jesus as my Savior...she just loved me anyway. Honestly, she was probably the only person praying for me during those rebellious years, because I had no other Christians in my life. And I was not the kind of girl I am sure she envisioned for her son, but she loved me anyway.

After Rande and I got married, those early years were so hard. I had no clue how to be a wife or keep a home. I didn't know how to cook anything but scrambled eggs (I am not kidding!). But between Mom and my sisters-in-law, Kathe and Sheri,...they wrote out recipes for me and helped me through. Life was hard and I am sure Mom was worried for her son...but she loved me anyway.

Years later, when I took my role as a wife and mother much more seriously because I saw it as high calling from the Lord, Mom was my biggest cheerleader. I remember when I started making homemade bread...she was so proud of me and told everyone about it. When we started homeschooling, I know she didn't totally understand our decision, but she never voiced anything but support. And even when I went through my "legalistic homeschooler" stage...she loved me anyway.

Mom was a wonderful Grandma to all of her grandchildren. She knew how to make them feel special. She told them about Jesus. She took them to church. She attended their special events whenever she could. It's because of Grandma Margie that my children have such a love of music. She and Ashleigh had their special songs...and Zach was her "Little Man". For the most part, she was a fun-loving Grandma, but even her grandkids could test her patience at times and...she just loved them anyway.

Complications from diabetes made Mom's life more difficult as the years went by. She moved from her beloved home and came to live with us. Almost immediately she went on dialysis (3 times a week for 3-4 hours each time). By this time she could barely see, so for those 3-4 hours she couldn't even read or watch the tv that was available. Different people would come and take turns reading to her or she would listen to books or the Bible on tape. She never complained--she just accepted this was where the Lord had her.

Eventually, she went into the hospital for surgery and during the next three months, she only came home one time. Life was very hard during those months, for many reasons. Mom endured a lot of suffering and at times she could be very difficult. She had been dealing with this illness for so long and she was tired. In her frustration, she would take it out on those closest to her...her family. But you know what? We loved her anyway.

And on the day of her Homegoing, she had all her children and grandchildren around her...singing hymns and praise songs. It was a beautiful day and it was Sunday, which we all thought was so appropriate. When she actually died and everyone was around her...we were crying of course, but we praised the Lord and rejoiced that Mom was now with her Jesus.

We all miss her very much. She was the glue that held the family together. For me, there are not many days when I don't think about her. She was not just my mother-in-law, but one of my dearest friends. As I enter this new stage of my life--being a grandmother, while still having a teenage son at home--I really miss her and wish I could just call her up and ask her advice on some things. But I know what she would tell me: she would say, "Pray. Trust the Lord. Seek Him."

So today, while I am missing Mom...I am thankful for her testimony and influence in my life. I am thankful that through some hard times, she loved me anyway. Most importantly though, I am thankful she pointed me to Jesus.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Our Inheritance...

On Sunday mornings our pastor is going through the book of 1 Peter. I love going verse by verse in the Bible and 1 Peter is one of my favorite books. Yesterday's sermon was on 1 Peter 1:3-5.


"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
which according to his abundant mercy
hath begotten us again
unto a lively hope
by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled,
and that fadeth not away,
reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God
through faith unto salvation
ready to be revealed in the last time."


These words are so encouraging to me! They speak of the riches of God's grace...that He would send His Son, so we who believe, by faith, would have the eternal hope of Jesus. As Christians we have a spiritual heritage, an inheritance...not such as an earthly inheritance that can be spent, taken away or lost. This inheritance in incorruptible. It cannot be defiled in any way...it cannot be stolen or harmed. It is ours because we belong to Jesus Christ.

It's interesting because I have been thinking a lot about my testimony lately. First, when I visited with my friend Janna a few weeks ago and then again because I had to write it out last week for a class I am taking on Tuesday nights through our church. God is so good and merciful and I am so undeserving of that goodness and mercy. It brings me to tears to think of where I was before salvation and to see what the Lord has done since that time and to know He continues to work in my life (because boy, do I need it! ). I am nothing without Him...and I am so very thankful I am a daughter of The King--and because of that, I have an inheritance awaiting me and I can rejoice.

At the conclusion of the service yesterday our pastor asked a very challenging question I have been pondering ever since:

Are you living your life in light of this great inheritance?


Good question, don't you think? It certainly has me thinking about areas of my life that don't reflect the wonderful gift I've been given. I am so thankful for 1 John 1:9--"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Aren't you glad for God's Word and the truths found in it? I know I am. I am thankful too, for a wonderful Pastor who is willing to preach the truth and ask the hard questions. Most of all, I am thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. To Him--be all power and glory! Amen!




(Oh and speaking of the wonderful things the Lord has done...if you read Part 1 and 2 of Heather's testimony, you won't want to miss Part 3.)

Wanted: A Home Cooked Meal From MY OWN Kitchen...

Ok, I am not an artist in the kitchen....but I thought the picture was cute.

Anyway, Zach had an orthodontist appointment this morning and I was browsing through a magazine filled with yummy looking recipes. I was thinking different recipes would be fun to try...but then I remembered: I can't cook right now. My kitchen is still under plastic as we continue work on the house.

I miss my kitchen. I miss cooking for my family. We are all sick of eating out or something from fast food. I know it's only going to be for a short time...but still!

Yesterday, Zach and I (Rande was working) drove out to Ashleigh's house after church for lunch and it was so nice to have a real, home cooked meal. She was so sweet to take pity on her poor, deprived mom! : ) Zach hasn't been nearly as deprived because he has been staying with Ashleigh and John on and off the past few weeks.

Anyway--you can be sure--when I get my kitchen back and cook that first meal, it's going to something really good and I'll be one happy camper!! : )


**Graphic by allposters.com**

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Winchester Cheese Company...

This past Wednesday, Zach and I went on a field trip with our church's Christian school. It is such a blessing to have a church school that includes the homeschool students. We drove the 1-1/2 hours to the Winchester Cheese Factory. At WCC they make "Gouda" cheese by hand, in the "authentic Holland style". It was fascinating to learn how a dairy farm works and how they make cheese. At first I thought this field trip might be a little juvenile, but everyone found out quickly there is a lot to running a cheese factory. Oh and yes, there was a very distinctive smell. It was amazing how strong it was at first, but then after a few minutes we didn't really notice it.

Zach (the one in the brown jacket) and friends...say "CHEESE"!! : )

Waiting for the informational video to start. Hmm, Robin....who is the guy that won't smile for the camera?? LOL

WCC is a family owned and run business. The owners daughter gave us the tour. Here she is explaining how they use raw milk to make the cheese. (FYI--the regulations regarding the use (or sale) of raw milk are much more strict than pasteurized, therefore making for a debate as to which is really more safe to drink or use.) Moo!

Getting ready to go into the milking barn.
WCC sold their herd recently because milk prices are down and they are a small operation. It's more cost effective for them at this point to the buy the milk than to keep the cows on their farm. So this little gal gets to stand in for the real thing, as the milking machines are demonstrated.

Sorting the curds and whey...

The finished product...beautiful 12-15lb. wheels of Gouda cheese. The cheese on this particular shelf has been aging since September 8, 2005. Each wheel is turned over every 12 hours.

Lots of cheese!

After the tour, we were served samples of the Gouda cheese.



Ok...for those of you with teenage boys (or brothers), you will understand these pictures. For those of you with little boys, this is what you have to look forward to. And to those with girls, well...you can see what you are missing! : )


Umm, yeah...I don't know if I want to admit I'm his mom.


It was a fun day and I think everyone had a good time. I know I did! : )