Sunday, September 12, 2010

When September Comes...

Oh, I LOVE September. I LOVE the Fall. I LOVE spending time with my family in the Fall.

As much as I love the beginning of Fall, it makes me become less motivated to work around the house, go to work, do homework, go to class, etc. etc. I would much rather just spend time with my loved ones. I guess the way I see it, I'll never look back and say, "I wish I wouldn't have cleaned more," or "I should have spent so much more time at work," or even, "I wish I would have gotten groceries more often." I will GUARANTEE you that I will look back and say, "I wish I would have had more time to do everything I've ever wanted with my family and friends." So...the past two weeks I've done just that. Don't get me wrong, I still try to get my chores done, and I still DO go to work, but I used to BIG TIME hype when there was a speck of dust or dirt on the floor and dinner wasn't ready right on time at night. It's just, this past two weeks, I've learned to enjoy life. What doesn't get done today will get tomorrow. :)

That leads me to this weekend. What a GREAT weekend! :)

Friday night, Jas and I just took off for Mishawaka just because we felt like it. We ate dinner at Sonic (because I love it, and it reminds me of Mt. Juliet (my Nashville home)). We then hit up the Mall and Gordman's before heading to our great friends, the Weinberg's to help them move, or watch the boys move while Shawna and I catch up. :)

Saturday was supposed to be a day filled with soccer games in the morning, homework, cleaning, and going to my brother's baseball game before cheering on the IRISH and then visiting the Weinberg's once again. It went more like this...I got up early to get homework done before Reeno's game, and didn't get nearly as far as I wanted to, so I wasn't able to go. :( Later, I found out, he rocked the house! The kid is THREE, is not old enough to be playing, and scored FOUR goals! How did I miss this!?! He is my world, and I missed his first hat-trick. I'm sorry buddy, I love you more than you could imagine, and I am so proud of you! After the game, while I was STILL doing homework, my Momma texted me to inform me that Aj's game was cancelled due to rain. :( Sad, but I was SURE I would get my cleaning done. Instead, I sat on the couch and watched a movie for the first time since I've been home this summer. It felt so good, and I really needed it. Jas got home, and we watched the Irish. I almost broke a computer during the game due to excitement, and then we lost anyway. Boo!! BUT, I feel good about this season.

Today was a perfect day. I woke up for church, and it was such a beautiful morning! I got there to be informed that my Daddy volunteered me to stand up front with a sign during the sermon. It was cool; he knew I wouldn't care. That is until...Pastor Bley placed goggles on my face and a blindfold on me. Let me inform you that I had 4 inch heals on, had to walk up stairs with the blindfold, AND fell in a hole on stage. He is SO lucky it was me, and I'm the child that NOTHING can embarrass me. I embrace it. :)

I was planning on getting so much done again today. That is, until my mom said she was going to go for a bike ride on the Pumkinvine Nature Trail from Middlebury to Goshen. Everything else got postponed, again, so I could ride with my family. I'M SO GLAD I DID. It was a PERFECT afternoon...almost. :) My mommy and daddy, sister, my niece and nephew and I headed off for the trail and everything seemed perfect. The day was perfect, the weather, the trail, the scenery. EVERYTHING. Half-way through the trail, the bike stroller fell off and my dear niece and nephew went spinning and landed face-up to the sky. Of course, if they had been on the road we would have FREAKED out, but they were on a trail, and it was just me, I DIED laughing. Let me tell you, Gavin already HATES the bike stoller. He was determined to ride his own bike, and when his momma told him he couldn't. He was determined to walk. He lost that one, too. So, when he crashed, let's just say he was traumatized. He screamed and of course my niece screamed. Mom was right behind them so she helped them up immediately. Gavin was determined to get unbuckled. He was done. Ashli wouldn't let him, and when we were starting to ride again, this is what Gavin says... "Dwama (Grandma), that was the WORSTEST thing... of course we all died laughing AGAIN. As Ashli takes off on her bike, this is what Gavin says next, "H-E-R-O, God is my Hero!" We died laughing AGAIN. I mean it's funny, but how great is it that at age 3 he's thanking God for keeping him safe. :) I love that kid. Needless to say, I've been laughing out loud every time I think about it. He probably doesn't think it's quite so funny.

Anyway, at the end of the trail, my dear brother-in-law picked my husband up and brought him to us so he could ride home with us. He also picked the kids up as they were traumatized. It was so nice riding the trail home with everything. So many blessings to thank God for! When we got home, my mommy and daddy took Jas and I for some DQ, and man, was it JUST what we needed! It was so nice of them.

This evening, Jas and I went to my school to get a lot of things done. He's such a good husband. He just sits there quietly and keeps me company without complaining. And now, I'm relaxing with the love of my life as he watches America's Got Talent and eating pizza. I just may have to get me some! :)

Tomorrow, it's back to the grind with another busy week. Of course there's work, and then...

Monday=Huntington baseball game
Tuesday=Chicago with friends to learn more about Shaklee!
Wednesday=Youth Group
Thursday = Dinner with our Nashvillian, Ms. Wendy Hardaway (and class, boo!)
Friday - no plans...yet! and I can't wait!

Friday, August 27, 2010

How many words can a blog hold?

Pictures are worth a thousand words. I am well aware of that. However, right now, I do not know where my camera cord is. Therefore, I will probably end up with a couple thousand words in this blog. I apologize now, but I've lived through an ENTIRE summer without saying anything about it!

Since me last blog---

I lived in Nashville for 5 weeks with my best friend and husband (on the weekends). I did not just choose to leave my husband for this amount of time, but I had was calling. While I was in Nashville, I commuted everyday to Bowling Green Kentucky to go to school. It was actually my internship, so I was seeing clients. I left on our anniversary (of course that would happen)...what could we experience together that normal couples get to experience in their first year of marriage? Not much would be the answer. I also left the same day that my little brother (who I was missing soooo much) had to come home from South Carolina due to an injury. I was sooo sad! I couldn't see him! Here is what a typical day looked like for me while I was in the South.

4:45- Wake up/Shower/Get Ready
6:00- Leave Nashville for school
7:35- Arrive Bowling Green, stop to get gas and a coffee
7:45- Arrive at Western Kentucky to get ready for clinicals
8:00- Begin gathering materials for the day
9:00- My first client
10:00- Paperwork/Paperwork/Paperwork
11:00- Another Client
12:00- Paperwork/Paperwork/Paperwork
1:00- Clinic Meeting
2:00-Another Client
3:00- My last client
4:00- Clean up materials
5:00- often times meet with some girls for awhile
6:00- begin driving home
7:30 - arrive home, and go to class for 1 hour/ half
9:00- Homework/Homework/Homework
11:00- Skype with Jason...if lucky
12:00- Go to bed, to get up to do it all over again.

My days were crazy busy, full of driving, clients, hard work, supervisors, coffee, no food, more coffee, etc. Please know it was the FASTEST five weeks of my life!!!! Did I miss my husband? YES. Did I miss my niece and nephew? YES. Did I miss the rest of my family? YES. Did I miss days at the lake and feeling like I had a vacation? YES! BUT, it was the most satisfying, best learning experience, etc. etc. in my education I've ever had. The people were great, and I learned so much. The set back? i didn't get to do the things I LOVE to do when I'm in Nashville.

So, what did we do about it?

When I got home from school, Jason and I immediately took off for Nashville. We stayed with Shaun and Michelle Tuesday-Friday. While we were with them, we ate (a lot), hung out with some cool people, went to Lynchburg, TN for the Jack Daniel's Distillery and Miss Mary BoBo's (Thanks John and Wendy), went to Sweet CiCi's (a lot), got to eat my favorite soup EVER had Urban Flats, shopped, and much more. On Friday, we went to hang out with John and Wendy and Anna. This was GREAT! I didn't get to spend hardly any time with them when I was down for school, and being with them was so refreshing. We ate dinner where Anna works, went to one of the Hardaway's friend's house, and got breakfast in the morning. After that, Jas and I drove back to Indy where we stayed at the Holidome (because I always did as a kid, and wanted to) on Saturday. We went out for dinner, and got up early on Sunday to head to Bloomington/Normal, IL. There, we stayed with Jared and MaryAnn, Jason's cousin and husband. This was AMAZING. It's always so nice being with them and talking with them, but every time we leave, we wish we lived closer to them! Jared had to work ridiculous hours while we were there because he was lead detective on a case, so we got to all go out to eat on Sunday night before work snatched him up. On Monday, Jas and I drove around to try and found a window replacement service (a rock hit our window literally 5 miles before we got to Jared and MaryAnn's). The rest of the day was pretty lazy until we drove 45 min. to Peoria to hang out with the rest of Jason's family (sister, brother-in-law, aunts/uncles, grandma, cousins....everyone was there. SO good to see everyone, even if it was just for dinner. We drove back to Bloomington/Normal that night so we could hang out with MaryAnn and get our window replaced the next morning. Tuesday, after our window was complete, we headed to Aurora, IL ( a suburb of Chicago), to see our best friends Drew and Shanna. The last time we had seen them was at their wedding, and we hadn't got to see their new place. It was amazing seeing them. I loved listening to Drew and Jason lay on the floor laughing at ridiculous stupid things, playing with talking parrots, their dog Gunner, and remembering all the memories they made in college. I also loved being with Shanna. We have always had so much in common..our beliefs, attitudes, likes/dislikes, EVERYTHING. I loved being with her, cooking dinner with her, laughing so hard with her, playing games with her, and remembering all of our college memories. While we were there we ate (a lot), went to a waterpark, shopped, and made so many memories that will never be forgotten. I miss them so much already. I love them. Jason and I got home late that Saturday night after stopping at Urban Outfitters and IKEA. We woke up early that morning to go to Gavin's first soccer game (a story for a little bit later). As soon as the game was over, we rushed home to get ready to meet Adam and Carli at my parent's so we could drive back to Indy to go to the Keith Urban concert that Adam had gotten for Carli for her birthday. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN. And it was so good to be with my brother and 'sister' along with my husband. May I add that Kieth was AMAZING! I drove home that night because Jason had to get up for work in the morning (his first day back on 1sts). Needless to say we got home around 3:00 am. Geesh. THEN, mom and dad said please come to church, no matter how tired you are, I want you to meet this family that is really interested in the pastor position. They've got two kids, and just seem to be a perfect fit, but they want to meet younger couples. Therefore, I got up early to go to church. I met this family, which just so happened to be great friends with some of our friends. In fact, Jas played basketball with him once, and it became a really small world after church with Dad introduced me to them, and Drew said he knew my husband, and an even smaller world that Jason was my Dad's son-in-law. It was funny watching Dad's reaction to that.

Anyway, to make a long story short, he took the pastor job, and we are sooo excited. I just wish Jas could come to church with me! :(

On another note, we started being youth group leaders two weeks ago. We've spent time with the youth, but we've never stepped into the role of being full-blown youth leaders. Jason has Junior/Senior boys; I have Junior/Senior girls. We are very excited about this new journey, and pray to see so much growth in these young people. I'm sure we'll end up getting more out of it than they will with us being leaders. Please be praying for us and the opportunities we will get to minister to these kids.

We're still praying and wanting to start a small group, but those lines don't seem to be matching up. We will continue praying to see where that will take us.

Jason is head high in church softball right now. It's so funny to watch them all take is so seriously. IT'S CHURCH SOFTBALL. What's worse? I'm so competitive that I had to coach my husband on the way home to not be lazy and to go 100%. I hate losing. They're in the tournament, and have to play 4 games on Monday to win it all. It's fun to be with everyone, so I don't mind going. I love it.

Now on to nephew had his first soccer game two weeks ago. It was A-MAZING. 5 little 3-4 year-olds on a soccer field. Three of them=Engle boys. They are like the bash brothers out there, running into each other and falling down. They are all going to be great little athletes. I don't know how you couldn't be though, when that's all your family does. Bottom line is, my nephew is such a lucky little boy. You want to know who showed up for his first game? 3 grandmas, 3 grandpas, 2 great-grandmas, 2 great-grandpas, his mommy and daddy, sister, 2 aunts, 2 uncles, 2 cousins. We LINED the field! and he's THREE! What a lucky little boy. i pray someday he understands the love we all have for him.

On a side note...did I tell you how awesome my husband is? While I was at school, he re-did our master bathroom, built storage benches in the garage, added solar lights to our landscape! My family is awesome, too! They helped with the bathroom, kept my husband company, did some laundry for me, bought me a blender! They are all TOO great! I love them all.

While I was down at school, my grandpa, bless his heart, got a blood-clot. I HATED being gone! It was my last week there, and I was so torn, do I come home, and have to do it all over again next summer, but get to be with my family? Or do I stay, and not be with the most important thing in my life due to my selfishness? Needless to say, I stayed, but called my grandpa/mom constantly. Eventually, they stabilized his blood clot, and he was able to return home, but not without going to the cancer center every single day for injections. All Chemo was stopped, but the unforeseen future, and he was put on meds to thin his blood, and stabilize the clot. He was in so much pain he couldn't move. My grandpa is THE TOUGHEST person I have EVER known. He's a hip replacements, open heart surgery, cancer, etc. etc. HE NEVER STOPS. In the midst of his first cancer and it's treatments, he was in the garage building pillars for my wedding. If I ever have even a fraction of his work ethic, I will be so proud. This blood clot thing...was terrible to watch. He always put on a tough face, but I know he's hurting when he doesn't leave his chair, the hardest thing for him to do. The worst? This clot could last FOUR WEEKS. Even so...he made it to Gavin's first soccer game, and luckily is getting better. The last week and a half I have seen energy back him, good color, so much happiness, and it makes me sooo happy...tears happy. I love him. He is my Poppy Doc. Keep praying for him. Pray that the cancer is gone (we won't know), and he stays healthy and upbeat. THANK YOU!

Monday, June 14, 2010

BIRDS and such

EXCITING NEWS!!!! Two more friends got married. Chase Verba married Krista Warner on Saturday in Fort Wayne. It was so great to see them and other friends, and catch up with late, great terrific ones, like Jodi Bontreger. If you're reading this...I KNOW you are...I love you and thank you for so many laughs, encouragement, advice, and memories with you. Geesh, I miss your face!

On a more serious note, I love weddings because there is so much happiness and love. It makes me fall in love with my husband all over again. Especially when he's all dressed up and lookin' so hot! :) Weddings take me back to our wedding day. I would do it all over again if I didn't have to plan for it. So many great people, and such a celebration!

Now onto something TOTALLY different. (This blog is lame, but you'll get over it). Jas and I got new, and extremely cheap bikes from WalMart on Friday. After much deliberation, I decided on a beach of those bikes that looks like it's straight out of the fifties and sixties...yeah, that's mine, and I LOVE it. On Friday, I drove it over to my sis's house and we and the kids went for a bike ride to the Hardware in Shipshe. So peaceful. Saturday morning, Jas and I rode our bikes north of Middlebury to our neighbor girl's softball game. I definitely heard a lot of 'my butt hurts,' from my husband on the way home. Suck it up. :) Just kidding.

I'll come back to this.

Yesterday, I had had enough of watching Jason leave for work. I HATE IT. Lord be with him everyday. I think that's why I love 1st shift so much. I don't have to watch him leave. It can become a little more 'out of sight out of mind' type thing...if at all possible...when he leaves and I'm in a dead sleep. When I watch him pull away every afternoon it kills me. I can only pray he comes back to me every night. So...yesterday, to relieve the stress, I decided to ride my bike to my sister's house and listen to my brother's game with them. It takes 12 minutes in a car to get there, so not terrible. 8, 9 miles, maybe? However, I decided to go out of my way to take backroads instead of US 20. BAD IDEA...hills, hills and more hills. Remember how I said I bought a beach cruiser? That means, there's no gears or anything to make my trip easier. Just me and the road. Anyway, I loved it, until....

A bird! A red-winged black bird to be exact (I had to google a black bird with an orange wing to find out). Anyway this bird flew into the back of my head and punctured it with its beak! Are you kidding me? How does this happen to me?

My hatred toward birds began in High School.

Once upon a time, my sister, momma, and I were at UP Mall, and we stopped at Hallmark as we were leaving, to get a card. There, in Hallmark, looking at cards, a little birdie came fluttering across my toes, just walked right over them. Sick. The same week, I was washing my car...a bird pooped on my head. A few days later, on a trip to Cedar Point with Student Council, a bird flew into me as I was riding a roller coaster. Blood, guts...everywhere. Knocked the wind out of me, even.

Fast forward.

About 2 years ago, the girls of the family, My mom, my sister, my other 'sister' (she's actually my brother's ex, but I will always and forever claim her as my own), and I were going to see Dirty Dancing on Broadway in Chicago. Walking down the street, in the middle of Chicago, a bird comes swooping down to me. I grabbed my sister (pregnant at the time) and about threw her to the cement trying to dodge this bird. Missed by mere centimeters, I'd say.

Fast forward.

Last year, we were celebrating my dear cousin (who I also claim as my own, although according to blood, they say she's Jason's), and her husband's marriage with a bachelorette party in South Bend. I had to stop at Meijer to get food for the evening. When I walked out, bags in hand, a bird, swooped down and flew into me. OUTSIDE MEIJER. PEOPLE WATCHING. I dropped my bags, and the thing was fluttering around on the ground, dying, but not dead. Me, with people watching, stomped on it (like you would a spider)...I helped it. Don't judge me, please. I'm not normally into killing animals.

Fast forward to now, and a bird flew into me while I was riding a bike. Basically, I hate birds.

Anyway, I got to my sister's house, and they were all sleeping. Having two kids under 3 1/2, that doesn't happen very often, so, I decided I would ride to my Grandma and Grandpa's. Sounds great, only, their house is another 12 miles away. Oh well. I did it. I just kept riding and riding. It was so nice. I love Amish country.

It was so nice to surprise them. My parents, who live a few houses down, were in SC watching my brother play ball, so it was nice to see just them. Grandma wanted to take my bike for a spin, so she rode the couple houses down to my Aunt's (yeah, we all live that close, and it's TERRIFIC!). Aunt Jill came down and dinner with us. Just the four of us. It was so nice. Then we listened to my brother's games. Adam, my brother, you can call him AJ (pronounced, 'age')...I do...messed up his hamstring again. Bummer. My parents weren't planning on leaving SC until tomorrow, but with AJ done, and work awaiting, they decided to pack up and leave today. I wish I were down there with him! :( Three more weeks is all! ..but then again, I'll be in Nashville. After the first game, since he wasn't playing, we turned the Cubbies on, and watched two pitchers battle for no hitters. Grandma taught me a new card game 'Spite and Malice.' ...Jas and I since stayed up playing it until 1:00 last night. Grandpa had a rough day. I'll be so glad when this sickening Chemo and awful cancer is gone for good. He's so strong, he puts on a good face for everyone, even though he doesn't need to. I love them both, and they're great.

Jas picked me up from mom and dad's when he got off work, and we calculated my route...21 1/2 miles. I was proud of myself for it being the 3rd time I've been on a bike in years. My next goal...riding to my other grandparents house who live about 7 miles further. Orvy and I come.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I've Been Watching You

Ever since he was born, Gavin has had the most hilarious sense of humor, facial expressions, attitude, etc. Anyone who knows him, or watches him whether at ball games or church, knows exactly what I'm talking about. However, what a lot of people DON'T see is how sweet he is, and how much he knows...for those of you who don't know who Gavin is, he's our nephew, and for his whole life, ours have revolved around him. Currently Gavin is 3 1/2, he adores his little sister, loves his mommy and daddy, idolizes Uncle AJ and Uncle Jas, lives for time with Grandma and Grandpa, likes playing with our puppies, is SERIOUSLY a rock star baseball player for the age of 3 and is SERIOUSLY going to hurt someone in T-Ball, he knows everything about the Detroit Tigers (who plays; who got traded), he knows everything about Hungtington Baseball, he knows how to bat, how to slide, how to catch, how to throw...the only stimulation, he has to do it right, or he doesn't do it...:) He cannot wait to play soccer this Fall, he cracks the most hilarious jokes, loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and watches your every move. This is his current favorite song (which he knows every word to).

Artist/Band: Rodney Atkins
Lyrics for Song: Watching You
Lyrics for Album: If You're Going Through Hell

Drivin’ through town just my boy and me
With a Happy Meal in his booster seat
Knowin’ that he couldn’t have the toy ‘til his nuggets were gone.
A green traffic light turned straight to red
I hit my brakes and mumbled under my breath.
His fries went a flyin’, and his orange drink covered his lap
Well, then my four year old said a four letter word
It started with “S” and I was concerned
So I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to talk like that?”

He said, "I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I wanna be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
We got cowboy boots and camo pants
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?
I want to do everything you do.
So I’ve been watching you."

We got back home and I went to the barn
I bowed my head and I prayed real hard
Said, “Lord, please help me help my stupid self.”
Just this side of bedtime later that night
Turnin’ on my son’s Scooby-Doo nightlight.
He crawled out of bed and he got down on his knees.
He closed his little eyes, folded his little hands
Spoke to God like he was talkin’ to a friend.
And I said, “Son, now where’d you learn to pray like that?”

He said, "I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I want to be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
We like fixin’ things and holding momma’s hand
Yeah, we’re just alike, hey, ain’t we dad?
I want to do everything you do; so I’ve been watching you"

With tears in my eyes I wrapped him in a hug.
Said, “My little bear is growin’ up.”
And he said, “But when I’m big I’ll still know what to do.”

"‘Cause I’ve been watching you, dad ain’t that cool?
I’m your buckaroo, I want to be like you.
And eat all my food and grow as tall as you are.
By then I’ll be strong as superman
We’ll be just alike, hey, won’t we dad
When I can do everything you do.
‘cause I’ve been watchin’ you."
hey yeah
uh huh

Gavin lives this song daily, he does EVERYTHING and will say EVERYTHING you do...he's said his share of bad words (learned from his babysitter's brother), but I'm not kidding, he is the sweetest boy ever.

Tuesday night, Jas and I got to keep him overnight. Gavin had been wanting to spend the night for a long time, and the night before we had a catastrophe when mom made him leave the house to go home...HE WANTED TO SPEND THE we told him he could come over Tuesday, spend the night, and go to the lake Wednesday. All day Tuesday he had his ball and glove ready and his comments went something like this, "Mom, is it time to go to Aunt Whit's yet?" Needless to say, I picked him up after Uncle Jas's church softball game and brought him and Faith (our neighbor girl) home to play.

On the way home, Gavin asks, "Aunt Whit, do you know who God is?"
I of course reply, Yes, Gavin. Do you?
"Yes, he's Jesus."
"Yep, they are the same person, buddy. Do you know what Jesus did for you?"
"Yep, he made the roads, and the horses, and the trees, and mommy/daddy/Graci/you/Uncle Jas/etc.etc."
What else did he do?
He died on the cross so I can go to Heaven when I get old.
You're right! Jesus loves you soooo much. He loves you even more than me, and you know how much I love you. (he spreads his arms out to the side of him to show me that he knows I love him THAT much!
Yes, Jesus loves me very much, but not when I'm naughty!

Of course I went on to explain that Jesus loves him even when he's naughty. :)

We got home, and Uncle Jas and Uncle Dave (Jason's dad) got home shortly after. I had class, so while I sat on the computer, Uncle Jas and Gavin played a game (my favorite game as a kid, Enchanted Forest). I made Gavin a snack, and he wanted more, so we popped popcorn, and they continued playing. They played ball, put a puzzle together, played with the dogs, etc. It sure makes me happy that I've found such a good man who loves my nephew as much as me. All I could do was watch.

When class was over we watched Madagascar and Jas and Gavin laughed and laughed. I loved it--cuddling between two of my favorite boys. Then it was time for bed. Gavin thought he could sleep in his own room (the red room we call it), so we put our pajamas on, brushed our teeth, said our prayers (which always consist of thanking Jesus for everyone in the family and keeping Uncle AJ safe in South Carolina), and laid down to sleep. Jas was conked out soon after, I was falling asleep, and Gavin..he was staring at the ceiling. So, we moved us all to our room so he could watch Cartoons. Needless to say, the kid doesn't sleep if cartoons are on...even if it is 1:00 pm. :) Anyway, I woke up at 3:30 (I sure hope Gavin went to sleep before that), and moved him to his own bed where he wanted to sleep with his stuffed dog Jamon (also Uncle AJ's college roommate).

Gavin woke up around 8:30 in the morning..we watched cartoons, played a game, ate breakfast, took care of the dogs, etc. Just a lazy morning with nothing exciting going on, but it sure makes it much more enjoyable when there's a little one running around. I cannot wait until my precious niece comes and stays. She's so chill (she has to be with her big brother running around).

Gavin went to Mommy's school around 12:30..we took her and my mom lunch and we played in the classroom until it was time to go. We said our goodbyes (we see them everyday anyway), and went home. That was the highlight of my week, as simple as it was. I pray my kids are only half as cool as my niece and nephew, and I pray that someday, they both realize how much they are loved.

Monday, June 7, 2010

It Just Became Personal

Jason got to go to church with me on Sunday. He got moved to 2nds for the summer, and this is one GREAT thing about the shift change. It's so refreshing to have him there and be challenged together. Because our lead pastor and family have made the move to Fort Wayne, we had a guest pastor, Derry Prenkert, from Nappanee. Derry has spoke at our church previously, but Sunday, his sermon hit hard. His tag line for the sermon....IT JUST BECAME PERSONAL... I don't remember a lot, but I do remember so many convictions. Some of them follow.

Police officers have always been 'good' people in my book. I've never had a reason to not like them. They protect, they put their lives on the line everyday. I've had my fair share of times when I've been in desperate need for a police officer, and they came through when my life was on the line. That's a story for a later date. Even though I respected these men and women, I have reached a higher level of respect. My cousin-in-law and his father are (were) in law enforcement. I would pray for him and his lovely wife daily. BUT, my husband decided to leave the field of ministry to take a job as a police officer. Wow. IT JUST BECAME PERSONAL. I don't pray for the safety of those men and women out there protecting us anymore the way I used to. Those men and women have faces, they have names. It's Jared Roth, and his wife, MaryAnn, protecting streets of Illinois. It's all the men and women at Elkhart Sheriff's department, and all of their wives and kids who I've come to love and respect. It's my husband. IT JUST BECAME PERSONAL. If you read my first blog at all, you know that I am worried, no, terrified at where this world is headed. I pray for my future kids and the world they will be born into. I pray for my husband everyday as he heads off to work. There are many times I lay awake at night praying over him as he sleeps.I cannot pray that prayer of protection and integrity without all of those faces running through my mind. Lord, use them. Lord, protect them.

I used to pray for children in the world whose parents did not love them, did not provide for them, or simply did not know how or could not. I used to love them, without knowing them. This spring, IT JUST BECAME PERSONAL. That little child has a name. Her name is Chloe Weinberg. She now lives next door. Lord, thank you for this little girl's life, and delivering her from so much turmoil. Thank you for your blessings of a second chance of happiness and love. Thank you for her Aunt and Uncle Les and Shawna for seeing the need and embracing it. Protect her as she has a long road ahead of her. It becomes personal when there's a face and name to these people.

I used to pray for those teenagers facing the turmoil of this world. 2 summers ago, IT BECAME PERSONAL when I led a group of junior/senior girls to summer camp. I had my cousin, heading to IU in less than a year, and 3 juniors, one who was strong in her faith, one who knew what she believed, but found herself drifting away, and one who was told her whole life that there was no God, and she was on this trip to learn 'morals,' and get a better attitude....and we're going to send these girls into the High School, and onto college in the midst of the things going on around them without guidance? Yeah, it became personal. Those teenagers in the turmoil were then given a name. They were Kylie Yoder, Paige Bontrager, Michelle Hochstetler, and Dru Wheeler. It became personal when my relationship with them grew. It became personal when I prayed for their insecurities, for their needs, for their blessings, for their became personal when that teenager, who was told her whole life, there was no God.....accepted Christ as her personal savior. It hit me again this weekend as I stepped into her graduation open house to celebrate her accomplishment. Lord be with them as they head to college. Protect them and let them not be shaken. It's personal now.

Growing up, I was super close to my siblings...especially when my sister went off to college. You don't realize what you have until it's gone. I vowed to invest my time in my brother, my sister, and the rest of my dear family. All through high school, I drove my little brother to school. We walked into the building together. Often times he gave me a hug, thanked me for the drive..I would tell him to have a good day, and we would say our I love yous...Not a normal brother/sister relationship in high school, but I wouldn't change it. That year, things became personal. My dad had a terrible MRI, I didn't know how long he would be around. My mom had health problems...would she be okay? I was in a terrible car chase...I said my goodbyes on the phone. My sister got married...God bless my brother-in-law for keeping her here for me. I said I was going to invest my time in my family, and with all these things happening, could I really go to college? God provided, he delivered, and I went to Huntington (where I met my amazing Hubby). Being at Huntington, it allowed me to miss VERY VERY few sporting events of my little brother. I would drive during winter storm warnings both ways JUST to see a basketball. I would drive an hour and a half to watch 3 innings of baseball. My nephew was born the next year. I went home every other day to spend time with him. I stayed the night every Thursday to help my sister and be with my nephew. I would not miss a second. My niece was born last year, I wouldn't miss a moment of her life.....
And then my brother went to Huntington. I didn't make it to all the games, but I got play by play updates, and you better believe I would drive 2 and a half hours if I could, just to watch him play, even though I had mandatory class that night or work the next day. I vowed to invest in family. And now, he's in South Carolina, and I'm sitting on the computer LISTENING to baseball. I can't be there. My family can't be there to watch him play. It became personal when I didn't have all my family a simple drive away. Lord protect him, give him integrity, and bring him home soon.

My whole life, my dream was a family. From the time I can remember, kids clung to me. I would be tackled at church by the kids I babysat, or loved on. I nannied for years, I love my kids. I prayed for those people trying to get pregnant and couldn't, and I prayed for those moms who didn't want to be pregnant and were. I prayed that I would never have to face that. That too, BECAME PERSONAL. First with my dear cousin, who, God bless her, has been trying her hardest to get pregnant. Thank you Lord for putting people through situations to help others. No matter how long it may take her to get pregnant, whether it's immediately, or years...give them the patience and the wisdom to remember you have a plan. It became personal when those struggling couples were given a name. Lord be with them.

I've always grown up in a God loving home. My dad loved my mom. It was evident. There was so much love. It was a clean home. We had discipline (thank you, thank you, thank you!). I was never in want, but I'd like to think, I tried not to be greedy. My parents are great, great people. I love them to death...
Being out on your own, and trying to start your own life and family is stressful. I work full-time, I go to school full-time, I want time with my husband, I want kids...but when/where does that fit! I've found myself so stressed out over the struggle for time, finances, school, work, kids, you name it, that I often forget to stop and thank God for those blessings. It BECAME PERSONAL when we walked into the house after church on Sunday, and Jason says, "Wow, what a great house." He was not being conceited, he was being thankful. I'm sorry I'm not always so thankful, and thank you for giving me such a great husband to put it in perspective. We have a house, we have jobs, we have our health, we have a great/loving family, we have two terrific dogs who are a pain in the butt, we have a each other, and most of all, we have a living God who died for our sins, rose again, all powerful, all knowing, never leaves. He loves me so much that everything I do is personal to Him. Because of that, I need to become a fully-committed disciple and follow Him, let Him lead. I know how it feels when things JUST BECOME PERSONAL.

Friday, June 4, 2010

A Summer Kick-Off!

Life had been crazy with my grad school semester winding down, the school year coming to an end, and criminals coming out of the woodwork at Jason's work just because it's summer. Not to mention, Jason works hard everyday just to go coach baseball for 4 hours a night. Many times, when he comes home from baseball he's got a 'hunny-do' list, and if not, we're off to watch my brother's baseball games at Huntington, play with our niece and nephew, cook out with the neighbors, or something....anything else. We never sit down. We stress ourselves out many times because of how busy we keep ourselves, but when push comes to shove, we wouldn't have it any other way. Our people make our world go round, and we love them.

My little brother plays centerfield at HU. This was the pile-up after they won the conference tourney which took them out to California to play in Super Regional. Baseball is life around this time of the year!

With all of these things winding down we were soooo excited to be able to spend as much time as possible as a married couple for the next month before I get shipped down to Nashville to go to school for 5 weeks. 5 weeks where I can't leave on the weekend. Luckily I'll be staying with my best friend,'s 5 weeks of non-stop school, 5 weeks I cannot see my husband. With that being said, June was going to be the month of weddings.....

June was also going to be the month of spending everyday at the lake.

Just when we were looking so forward to actually being able to spend time together (we haven't gotten to since we've been married), the department tells Jason he's going to 2nds. That means, he'll be working 2 pm-10 pm, with Tuesday/Wednesday weekend. That also means I now have to call everyone back that we rsvp'd to their weddings, and tell them we won't be coming, or Jason won't be coming...we haven't quite figured all that out. Bummer. No lake, no weddings...I was sad. Mix that in with watching my brother be sent to South Carolina for the summer, I was even more sad. I love him. He and my sister are my best friends, and he'll be gone, playing baseball, without us able to watch, ALL summer. boo!!!!!!!!

Good news is....Jason and I have sure fit everything we could into this last week. We've spent every possible moment at the lake, cooking out with our good friends/neighbors, and had a party at Nic and Tori Minder's with the department. Tuesday we were at the lake again, then decided at 8 o'clock that we wanted to go to a drive-in, we did, in Huntington, with my amazing in-laws. We saw Shrek-Final Chapter and Iron Man-2. I only saw the first one because i was OUT 5 minutes into Iron was late! Jason seems to think our truck was made for drive-ins. We just put all the seats down, and camped back there. We had a great time, and it was my first drive in experience! wow!

While we were there, I got a call from a best friend telling me she was engaged! I hooked them up 2 years ago, and have been waiting for the moment! I was thrilled. We spent the night and my mom and dad Rahn's house, which was fun. Mom made us breakfast, and dog sat. (We have such great parents). Meanwhile, Jas and I headed to the zoo. We had so much fun spending time together...even though we couldn't see the tigers (my favorite animal) or the giraffes! Jas and I grabbed a late lunch, then headed to Primtime (Jas's old place of employment) to catch up with old friends. We got to see Akei, Arthur, Luther, Larry, and Dana. They're always so fun to talk to! :) After that we got to go spend more time with mom and dad before picking up the pooch and going to see our friend Seth Kimmel. He just got back from his honeymoon, so it was fun to hear all the stories. I sure miss living close to him....and now he's got his beautiful wife. I wish we lived closer even more now. Finally, we headed back to Fort Wayne to have a birthday/engagement dinner with Heather Reese (my friend that just got engaged). I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her, and her love for Justin...They are both such great people, and good friends. Being with these people makes me miss my friends even more. If only they were just a drop away that we could grab coffee or hang out whenever Jason's gone. I miss those relationships terribly!

As you can tell, we don't have any BIG news...just a bunch of little things that keep us going on a day-to-day basis. I don't know what we would do without our friends and family. Much love to them all!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waitin' on the World to Change

I'm not sure of many things in my life, but I am sure of this:

(1) There is a God: Father/Son/Holy Spirit (let's not forget about any of them). He is mine.
(2) We live in a rapidly changing world. Let's not kid ourselves, it's not changing for the good.
(3) God is willing to show up and show off if we show up at the foot of the cross and allow Him.


About 7 or 8 years ago, my family left the church I grew up in, met all of my best friends in, the church my 'faith' was in. At that time, I knew it was the best move, but I guess I didn't realize why. I went through High School without much of a youth group because my current church was still in the woodworks, our sister church was 50 minutes away, and I didn't necessarily feel welcomed back at our old church. That old church is alive and growing, and thank God for it. I don't have many, any really, bad memories from that church. The people are great.
I remember the day my family made the decision to leave. I was sitting in youth group, discussing a hot topic about whether Law Enforcement Officers would be allowed to be members of our church (I grew up in a Mennonite Church). This did not mean they were not WELCOME at our church, this meant they were not allowed to be MEMBERS...the whole voting on new leaders, all the logistics, etc. Don't get me wrong, we left the church because we did not agree, but I do commend the church looking back on it years later. It's about time a church stands strong in their beliefs. If they believe in passivism, stand by passivism. However, that decision led to so many great things in my life. Great relationships, great teachings, and most importantly a faith of my own. I didn't know any law enforcement officers personally at the time, but I don't think it's coincidence I married one, years later.

Fast forward a few years, and I met a great man of Christ, a man who was studying recreation and sports ministry. After graduation he was hired by Youth for Christ in Fort Wayne working with inner city kids. A place where I believed he planted many seeds for the Lord. I fell in love with Jason while he was there. A year after he began working for YFC, we became engaged and thought we would live a nice, safe life, as a 'youth leader,' 'Christian mentor,' whatever you want to call it. Call it. That 'safe' life was rocked that winter when YFC cut his hours to part-time and we had to look elsewhere...Elkhart County Sheriff's Department. Yeah, I married that 'law enforcement officer' we left our church for 7 years before.

We had no idea what was in store for us when he took that job, but God is revealing that to us on a daily basis. The people we have met, the opportunities we have had, and the opportunities that are to come are thrilling. To make a long story short, God has closed and opened so many doors. One of the things that has been heavy on my heart lately is this crazy world we're living in! I'm scared to death to think of raising kids in this world, how much worse it will get, the list goes on. Depressing when you think about it. BUT GOD.

Tuesday night, some friends from the department asked us to go to a meeting to talk with some people who are making a movie about law enforcement officers, their families, and the importance of Christ. Sweet! We know we're not alone now! :) If I got nothing else out of that meeting, I realized that the world is changing, my husband, and our family are going to go through some rough issues in the years to come, but let them surround us. Give us a chance to stand for our Lord, lead others to the Lord, protect the innocent...let us start at home. Let us show up. By we, I mean, give him the integrity to stand, the safety we pray for, and the heart to see where help is needed. By me, give me the strength to support him, encourage him, and be confident He's got us right where He wants us. Give us the confidence that He will show up if we're willing to show up and bring others with us.