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!