Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Missionary's Farewell.

There seems to be a revolving door on the church's missions house. In actuality, it must be a revolving door on the duplex for both sides have experienced constant movement. For a long time the Wilhite family lived on the one side the Kuenzis on the other side. In October 2001 the Wilhites packed up their 9 (at that time - now it's 11) children and made the move to South Africa as missionaries. In 2002 the assistant pastor and his new wife moved into the side vacated by the Wilhites, but in 2003 the Kuenzis moved to West Virginia. November of 2004 brought the Wilhites home on a year furlough and they moved into the "Kuenzi" side. Before we knew it, November of 2005 came and the Wilhites went back to South Africa to begin their second term. Changes were coming again as the Heinz family made their way from Chile at the end of November 2005. They moved into the side that the Wilhites had moved out of a month before. Now on Monday we are getting ready to say a farewell to the Heinz family as the start back to Chile on a long flight for their second term. The missions house will not stay empty for long though; the Castner family will soon occupy the missions house for 4-5 months. The Hammett family will also be coming home for a 6-week visit with their families for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then in January our assistant pastor and family take off on a several-month trip to Finland.

It seems here of late we are always saying farewell to somebody or another but that's the way it is with missionaries. I only hope "I'll pray for you" will not be said tritely on Monday morning when we say good-bye to the Heinzes, for prayer truly is the best thing for us to give to missionaries.

"From Greenland’s icy mountains, from India’s coral strand;Where Afric’s sunny fountains roll down their golden sand:From many an ancient river, from many a palmy plain,They call us to deliver their land from error’s chain."

"What though the spicy breezes blow soft o’er Ceylon’s isle;Though every prospect pleases, and only man is vile?In vain with lavish kindness the gifts of God are strown; The heathen in his blindness bows down to wood and stone."
"Shall we, whose souls are lighted with wisdom from on high,Shall we to those benighted the lamp of life deny?Salvation! O salvation! The joyful sound proclaim,Till earth’s remotest nation has learned Messiah’s Name."

"Waft, waft, ye winds, His story, and you, ye waters, roll Till, like a sea of glory, it spreads from pole to pole: Till o’er our ransomed nature the Lamb for sinners slain,Redeemer, King, Creator, in bliss returns to reign."

From Greenland's Icy Mountains

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm Convinced...

The other day the little girl who we call around the church office our "secretary-in-training" :o) was in the office while her mommy directed the handbell choir and her daddy (an assistant to the pastor) continued working on the second-floor offices, a project which seemed to have no end, but is finally almost done! So this little 1 1/2 year comes to us (the main secretary and I) where it is our privilege to babysit for 45 minutes every Wednesday.

Since the place where we buy our copy paper was having a huge, once-a-year sale where they offer everything from free food to t-shirts (and oh yeah, they also have paper on sale too:D), the main secretary took two of the guys with her to "help" get the paper. In reality, they only went along for the free food since the guys at Expedx loaded the paper in the van :o). So when this darling girl's daddy brought her into the office after lunch, I landed the official "baby-sitting" duty.

Now GJ is just starting to talk and sometimes it doesn't sound right what she's saying, and that's no exception to the "frog", a keychain that holds some keys on it and hangs in the cupboard. GJ is absolutely fascinated with it and will stand under the cupboard and point up while she says, well, something other than "frog"!

Usually after the frog, GJ will move on to her next favorite item: a box of rubber bands that are conveniently (for her anyway!) kept on a bottom shelf. She loves to take them out, handfuls at a time, and make a mess on the floor! But she occupies herself for minutes on end with the rubberbands, all the while talking to herself too!

Well this time GJ picked up the box and walked to a corner of the office and sat down by a stack of boxes. I didn't pay too much attention to her since the door to the office was closed and I could see her in my peripheral vision, so I sat at my computer and continued working. Every once in a while I would glance over and see her pick up a few rubberbands and say "ooooh!". About the fourth time I looked over, I noticed the pile in the box was diminishing but I didn't see any on the floor. I was curious, especially since GJ was quiet other than the "oooohs!". Here she had figured out that the handle on the box could be pushed in and that rubber bands could be shoved into the box through the handle! It made sense why she was so excited but also why I didn't see any rubber bands on the floor :).

GJ's third favorite thing to do is take the dozens (ok, slight exaggeration:D) of butterfly magnets the main secretary has all over the filing cabinets and move them all around. Usually this results in butterflies upside down or on the floor or on the bottom drawer of the filing cabinet. But again, she is so entertained by these and will walk around the room babbling to herself and making us laugh too:D.

The thing I'm convinced about is that children do not need buckets and bins and rooms full of toys. Amy (the butterfly collector!) used to say when we first started watching GJ, "I need to bring in some toys for her" but now we know GJ doesn't need toys. Apparently frog keychains, rubber bands and magnets are enough :o).

Saturday, October 21, 2006

It's The Little Things.

I am blessed. Often that word is used when something good or exciting happens to/for us or those we know. For example, this week I heard two*big* blessings: a friend finding a future spouse and a little life that is on the way. Those are very exciting, but I also like to see the blessings in unexpected cases.

For me, I experienced some blessings that shouted God's faithfulness and love of the little details. Let me explain..

Thursday night I drove down to Philly and parked my car on the right side of the street. Friday morning I planned to run an errand but I never got around to it. Normally when I leave on an errand and then return, I'll park my car on the left side of the street instead of the right for the simple reason that it is right outside my sister's apartment. Since I didn't go anywhere in the morning, my car stayed on the right side.

Little did I know how important that would be!

It was round 1:45 when I put my nephew down to take a nap. I sat down on the sofa and as I did, I heard the wind rushing through the tree leaves outside. Thinking nothing of the loud "wham", I continued doing what I was doing. But then I wondered what that noise was.

I looked out the window and noticed a tree limb resting on a truck parked out front. I went outside and was horrified by what I saw. Here the wind had blown a tree over by its roots, and what I thought was a tree limb was actually the entire tree resting on the truck. The entire driver's side was smashed in, the windshield was crushed, and the hood was bent at an odd angle. The rest of the truck was *fine*, but that didn't matter because the damage was complete. The brand-new truck (the guy had just bought it recently) was totaled and useless.

I was stunned and shocked over the damage. And then the thought hit me: *I* usually park my car in that spot on a typical Friday!!!!! I looked across the street to where my car was parked and noticed that the tree (which fell from the right side of the road) missed my car by about 5 feet.


My car was protected by the same God that gave the car to me in the first place.

After I went back inside, I thought about what would've happened if that would've been my car. And then the second thought hit me: I just realized Thursday that my car insurance wasn't renewed automatically like I thought it was supposed to be. My car insurance works on a 6-month cycle, and since this is the first time I would have to renew it, I didn't know what *normally* happens at the end of 6 months. God is good!

Then as I was driving home last night on dark, country roads, my heart stopped when I saw what I thought was a dear... it turned out to be somebody's mailbox :o). So I continued through the woods on winding, curvy roads while I softly sang to myself. I had just gone around a curve and hit a straight part of the road when the words "I'll have a new life" stopped on my lips as I slammed on my brakes. Right in front of me were two dear, calmly standing in the middle of the road as if they owned it and looking straight at me. My dad has told me that dear usually travel in groups of three so I was searching the fields on both sides of the road for the third dear. The two dear walked away and I nervously approached the part of the road that they had occupied moments before, but I never did see the third dear. God is good!

Then today the teenagers went to a corn maze nearby, so I was asked to help put together the lunch for the teens. We just made hoagies and apple crisp, but it was so much fun because it reminded me of working in the kitchen at Winter Camp and getting up at 6:30 to feed 85 people! The nice thing about working in the camp kitchen is hearing the kids tell stories about other camps they've been to where the food was disgusting, but then hear them say, "But this food is the best!!!" We (the kitchen crew) truly believe if the food isn't good, then that's all the kids will think about instead of the preaching. So we make it our personal goals to give the kids the best food possible.

So anyway, we had fun in the kitchen putting everything together. I love working with Mrs. Lytle, who is the main cook. She's so much fun and so organized!!!!!! After the teens were all gone and the kitchen was returned to it's sparkling condition (well, this was the church kitchen where sometimes we have unexpected visitors, the four-legged kind, so maybe we left it better then it sometimes is;)) we girls (four of us) stood around talking for an hour. Poor Mrs. Lytle only has two boys :D, so she often counts on these *cooking times* to get in her girl talk :o). It wasn't much, but it sure was nice to just chat with others and share funny stories! God is good!

Blessings can sometimes be big and sometimes be small, but the most important thing is no matter the size of them that I reflect the thanks back to the Giver...

~"Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow"~

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


This past Saturday was my dad's 64th birthday, but he sure doesn't look it!!!!! His whole side of the family is extremely young-looking, so it's no surprise to me when people come up to me and guess my age to be around 16 or 17:o). I visited my Grandmother tonight (Dad's Mom) and noticed again that this lady does not look like she's going to be 87 in December! So I know which side of the family to thank for the genes and to put up with the comments now... for if I ever live to 40, I'm going to enjoy being told I look like I'm 28!!!

~My sister Sherri, Dad, and my brother Jack in November 2004~

But anyway, Dad's birthday was this past weekend so we had a family dinner on Sunday with my brothers and some friends. Now if you know me in day to day life, you'll know a couple of things: 1 ~ Dad claims to be a Christian, but it is seriously doubtful. 2 ~ God has taught me so much about being thankful for the situation he has placed me in. 3 ~ His grace is sufficient for all things.

I have wondered in the past why my dad couldn't be like _________'s dad or __________'s dad. I have also wondered if girls who grow up being "Daddy's girl" realize how absolutely wonderful it is to be loved completely and have that love expressed in a million different ways. I have bemoaned the fact that while others were encouraged to follow God's Will no matter what, I had to fight to explain why I made the choice to go to Bible Institute rather than the prestigious, nationally known college(s) that are nearby. Please do not misunderstand me for one minute and think that I've had a terrible life and that I was thrown in front of 18-wheelers:o). Now that I'm older, I have come to appreciate the Dad I have and I am so very thankful that my dear, sweet Mother is a faithful Christian who devotedly loves her God, and has also placed herself under her unsaved husband. (1 Peter 3:1 ~ "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.")

The topic came up today twice about having various gifts. In the first case, one girl was talking about how she wished she was a natural athlete like the captain of the volleyball team. But I told her, "you might not be a natural athlete, but you are a natural musician. And ______ is a natural athlete, but she is not a gifted piano player." So after telling this girl as gently as possible (you know me! I'm very blunt!) that she was having a royal pity party, I turned back to my work. Then tonight at visitation, the speaker mentioned how each and every one of us Christians are expendable in the work; God doesn't need us and yet He has gifted us with certain abilities to use for His glory.

So as I thought about my Dad, I realized I had a "gift" that most girls are not given. So the question to ask is this: why did God give me my Dad and the situations that came along? Was it so I could have one pity party after another? Was it so I would get puffed up with pride when I thought *I* had conquered that rebellious nature that flares up and bucks what Dad says? Was it so others would pat me on the back and say, "I don't know how you do it"? Was it so I would look longingly at the *greener grass on the other side*?

I daresay that at one time or another, those thoughts and actions have been played out in my life many times. But God's Word is so gentle, yet precise. It's a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart and is sharper than any two-edged sword! (Hebrews 4:12 ~ " For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."). God meant only for good what I saw as destroying my life.

I've been blessed to have a God in Heaven care so much about me that He wants to see me come through the fire, refined seven times and purified as gold. I would not ever get refined if I was placed far away from the fire. And although there were times that I thought the fire had gotten too hot, God had the temperature under control the whole time. He kept the heat on long enough to burn away the dross and impurities.

As far as I can tell today, my dad is still unsaved. But my walk with God is stronger as a result of my Dad. When I have been driven to the quietness of my room in tears, God's Word has been a tender, healing balm. When I have reacted in anger and spoken harsh words, God's Word and His Spirit have brought conviction to my heart that has often, but not often enough, caused me to go seeking forgiveness. And when my dad has praised me for something good I've done, I have walked away rejoicing that God has answered my girlish prayer to be a "Daddy's girl" ~ even if it is just for a moment.

I am still learning to be conformed to His Image... and my Dad is being used by God for that very purpose! As I finish this post, I have one favor to ask of you: please pray for my Dad, that he would be saved. If God brings him to mind in the future, pray for his salvation. All the hurts and pain of my past will be nothing compared to my Dad not getting saved.

Hurts are but for a moment; eternity in Hell is forever.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Baby Steps.

My sister called me yesterday with detailed instructions for my babysitting stint today. One of the things I was supposed to do was get Andrew in a nice little outfit, shoes and all, for his Grandma's birthday (my b-i-l's mom) today. So this morning, at 6:30 (by the way, this kid's an alarm clock!), I dressed Andrew in his outfit for the day and decided to stick his shoes on. As he lay on the table, he looked trustingly up at me as I fiddled with the tiny shoe.

I bet if he knew what I was doing, he would not have been so quiet!

Less than a minute after I put the shoes on (which were absolutely darling with the outfit), Andrew decided he didn't want them on. So he pulled them off and I gave in, since this was the first time in his 11-month life that I had ever seen shoes for him.

Later in the morning, I had to put them back on since we were going to go outside. I knew how easily he kicks his socks off, so I thought to keep his feet warm and his socks on by putting back on the shoes. This time I succeeded and I double-knotted them so he couldn't pull them off again! To quote Anne of Green Gables, "That's the one good thing about me; I never make the same mistake twice!"

Andrew is starting to walk with help, so I stood him on the floor while I held his hands. We stood in the hallway for about 10 seconds as I waited for him to begin walking. But the shoes posed an obstacle for him and he was unsure of what to do. Finally he lifted his left foot up (with the heavy shoe too!) and moved it forward just a tiny bit. But it was a step! Eventually his right foot was brought forward too, and he took a grand total of 3 steps in those awkward shoes before he stopped.

As I watched my nephew try to walk, I couldn't help but think about the fact that my Christian walk is very similar to what he was doing. I can be zipping along, comfortable in what I'm doing when an obstacle is placed before me, just like Andrew was used to walking in his socks and now was confronted with a new scenario of shoes.

But I need to make sure that I'm doing something... that I'm taking those *baby steps*. I think about what Paul wrote about running the race, and how it's more important to run the race than it is the be the first one done with the race.

Last night at an English Bible study for Chinese, one girl told me she had never heard the story of Cain and Abel before. At first I felt rather ashamed for taking the Bible for granted, but then as I thought about it today, I realized I have an opportunity to share, in baby steps, all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful stories of the Bible that point to one story: HIS STORY (history)!

My steps may falter and I might even stumble at times, but I know that baby steps are better than no steps at all!

"Direction, Not Perfection"

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What A Great Idea!

I must admit I laughed out loud when I read this, but after the laughter died down at someone memorizing their Latin verbs in this way, I thought she was really onto something. Are you curious yet? Go on over and check it out:o)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Just One Of Those Days!

Today was such a happy day, and it wasn't like there was anything spectacular about it :o). Here's a run down on some of the little happenings in my small world today...

  • I think, I think, one of my student's now knows the difference between a direct object and an indirect object. After spending 30 minutes with her this morning, it was such a joy to see it finally *click* for her:). I love those "a ha!"/lightbulb moments:D.
  • I noticed a ton of PACEs, goal cards, and tests that needed to be filed so I began working on the mountain, hoping to finish it before the students returned to class. I filed the last test just as the kids returned. Hooray! What timing :o).
  • Everyone passed their different tests today... the lowest grade was a 94%! That's always an encouragement to a teacher ;).
  • I enjoyed watching a vigorous game of four-square and hearing the happy laughter of teenagers during the lunch break... fun!
  • I was able to fill up my Toyota with gas for $16.25 ~ under $20.00! I was one happy girl...
  • Tiffany brought Dillon to the volleyball field during gym class and I got to get some good "Auntie" time in :o).
  • Gym class was fun and it was very satisfying to see the girls developing their skills.
  • Only 7 girls went to the varsity game today, so we carpooled down to Oley. What a nice time to chat with Tiffany... I was so busy playing catch up with her that I forgot we had some players in the van with us :o).
  • The girls played well today, despite the fact that we were missing 4 players ~ two went away to Oklahoma to a family camp and two had their wisdom teeth out on Friday, so we didn't want to risk a hit in the face (especially considering the one girl seems to be a magnet for a volleyball to slam off her face... no thank you! I don't want her to go through any more pain:D).
  • Tiffany and I shared different *driving* stories and laughed and laughed at our silly mistakes, and then told the two teenagers riding with us that we hoped we didn't scare them with our stories ;).
  • On the way home, we stopped at a dairy place for some homemade ice cream.... yum, yum!
  • This evening on visitation, as we went door to door, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few people that were Christians. Also at another door, once we told the lady we had been leaving some tracts on her door for the past few weeks, she replied with "Oh, so you're the ones." Bracing ourselves for a verbal barrage, we were shocked to hear her say that she took the tracts and passed them out to other people! Wow!!! That sure beats getting turned down again;).
  • I found out today that November 11th through the 19th just might find me in the small, northwestern town of Chesterton, Indiana :o) ... I am so excited at the possibility of seeing my "mid-west" family again! I only have two small obstacles to overcome (and I'm hoping Rachel will help me out with the one:D).

Maybe I should have warned you that my thoughts were zing-zing-zinging around everywhere tonight, but it truly was an enjoyable day! When the kids all have their homework done, sweet attitudes prevail, and people were challenged about their soul, then it is a blessed day indeed!

Monday, October 9, 2006

Things To Remember.

This evening I was plodding along in my *last* (yay!!!!!) Bible Institute class and as I listened to my Pastor talk about Personal Evangelism, he began to give a list of "Things to Remember" regarding witnessing. I was so blessed that I had to share it with you!!!

Things To Remember:

~ You are going as the Lord directed.

~ Remember: "What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee." (Psalm 56:3)

~ Remember you are not going alone.

~ You are doing the greatest thing one person could do for another. Think about it! If you had the cure for cancer, would you not spread that around to help as many as possible?

~ You will never witness to anyone God does not love.

~ You will never witness to anyone who does not need God's offer.

~ You will never witness to anyone God has not dealt with already (remember Romans 1:20!!!)

~ You can't fail IF you are faithful.

~ Leave the results with God.

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase."
~ 1 Corinthians 3:6-7

Saturday, October 7, 2006

My Kind Of Day...

Aren't the autumn colors so pretty?!? I noticed the trees planted close to a nearby store are dropping their leaves and changing color. It was so pretty to see! I had such an enjoyable day today ~ having no responsibilities or schedules to be mindful of. Instead, I got to browse through the local Goodwill store and walk away with a few bargains. One bargain was a game called Rummikub which I got for $1.97. I've played it at the Spang's house lots of times and even at Winter Camp once. It's a lot of fun and for less than 2 bucks:)

Then I found a skirt for $4.00 that is very similar in style to Hannah Lise,
the same style that the girls in school are wearing as part of the standardized dress code. This is a real blessing to me, for I couldn't afford the skirts at $25.00 a piece, but I did want another khaki/taupe skirt to use for school. Now to find a similar black skirt...:)

My third bargain of the day was finding a nice shirt for my mom and it also happened to be a Christopher & Banks
which is always a nice perk:D She seemed to like it, so hopefully it'll work for her. That's the one problem shopping for the person when they're not there; you don't always know about size and style. But I have a pretty good track record for picking up shirts for Mom so I'm not too concerned;).

My fourth bargain goes to show the Lord has a sense of humor! Just this morning, I switched out all of my spring/summer clothing and replaced it with fall/winter clothes. I happened to glance at a long-sleeved shirt and with a sigh put it in the bag to give away because the shirt never really fit me to begin with, but I just liked it, so I kept it around anyway. I only wore it around the house because it was too *frumpy* for anywhere else. So as I meandered up and down the aisles of the Goodwill, I happened upon the long-sleeve shirt rack and saw the exact same shirt I had at home! The only difference was it was a size smaller and it fit me perfectly:D. I silently smiled to myself, and realized God is always blessing me even when I don't deserve it. What are the *odds* that I would see that shirt today, of all days? It just goes to show that my hands need to be empty in order for Him to fill them.

The rest of the afternoon was spent at an unhurried pace, which if you know me, is rare! I even got to enjoy a movie I got out of the library. I've owned "Part 2" for some time, but never realized it was "Part 2". But after watching "Part 1" today, a lot of "Part 2" makes sense now:o). (I can already hear Tiffany say, "excuse my blonde friend.... she's a little slow!").

With a new strand of white lights intermingled with ivy on my bookcase, and a carmel apple candle burning while "Walking Through The Flames" softly fills the air, I am completely satisfied with my day and am ready for Sunday. Pastor's doing a series on "Eternal Security" and I'm sure "Part 2" will be a blessing... especially since I've already heard "Part 1";).

Happy Sunday!

All I Ever Want To Be.

I drove down to Philly Thursday night and woke up Friday morning at 6:30 to incessant crying from my nephew... apparently someone was ready to start his day! As I gave Andrew his medicine and fixed his breakfast, I hummed along with the music I had playing in the background and blissfully noted that I was still hanging out in my pjs; and at 7:45 too! On a normal day, I'm usually drying my hair and making a mad dash towards the kitchen to have a quick breakfast at that time. But this morning I experienced the more relaxed side of a Friday morning.

After spending the day watching my nephew, I have reconfirmed the thought in my mind: someday I would like to gladly turn in my last timesheet at work and be a stay-at-home-wife-and-mother. Now I know that being at home is more work than going to work, and it takes a lot of hard work to run a home smoothly and be a sahw! I have many examples in my church of ladies who stay at home and who know they are fulfilling the role God has placed them in.

I absolutely love listening to my nursery team talk about their daily lives and even our last time in the nursery we had a conversation about how my life is now compared to those ladies and how their lives were at my age. One of the girls was talking about how she was married by the time she was 20 and how she is sure I would like to be married too, but in the meantime I am enjoying my single years. And I am enjoying these years. Right around the time I graduated from high school, a lot of girls in my church were getting married at 19, 20, and 21. I've blown past those years;o) and that's ok. I think about Anne of Green Gables and how 25 was considered to be an "old-maid" age in that period of time. I would rather be "old-maid" and single, than "married" and in a marriage that is not God-honoring.

I told the girls on my nursery team that I'm in the "sit-still-my-daughter" stage, found in the book of Ruth (3:18). It's not up to me to pursue every Ezekiel, Jacob, and Paul (or any other guy for that matter;o)... and just for the record, I don't know any guy by those names:D). I've dated once in my life, (well actually twice, if you count the guy and I being so shy that we never talked to each other, but through a third party; I was in 6th grade then)...anyway when I was 15 and newly saved I dated for a couple of months, and when it ended, I told myself I would never do anything like that again. Sometimes my family questions my decision to wait for God to bring the right one along, and sometimes I even wonder if I'm sane!:) But my God is faithful and His way is perfect.

Have I ever wondered? Yes. Do I get discouraged? At times, yes. And to be honest, the innocent questions that come from well-meaning people does tend to get frustrating. But I stand on this: if a man is to lead his family and has been given the responsibility by God, why would I ever want to pursue after a man in the hopes of catching him? If I'm not to lead in the family, why lead in a courtship? But sometimes this can be hard to convey to a generation that grew up with dating and girls pursuing boys.

I am thankful to God for all the different opportunities He has given to me now. Life does not begin at marriage; rather, it is something to be experiencing now! Babysitting my cute, adorable nephew every Friday is just one of the many purks!

All I ever want to be,
Is what you want of me, Lord.
I give myself to You.

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

Tradition With A Twist.

I am a big fan of traditions and one tradition for me is to go the fair every late September/early October. With the exception of one or two years, I have gone every year for the last 15-18 years and I absolutely love to go! I have fond memories of getting out of school early:D and being packed up with everyone else in the station wagon and going away. My favorite part of the fair was going to see the animals and looking for the baby piglets, goats, and chicks. We would spend a lot of time walking through all the barns and gazing at the animals. I really enjoyed looking at the horses and intently reading all the little "did-you-know?" posters and placards around the stalls. Ahhh yes! The memories:)

Fair time rolled around again on Saturday and with it came some new (and unexpected) memories! First of all, it was five girls in the car where the conversation ranged from trying to figure out whether it was a volunteer fireman or a biker who had passed away and whose funeral seemed to be what woke this one sleepy little town up to memories being shared about the time we almost got hit by a car when we came off of I-80 coming back from the fair two years ago. Secondly, we girls were happily chatting while I drove on I-80 when I noticed the red lights that started to shine in front of me and I vaguely remembered my mom's passing comment on Thursday night: "Just be careful on I-80 as the two lanes drop down to a single lane for a while." I'll be honest: I *heard* what she said, but I didn't *really hear*. Because if I would have *really heard* her, I would have realized that weekend traffic on a major interstate is a tad bit different from the slow-poke drive on a weekday (and in my parent's case, it was on Wednesday that they went to the fair) and I would have found an alternate route to take.

Mental note for next time.

Make that a written note for next time;). I don't trust my memory!

So for the next 1 1/2 hours, the girls and I made our way over approximately 3, maaaaybe 4 miles. Let me tell ya, we got to study the highway paving job real well! Have you ever noticed how the highway is made up of a bunch of different colors? No? You've never noticed? Well I'll fill you in since I had all the time in the world to sit in my parked car on the highway and look at the beautiful artwork under my tires. It truly looked like a mosaic masterpiece and I was almost sorry that highway travelers never have a chance to explore the wonders and beauty of free art right under their, uh, feet. Almost, but not really!

I tend to get practical in a situation like this and think to myself, "well, the only way around this is through this" and that's exactly what I thought Saturday. It did help that there were four other girls in the car, plus I'm a people-watcher (remember?) so I'm sure I would have endured and perhaps even enjoyed the wait. As it happened, there were four other girls in the car and, I might add, one of them had to go to the bathroom really bad! So to pass the time, we played a game. It was pretty fun to try to find all the letters of the alphabet on the cars ahead of us... the car directly in front of us had the letters like "q", "u", "w", "x", "y", and "z" so let's just say the game probably lasted all of 3.5 minutes:).

Jen was in the middle of telling a story when I exclaimed, "Girls! We're about to go over 15 mph!!!" but my excitement was short-lived as we soon dropped down to zero. So then Rachel suggested singing a song with different noises. "Victory In Jesus" sounded neat with the alto and soprano voices blending together with "do-do-do... da-da-da-da":D. It was even better when we actually sang the words;).

When we had left the church parking lot in the morning, I would say the weather was nice. By the time we left the art museum (read: highway), it was overcast and starting to sprinkle a tiny bit. But by the time we got to the fair, all seemed well, so I left my jacket and umbrella in the car.

I regretted that decision later.

All of us girls had sweaters/jackets over our shirts, but it was still pretty chilly. Poor Jen only had on backless sneakers and no socks and was absolutely freezing. Finally we all agreed to duck into the warm buildings to warm up... and to, umm, see what was in them too;) After we did the buildings, we walked around a little shivering outside and telling each other we were all going to have colds in the morning. It was on this thought that we left the fair and said good-byes at church two hours later.

My mom and I have been watching one episode of "Road To Avonlea" each evening (thanks Becky!) and Saturday evening was no different. I snuggled in my warm pjs and hunkered down under a cozy afghan, all the while feeling a little *tickle* in my throat. Comforted by the fact that I was not going to suffer a cold alone but have four other sympathizers, I finished the episode and crawled into bed. Sure enough, Sunday morning found me with a cold. As I went around and said good morning to the other girls, I said to each of them: "you have a cold too, don't you." It was a statement, for I was sure I knew it as fact.

But nooo. Each of the girls looked at me and each of the girls said, "Oh no... I feel fine!"


That's just the way it is...:). I don't think I'm going to make this a part of my going-to-the-fair tradition. I really can do without the cold next time... and the traffic pile up. But hey, what's a little variety for the day, right? After all, it could have been worse... we could've been stuck in traffic for 3 hours:D. Sometimes, that's just the way it is!!!

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Bein' An Auntie...

I have a sister who lives in Florida, a brother who lives in Indiana, another sister who lives in Philadelphia, and two brothers and a sister who live within 10 minutes of my house. "Of course" the ones who live in Florida, Indiana, and Philly all have children and "of course" those who live within 10 minutes of me do not. (Well, there's supposed to be an arrival come March that will live only 5 minutes away!)

But I absolutely looooove being an auntie! To hold a newborn baby and be awed by the fact that a sibling just tripled their responsibilities is amazing! To remember that sibling was the same one who fought with me as a child, bossed me around, made me play "school", "church", and "house" where I was *always* the baby, borrowed my clothing (yes, even my oldest sister couldn't resist taking my nice white shirt:D), and now suddenly has a baby of their own is mind boggling.

I remember the birth of my niece. I was all of 9 years old, and I remember going to the hospital and seeing my sister-in-law in the room holding this baby girl. My first nephew was only hours old when I got to hold him at the grand age of 13. The next baby was when my sister-in-law had a c-section while I was at Bible Institute, and after class I drove over to the hospital to meet my new nephew. Another time I flew into Florida on a Tuesday night and hours later my nephew was born. My most recent nephew I first saw on Thanksgiving of '05. I also have one nephew that was not born into our family, but is loved just as much as the rest of them.

It was a way of life for me to offer to babysit my nephews and niece and spend lots of time with them... that is, until they moved back in August. It's been the strangest feeling not to run over to their house, not to see them in church, not to have them stop by for Sunday dinner. It's been very different to have no toys strewn around our kitchen, computer room, and foyer. I miss playing volleyball with my niece or throwing a football with my nephew. Of course my nephew in Florida I only see a couple of times a year and really take advantage of getting in those snuggle moments when I can:o).

But starting this Friday, I get to babysit my 10 month old nephew every week! Sure, I have to drive an hour, but it's totally worth it! (All aunties should be agreeing at this point!) And, there's a new baby coming to town in '07 (we all are hoping for a girl!)


We just found out that another new one will be joining our Florida family come April!!!!

How exciting! I have a feeling I'll be making a trip to Florida to welcome nephew/niece #8! But that's ok, because I loooove being an auntie!