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Thursday, October 28, 2010

My latest crochet project

The lady is a crochet extraordinaire. Seriously, she crochets like most people knit. Her work is so very fabulous and I'm thrilled that she shared the cutest crocheted garden party hat pattern with her readers.
Take a look HERE.

Uh huh, didn't I tell you?

I'm kind of loving her pineapple scarf for my girls too.
Check it out HERE.

Any crocheters in the house?

Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Patch

Cool alert!
My parents came to town for a visit last week and we took them to the coolest pumpkin patch EVER. Seriously, if I could hand out a cool award (as if my vote meant a dang thing) why, I'd walk right past Beth Moore (who is truly soooo cool) and I would crown the owners of the Proverbial Pumpkin Patch as the coolest. Heck, I'd give 'em sashes too. And that's BIG folks, because really, who passes up Beth Moore? ;)

So why the award for the pumpkin patch people?
Check this out.
They place laminated leaf-shaped tags on every. single. pumpkin.
In the entire patch.

And do you know what was on those leaf tags?
A verse from the book of Proverbs.
On every single last pumpkin.
Of course, they get bonus points in my book for being a homeschooling family who is teaching their children all about running a family business as well. In addition to the pumpkins, they're selling homemade potpourri and baked goods too, taking pie orders for Thanksgiving.

This was our first time to this patch. It was a good 20 miles from us, but sooo worth the drive since I absolutely love being in the country and they were definitely out in the middle of nowhere (or so it seemed).

We had seen their sign from the main road, "U-pick, 5 miles south." Okay, 5 miles is a bit of a hike off the main road, but it was a beautiful, balmy fall day filled with lots of sunshine so we thought, "Why not?"

The first time we got lost was when the more traveled country road made a 90ยบ turn to the left and we either had to stay on it or take the less traveled gravel road that continued straight. We decided to knock on a door and ask.
"Naw, I don't think the family down that stone road planted this year, so you'll want to head that'a way. Patch is 3 miles on up."

Now, my parents were following us in their car, which just so happens to have a good paint job (deduce what you will about my van's paint job based on that comment). And after 3 miles had long come and gone, there was still no sign of a pumpkin patch. We again stopped and asked a man on his riding lawn mower (stop #2).
"Aw, yeah. Just cross over the ce-ment ("SEE-ment") bridge, then second stone road on your right."
Okay, will do.
My parents followed behind us, good paint job now on the stone road.
Swell.

That road twisted and turned and switchbacked us all over the place, then ran along a good couple hundred acres of corn. Still, NO pumpkins.
Through the rearview mirror, we saw my dad stop and ask a farmer in a combine if he knew where the "U-pick" pumpkin patch was.
His reply?
"Uh,....nope." (stop #3)

Alrighty then.

On we drove, until I saw a farmer talking with a neighbor. We had all but given up, but I figured we'd been driving around in circles for the better part of an hour, so what could it hurt? One more inquiry (stop#4).
"Sir, can I ask you...."
"Ma'm, are you a pie maker?"
"Whaa? A pie...me,..make,...no. Noooo, I'm not a piemaker...Why???"
"Well see, now that's a pity because I got more squash out back than I could possibly eat. I mean, I eat squash and we love it too. Squash pie, roasted squash, squash soup, and........you don't make pies? Too bad. I was gonna give you some of that squash."
"Well now, wait a minute. My mom makes pies and she's right behind me. And,...we do eat lots of veggies and I could make other things with squash."

Weeell, he gave my mom and I at least 10 butternut squash each, in addition to the biggest squash I've ever seen, the cushaw squash. Oh my! It's a good 2 feet in length and as round as a socker ball in circumference.


Told us he planted 3 plants last year and got just 4 squash off them, then planted 4 plants this year and got 77. Ha!
We promptly thanked him for our bounty gift and were on our way again, with yet another set of directions.
"Cross over two ce-ment ("SEE-ment") bridges, then take the second stone road to your left."

Sheesh, those country folk were fond of their ce-ment bridges and stone roads.

Well, gourd-man was a dang genius, I tell you, because there it was. After many miles on gravel and a good four stops for instructions (not to mention trunks full-o-squash), we finally found the Proverbial Pumpkin Patch.

Our kids carved their pumpkins this evening as we told them how being a Christian is a bit like carving a pumpkin.

"God picks you from the patch,
brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.
Then he cuts off the top and scoops out all the "yucky stuff", sin.
He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.,
and then He carves you a new smiling face
and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see."


Matthew 5:15
"You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden."

Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Monday, October 25, 2010

LONELINESS


All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
(Ah, look at all the lonely people)
All the lonely people, where do they all belong?
(Ah, look at all the lonely people)
~The Beatles

Have you ever been in a social setting where many people surrounded you, where you had some logical connection to them and yet you felt alone?

I know I have.

Loneliness is complicated. While an easy definition might include isolation, without companionship, etc., the fact is loneliness is probably easier to describe than to define. In addition to broken or absent relationships, I would certainly describe loneliness as a feeling of being alone, rejected, or alienated in situations where relationships are possible. And that perhaps is the worst kind of loneliness of all.

One of my daughters has a very tender heart for the elderly. I have to wonder if, on some level, she connects with them and understands them in that unique way that is hers. And I know that God could use that to His glory and for her good as well. Recently, this dear child of mine felt very much alone in a social setting. Logically speaking, she should not have felt lonely at all, as she was surrounded by familiar faces. Yet, there she was, struggling with feeling left out, alone.

As her mother, I hurt for her. Recognizing that she was overlooked, I asked her at one point if she would like her brother to join her to keep her company. I couldn't just let her be alone in a crowd, kwim? When she welcomed his company, it confirmed to me the difficult and confusing feeling she was wrestling with (loneliness) but it also revealed the love that my children have for one another. He was willing to be companion and comfort to her, and she was willing to receive him as such. A truly beautiful thing to witness between my children.

Sadly though, I couldn't help her understand why she was excluded (I should note here that many innocent dynamics were involved, including my daughter's own God-given bent, so this is not a judgement of others but rather an acknowledgement of my young daughter's struggle with something we all face in life at some point). I couldn't make it all right for her either, no matter how much my "Mama's heart" wanted to rush in and fix it. I only know that she was hurting, and therefore it deeply hurt me.

I realize my daughter is wired uniquely, which impacts the way she relates to others socially. Yet within her unique wiring, she's intensely creative, passionate about her interests, able to laugh at herself like no one else I know (love that about her), and best of all, she's fiercely loyal. She's a really great person who has already had to face more loss and brutal reality in her life than most kids her age. And while I can't elaborate on that, suffice it to say that as her mother, I know it to be true. And she's a tough cookie because of it.

So, how do I help her? How do you help a child to understand that God clearly sees her worth, knows her intimately, and loves her just as she is?
How do I help her to see that He always holds her and her tender heart clearly in His sight?
How do I make her understand that no one's validation matters more than His? I desire for her to take her worth from God and God alone.
But it's so very hard because she simply does not yet understand the greater picture as I, an older and wiser person, can.
Just as I cannot see that bigger picture of my life as our great God and Father can.
So how do I make her see and understand all these things?
It's not so easy, I can tell you that.
Again, she's just a child.

I'm trying hard to teach her that loneliness can have purpose, that it can serve to draw us closer to God, to really depend on Him to meet our needs.
I want her to know that while she may not be an extrovert at this time, she must try to remain open to the possibility of God placing a new and dear friend in her life at any time, for she has been designed by Him for relationship.
I don't want her to build walls around her heart.
If anything, I want her to learn greater compassion for others who find themselves struggling with loneliness due to death, crisis, age, being orphaned, or social hierarchy.

I pray for my daughter, that she would be able to identify her God-sent friend when the time comes, and to not prejudge who it can or cannot be. I often encourage her to focus on her own strengths as a person, and to be ready to openly share the unique and wonderful person she is with others. But doing this does not come naturally to her. She must be reminded and must work at it.
She is smart, creative, passionate, funny, and so beautiful. She is, in fact, a great human being and I'm blessed to have been chosen (twice over) to be her mother.

Most of all, she is a princess of the King. Now that's worth.

Have you ever struggled with this kind of loneliness, the kind that sets in even though you're in the midst of so many other people?
Did you deal effectively with it? If so, how?

And what steps can we all take to see our way through?
Consider the following:

  • Be in the word.
    Make time for the one who will always be there for you, who has promised to never leave you nor forsake you. Build greater intimacy with Him by regularly seeking Him and resting in His promises. Are you currently experiencing a daily quiet time in the scriptures? If not, why not?

  • Purpose to see your glass as half full, because it truly is.
    The bible says, in 2 Corinthians 4:17-18, "For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
    Have you been able to avoid self-pity? It can be difficult when we feel alone, but thinking on the blessings of God, recalling them, counting them, acknowledging them, and praising Him for them can help us fix our eyes on Him whose glory "far outweighs" our loneliness.

  • Bless another.

  • Instead of sitting back and waiting for your circumstances to change, determine to bless another. Just as my daughter loves the elderly and is glad to bless them by giving them her attention, so too can we bless another. Who better to recognize loneliness than someone who has personally experienced it? And so who better to find a way to bring encouragement to someone who needs it? A handwritten note, a meal delivered, an invitation to coffee or to run an errand. See the need and then commit to meeting it.


And moms, dads, and those who stand in the gap for moms and dads, remember to hug your daughters and sons too.
Validate them with your unconditional love, a living expression of God's gracious and merciful love for them as well.
Pray for them and purpose to point them to Him, always to Him, to find their worth.
Remind them often that their God has promised, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
For in the darkest of places in this world, He was, is, and always will be there beside us.

Psalm 24:18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

The flavors of fall

I absolutely love the sights, scents, and flavors of fall. Give me apple, pumpkin, or cinnamon anything and I'm a very happy camper. So when Food.com sent its regular e-newsletter to me a few days ago, I was delighted to find 10 (ten!) apple recipes.

Yesterday, being our "Sunday", I decided to indulge my sweet husband in some apple fritter/pancakes. I have to say, I was inspired by step 4 of the recipe instructions. I had everything on hand, so it was just a matter of whipping them up. And YUM, I'm so glad I did. They had the moist heaviness of a potato pancake and the most wonderful texture and delightful flavor too.

I used egg whites instead of whole egg, adding 1/2 tsp baking powder. And I opted for light vanilla soy milk instead of cow's milk. Didn't have any whole wheat flour on hand so I just used white. However, next time I think I'll use soy or rice flour instead. Just my personal preference for making them even more healthy.

I topped ours with a few shakes of powdered sugar, which was a wonderful touch. We ate them with warm maple syrup but I was disappointed to remember, after the fact, that we had homemade pumpkin butter we could have slathered over them instead. Oh well, maybe next time. Because based on my husband's reaction (and mine too), there most definitely WILL be a "next time."

Apple Fritter/pancakes

Servings:
4-6 pancakes
Ingredients:
1 red apple, cut, deseeded, and grated
1 eggs or 2 egg whites, lightly beaten
1/2 cup wholemeal flour (for hearty cakes or can use regular flour)
1/4 cup nonfat milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar (I used organic)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cumin (makes cakes warm, but I chose to leave it out)

Directions:
Prep Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 20 mins
1 Mix all ingredients together well.
2 Use a 1/4 cup to scoop up mix and fry in butter, soy butter, oil, non-stick spray, etc., just like you would a pancake.
3 Keep finished cakes warm in oven on low till all mix is used.
4 Top with whatever you want. Eat.
They go down best when you eat them with someone you love.

Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

If the shoe fits...


"Aw, c'mon, Sir. The friendship seat's not that bad."
"Friendship seat? Why would you call the middle seat a friendship seat?"
Becauuuse. You have 3 hours and two strangers on either side of you. By the time you get to your destination, you might just have two new friends."

And so Hubby's day began. If you've seen the reality show AIRLINE, then you've gotten a pretty good glimpse into his work days. Always something. And his hard sell on the "friendship" seat should have been a clue that perhaps it was going to be one of...those days.

As he worked the crazy pace of the ticket counter (less help, more work these days), he couldn't help but notice the bits and pieces of what appeared to be packing material of some sort, scattered here and there, all over the floor behind the counter.



"Cleaning crew's gonna have a good time with that," he facetiously thought.
Weird thing was, it seemed there was more and more of the mysterious packing material on the floor as the morning passed.
Or was he just imagining that.

Later into his shift, a friend and co-worker inquired, "Why are you walking like an old man?" He gave some passive response and continued to shuffle through his day. And here is where I must take you back, so like me, you can choke on your bagel as you laugh and laugh. :D

See, way back in 2004, we were living on 3½ acres in northern Ohio. My husband was working at Hopkins International and life was routine. That is, until the day we got the call that changed our lives. My husband's airline was pulling out of Cleveland. Just like that, we had to put our dream home on the market and prepare to move away from family and our hometown.

My husband first went to Chicago and commuted home to see us on weekends until he could transfer out of there. Finally, he got a position in Indianapolis in the summer of 2005 and we were all reunited here in November 2005. We had spent a total of 14 months apart.

During his time in Chicago, I was soley responsible for packing our belongings, getting our house show-ready for open houses (with a then 5 year old, 3 year old and 2 year old under foot), and eventually making arrangements for our move to Indy. I packed a little at a time, labeling and moving each box to the basement until our move.

We rented an apartment when we arrived in Indy, to give us time to learn the area and find the right place to live. In June 2006, we were finally in our new home. And that's when I unpacked all the boxes that had been sealed up as far back as July of 2004.

All except one.

One box had been overlooked by me when I placed it in a crawl space with holiday decorations, under our stairs. I found that box the other day and began to sort through its contents. Most were trinkets from a curio cabinet back in the old house. But a few personal items were also in there. A few ball hats, purses, and, "Oh, look. Honey, remember these shoes? They're not heavily worn. In fact, they look pretty darn good for being in storage the past 5 or 6 years. Try them on."

He did, and they fit perfectly.
"Wear them tomorrow. For old time's sake. After all, they're classic and in good condition."
"Why not!", Hubby responded.
And wear them he did.

Um,...ut uh!
Not such a good idea after all.
Because as it turns out, wearing shoes that have been in storage for 5 or 6 years, no matter what the appearance, is apparently a bad idea.

A
really
really
really
bad
idea.

Remember that packing material my Hubby saw all over the ticket counter floor?

Uh huh, well.

It was actually the soles of his shoes, literally breaking up and falling off bit by precious little bit. Over the course of his work day, bigger and bigger pieces (let's call them hunks) began to fall off.
Work a little, drop me some sole. Work a little, drop me some sole.

At one point, he was walking from the gate to the counter and he punted something. That's right. His toe actually kicked something into the air.
It turned out to be a large section of the shoe sole near his toe and he actually sent it flying.

I. kid. you. not.
(we interrupt this story to allow for a quick potty break, because if you're laughing as hard as me right now, then I know you have to go.)

All day long, his shoes were falling apart underneath him and he was powerless to stop it. You know, I haven't met an airline customer service agent yet who hasn't given the stapler a smack or two to hold a loose hem in place until needle and thread could ply the fabric. But no stapler was going to fix this mess. No tape either (agents use that for dog hair removal from their uniforms, lol.) No, this one was a disaster of the first magnitude.

So there my poor Hubby was, shuffling along, all day long, just like a little old man to keep what remained of his soles intact.
Don't believe me?
Alrighty then, see for yourself (and notice the big toe section that is gone from the right shoe).



So the moral of the story is, the next time you have a bad day, I would encourage you to think about the day my husband's shoes fell apart. Then stand on your own two feet in confidence and see your glass as half full. Because it truly is. Thee end!
(btw, I most certainly did get my husband's permission to tell this story. His sense of humor is every bit as warped as mine so, after we laughed ourselves silly over it, he agreed that I can tell it "to the world." ;)

Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

myspace layouts, myspace codes, glitter graphics

Monday, October 11, 2010

Just Give Me Jesus.

It's true.
As time marches on, it really does seem to march faster.
At lightning speed, even. Or so it seems (sigh).
And me, being a very, very nostalgic person, I sometimes struggle with the ever increasing passage of days.

Sometimes, I just want to be able to put up my hand and command time to stop.
"Just stop, already, would you?
Stop.
My babies are growing stronger and taller and wiser and older with each passing day. I want you to stop, Time.
Pleeease."

But of course, time doesn't listen. I don't have authority over it the way Jesus did over the waves when He commanded them to stop (and they did).
Like it or not,I must accept that time marches on.
Now, it's easy to accept that fact (with great relief) on the bad days, the days that you just wish would end and are glad when they do.
But on other days, when I'm looking into the beautiful face of one of my children, for example, and I have a sudden rush of love and wanting to hold them close forever, it,...well, it kind of hurts.
(Anyone?)

Where would I be without my faith?

It has carried me through soooo much since I first placed my trust in Jesus.

  • Infertility.

  • My husband's job elimination back home and the resulting 14 month separation our family had to endure (he worked in Chicago and commuted home to Cleveland during that time).

  • A somewhat involuntary move to a new state.

  • Health scares.

  • Foster care, adoption, and adoption loss.

  • Career changes.

  • The death of my mother-in-law.

  • So. Much. More.



Really, where in the world would I be without Him?

There is sweetness in knowing my God has it all worked out. That He is the author of all time, who created me and the Godly husband and precious children He has so richly blessed me with. That He knows my tender heart on this "issue" of mine, of being a nostalgic person who is sensative to the passage of time. That He assures me through His word of His love for me, of the plans He has for me, that I can in fact be still and know that He is God. He is able to order and purpose my days and the hours that lie within them.

As I type this now, I can hear the tick-tick-tick of the wall clock in the school room behind me. I might never conquer my bittersweet dance with time, both its moving forward and my nostalgic reflecting back, but I'm so grateful to have my strong tower, my comfort, my place of rest. My Savior.

I was able to hear Anne Graham Lotz speak when she was in Cleveland back in 2001 or so. And I think she says it well when she exlaims, "Just give me Jesus." If you've never seen the video below, never heard Anne saying those four words that align so perfectly with my heart's desire, "Just give me Jesus", then please, take just a moment now to allow her words to encourage you today. Be blessed!



Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Friday, October 8, 2010

My latest creations

My 11 year old daughter has a much better sense of style than I ever did at her age. Of course, the world has changed considerably since the mid 70s. Back then, we all wore the same pair of shoes to school every day. Very few kids in my neck of the woods had shoe "collections." One decent pair of Hush Puppies, an inexpensive pair of patent leather Sunday shoes, and perhaps a pair of "sneakers" and one was good to go. Today, not so.

We are not indulging our children in materialism, nor do we teach it to them. In fact, we are quite thrifty (remember the free Disney trip I mentioned a few days ago) and are teaching them the value of recycling and thrift shopping as needed to keep a family budget in line. Since we homeschool, my daughter does not feel much pressure at all in the way of fashion. So it appears she just has a natural eye for it. And she definitely has her own sense of style.

One of the things she really enjoys is hats. Currently, she likes to try on slouch hats and loves how they look on her. But she does not own one, so I decided to crochet one for her using THIS pattern. I'm about half done and will post a photo when it is completed.

Oh, and while we're on the subject of thrifty, we gathered some osage oranges and placed them in a metal planter on our front porch. Add an adorable pumpkin chosen by an even more adorable 3 year old son who field-tripped to the pumpkin patch with his preschool class yesterday and, well, I think it looks fall wonderful.




Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

A quick deal or two

As a single income family, we're all for saving money when possible. With that in mind, check out this deal before it expires.

Gander Mountain wrinkle-resistant twill pants, $5 and free shipping (HERE)

Better yet, for those of you who are participating in Women Living Well's MAKING YOUR HOME A HAVEN fall challenge, get on over to your Yankee candle retailer. The small jar candles are on sale, 3/$15 for Columbus Day. Other sales too, like the large 22oz candles for $15 (normally $25). The sale is online as well (HERE).




Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The stuff botched plans are made of.


Family vacations.
The stuff that botched plans are made of! ;)
Be ready for the unexpected, even for a change in plans if need be.

Let's backtrack so I can tell you how this Disney vacation came to be.
Sometime late last winter, perhaps January or so, I came across some info on the web about Disney giving out free park entry tickets in exchange for community service. Curious, I checked into it further and discovered that one of the options in my area was to remove invasive weeds (Garlic mustard, to be specific) from a prehistoric woods less than 5 minutes from our home. "Hmmm?"

Dh agreed it would be a great way to help our community and help our single income family enjoy our next vacation as well. Win, win.
So I signed us up for the first weekend in May.
It rained the night before and it was gray, chilly, and overcast the day of.
But it wasn't cancelled and we found ourselves wandering amid the mud and thick forest floor of weeds in search of the dreaded garlic mustard.
Three hours and 5 dirty family members later (Brandon was too young), we were on the official "free tickets" roster. Woohoo!

After many months of anticipation, our big travel day finally arrived. We had to awaken the children at just after 4am (ugh!), but they're seasoned stand-by travelers at this point so they know the routine.

  • Get up immediately.

  • Get dressed, brush teeth and hair.

  • Keep your crabbies in check.

A humongous black pullman suitcase, standard carry-on green pullman, requisite "Going to Grandma's" pink suitcase (even when not going to Grandma's), green toiletries carry-on, 6 carry-on jackets, carseat, booster seat, a purse, 2 bags of flight snacks, 4 children, 2 adults (and a partridge in a pair tree). Finally in the van, we were on our way.

We boarded the shuttle bus from the employee parking lot and that's when the "incidents" began. We all sat down on the available bus seats (after storing the ridiculous load mentioned above). The children sat on a 3 seat space, making room for the last child to try to sit down, who happened to be Reece. Okay, some of you newer readers don't know much about my Reece yet, but let me just say, he's the child blog entries are born of (the surface is merely scratched HERE.) ;)

"Heeey! Where am I supposed to sit?"
"Honey, they're making room for you. Sit down."
"But,...there isn't any room."
"Yes, they're making room. Sit down, please."
(Panic setting in) "But that's only a three seater and there's FOUR kids."
"It's fine, honey. Please sit down."
Overwhelmed and frustrated with Mom's clear lack of clue, Reece burst out into tears, plopped himself down on the floor right in the middle of the bus aisle, and pleaded tearfully, "I don't waaaant to sit on the floor."

Gulp!

Suffice it to say I dealt with the "incident", adding him to the other children on the seats and we were ready to move forward. The next bump came during boarding. We had our tickets scanned and were just through the boarding door, a family of six, bleary-eyed children staggering to and fro while dh and I struggled to keep them out of the way of other boarding passengers. I casually said, "Everyone's got their jackets, yes?"

"NO!"
Times two.
Sigh.

Now dh was a salmon, swimming upstream against the steady flow of passengers to retrieve our A.W.O.L jackets, which he believed had been left at security (gulp again!) Thankfully, they were abandoned in the boarding area so he quickly grabbed them and rejoined our somewhat disjointed party.

We arrived in Chicago with a two hour lay-over, plenty of time to use restrooms, grab a coffee, and to perhaps read a chapter of An Echo in the Darkness (book 2 of Francine River's Mark of the Lion series, which I cannot recommend enough. The historical setting of scripture will vividly come alive to you as Francine astounds you with the richness and depth of the characters she has written.) The dream was nice while it lasted.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I have some news and it's not good news."
The aircraft's reverse thruster valve was not working. In any other airport, it wouldn't have been a deal breaker, but for John Wayne aiport (unique runway and noise reduction dynamics), it was a no-go item.
Praise God, though.
Another aircraft was being traded out.
No cancelled flight.
Just an additional 3 hour wait.
Yes, 2 hours (original layover) plus 3 hours (delay) equals a FIVE hour layover.
"Bet I'll get that chapter in now." ;)
Thankfully, dh tracked down the employee lounge, which was very large and spacious. We found a quiet area to sit down and read while the children played puzzles and read books that were provided.

Five hours and an expensive airport purchase of two bananas later, we were on our way again.
I sat with our two youngest, dh with our two oldest.
Cierah, our third child who (how to say this nicely?) is a bit absent-minded happy-go-lucky, needed to use the restroom during flight.
Being on an aisle seat, she hopped out and headed to the back of the aircraft.

I instantly knew it wouldn't go well as dh and I, on a previous trip, found even ourselves confused by the newer bathroom doors being installed on some aircraft. They are folding doors as opposed to hinged doors, and we've made complete fools of ourselves seen so many people struggle to figure the doors out. So sadly, I knew Cierah wouldn't succeed.
But then it got worse.
MUCH worse.

She didn't stop at the bathrooms, but rather staggered into the rear galley.
Oh no!
As fate would have it, no flight attendants were back there at thet time.
And, as fate would also have it, I was stuck in a seat belt in my center seat, my tray table down, with both my coffee and my 3 year old's apple juice can on my tray.
And Cierah's drink was left on her tray on the aisle seat next to me.

I looked back and saw Cierah happily staggering from the left side of the tail section to the right and back again.

And again.

And again!

Panic set in as I realized the only doors to attempt opening back there were the emergency exit doors.
"Folks, we've got ourselves an incident. Please place your mask over your own face before assisting your child."
How I feared what was going to happen next.

"HONEY! HELP!
I'm stuck.
She's staggering.
The emergency exit doors.
The bathroom.
It's Cierah, mind you.
GOOOOOOOO!"

A bit of drama? Okay, sure.
But it freaked me out none-the-less.
I'm happy to say that no evacuation slides were launched at 35,000 feet at the time of this blog writing.

As the kids munched on bags of dry cereal and fruit snacks, I figured it was time dh and I ate the bananas we had purchased in Chicago for the flight.
"Honey, let's peel those bananas now."

"Sure thing.

Or not.

You've got to be kidding me.

I forgot to grab them when we bought lunch for the kids in Chicago."

"Huh? Did you pay for them?"
"Yep. And they're still sitting on the counter where I paid."
Swell.

Nothing left to do but dream about a meal in Anaheim while I settled 3 year old Brandon in for some dreams of his own. And settle he did.
He slept the rest of the 3 hours, while I pretty much lost all circulation to my arms, thighs, and,....never mind. Suffice it to say I had phantom parts until the blood returned when he finally sat up in his seat again.

Safely on the ground in Orange County, we claimed bags and rental car without incident, then made our way to our hotel, where we quickly checked in and changed into shorts and tees for the wonderful California weather that awaited us.
A friend had given us a gift card for Fat Burger, which was so very generous of her. We purposed to use it for our first meal in CA. I quickly programmed Nellie the Scab and we were on our way.
Only,...
"We don't accept that here. You have to use it at corporate."
I felt bad because we had already placed an order for a family of 6.
We apologized, the counter clerk was gracious, and we made our way to "corporate", where the gift card was readily accepted.
Thanks so much, Holly. YUM!

Had to laugh, after our day of faux paus, when we saw a business sign that read, "MAINLY POTTERY, PLANTS AND THINGS. AND MOOSE MUSEUM."
Um,....okay.

So, Family vacations.
The stuff that botched plans are made of.
But you know, I really think God uses that time to teach us lessons about ourselves.
About being open to change and and new direction.
About being in the moment.
About seeing our glass as half full (because it truly is).
About treasuring our time with our loved ones because the change that we must learn to be open to, will come along in our families sooner than our hearts feel ready for.
Isn't it soothing to know that we are loved,treasured, and saved by faith in Jesus Christ who never changes, who is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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Monday, October 4, 2010

No Worries


Phew, I do believe dust settled on the keyboards while I was away.
(just a lame excuse for the fact that I failed to dust before we flew out to California this past Tuesday.)

Our trip went well, except for the 4am wake-up (on both ends of the trip), and perhaps the 2 hour lay-over in Chicago that grew to FIVE hours (thank goodness for the blessing of a large, comfortable employee lounge).
Considering that we fly stand-by, I'd sum it up as routine.
No bumps.
No cancellations.
No insurmountable obstacles.
To quote Timon and Pumbaa, "Hakuna Matata." Means, "No worries."

S-C-R-A-T-C-H!

Let's back up on that last one.
No worries?
Um,....I need to be honest here.
The truth is, flying does make me a bit, just a bit (I promise) worried.

Sheesh, you'd think it wouldn't.
I grew up in the airline industry.
My father worked for American Airlines until his retirement, as did my two uncles.
I myself worked in the industry for 14 years, 3 airlines, and 4 different cities.
As a 23 year old living alone and working in San Francisco, having moved out there on my own from Cleveland, I hardly gave a thought to travel safety and often took the 4½ flight back and forth between the two cities.

But then,...things changed.
I got older and wiser.
More aware that the world is often not a safe place.
People can give their hearts to anything, even evil.
September 11th happened.
And I am now a mother, fierce as a bear in my desire to protect my children.

So when we fly these days, I have my children to think about as well.
And I'm faced with the reality that, as I think about so many travel related scenarios, I sometimes struggle with worry.
Not an overwhelming "all-out" struggle, but an uncomfortable struggle just the same.

As I sit here and think about it, fear and control go hand-in-hand.
Because of fear, one can struggle for control.
Some actually use fear to control.
Some end up fearful when they realize they've lost control.
Yep, fear and control definitely tend to run in the same circles.
And fear begins as a seed planted in the mind.
It is not of God, but rather the venom of Satan, a lie.

So I am not about to let my concerns about flying become anything more than a tinge of personal discomfort.

But, how to battle that seed of fear and win?

How?

For me, it begins with prayerful surrender.
"Father, today I choose to be strong and courageous, to acknowledge that you are with me and will not forsake me."
Sound a bit like Deuteronomy 31:6? One of the many benefits of hiding scripture in our hearts is being able to speak its truth and power into our lives in the very moments we need it.
I accept that I am not in control and never really have been.
Not of others.
Not of an airplane.
Not of the very number of my days.

But, oh the comfort of being able to call on the one who is in control, my Heavenly Father, the God and creator of the universe (Gen 1:1).

I also have the power of willful submission.
The bible says, in James 4:7, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
I can't stop Satan from trying to make my mind a battlefield, but I can decide to resist him.
I can refuse his lies.

Your turn.
Where has Satan aimed and hit his mark?
What fear has he seeded in your mind today?
Will you allow it to take root?
If not, then how will you battle it?

Consider this.
You are God's beloved. He calls you His treasure (Deuteronomy 26:18).
Search the scriptures so that, like myself, you can truly grow in the knowledge and confidence of God's overwhelming love for you.
You can then rest in Him, your strong tower. Your place of safety and safe surrender.
And again, in the words of Timon and Pumbaa, Hakuna Matata.
Dig in and discover for yourself the peace that surpasses all understanding.

The Bible, God's very word, my one true source of comfort, in flight and in life.

Live wise in Him!

~Toni~

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