• 28Feb

    Sick kids tonight.  Josiah(5) started it a couple of days ago.  Said his stomach hurt and spit up before getting in the shower like Thursday morning or something.  The girls really started getting crabby.  Then either Thur or Fri night Abigail(4)  falls asleep on the couch before supper.  She woke up around bed time and headed back to bed without hardly a complaint.  She slept in later than normal, has been grouchy and sluggish all day, fever of 101, not much interested in eating and says she’s cold.  Maranatha(2) picked up the symptoms and mentioned her ears and it all fell into place.  Payden(1) has been clingy, wants his bottle, and is starting to get a fever, too.  Caleb(baby) has been grouchy the last day or two as well and the only time he seems really happy is when he’s eating.  Probably the sucking helps with the pain.  I’m getting tired too so I’d better get to bed and get some sleep before I get sick, too.  Praise the Lord for Mother-in-Law’s!  Hope she doesn’t get sick!!!!

  • 27Feb

    I had an “Ah hah!” moment in child rearing today.  I often think, “My parents did it this way and it worked just fine for me.” Meaning, that I don’t need to change anything in my child rearing tactics of my children.  However, my parents had/have 4 children to raise.  And as we all know, each child is different.  My parents might have done it that way for me and it worked just fine, but did it work just fine for the other three?  Or did they change tactics with each child?  I can’t just say, “well it worked fine for me” because as much as my children are like me in many areas they still aren’t me.  I need to be willing to change tactics, be willing to keep searching for ways that work.  I can’t succumb to the “child rearing is cut and dried” mentality.  It might work for the first one, but I doubt it will work for the second, and even less for the third, and so on.  I am always fighting this “viewing my children as a whole” thing.  There are just so many that I often lose sight of their individuality.  It would be nice to figure it out and then just sit back and watch, relaxing in knowing that I got it right, but life isn’t quite like that, is it.  This daily growing stuff is hard work.  Don’t we ever get a vacation?  Are you on vacation from that kind of stuff, Dan?

  • 27Feb
    Categories: Grieving Comments: 2

    The conflicting emotions are starting to feel normal – not pleasant, just normal.  I’ve been working on a digital scrapbook of some recent photos of Dan and today I got my first edition in printed form.  It looks pretty good, but there are a few things that I want to fix before I order multiple copies.  I am excited about being this close to completion, but the conflict arises when I realize that I want to make some changes, order one more, make some more changes, order one more, make some more changes, . . and you get the picture.  It’s not so much that I want to get it perfect . . .   I think I’m seeing it as one more piece of Dan being put away.  I want each of the kids to have one of these books for themselves so that is just what I am doing.  I am making the books and then I am going to put them away in a hope chest sort of thing.  I am putting Dan away in a box.  Or at least that’s what it feels like in a strange sort of way. 

    Dan hated being stuffed in a box, labled, confined to a “feet on the ground” kind of thinking.  He wanted to be soaring above the minds of his fellow humans with ideas and inventions, soaring above the clouds in his green box, soaring above the atmosphere into the unknown realms of space, and now . . he’s above even all that.  And I’m down here, stuffing him in a box . . his creamation box, a picture box, a hope chest kind of box . . .

    SMASH that box!!!!  Let him free!!

    Maybe the real problem is my box.  There’s the box of grief, the box of human perception of heaven, the box of death,  the box of life,we even try to stick God in a box.  It’s easier than trying to understand how He could exist outside of a box.  We have such small minds and yet we think we’re such hot stuff.  Makes me think of Payden just learning how to walk.  Everything has to have a beginning and an end for us poor simpletons.  Oh to be free of the finite mind so that I could soar with Dan in a heavenly realtionship with Jesus.

  • 26Feb

    Just got an update on the house!!!  They are thinking that they are going to dig the hole for the foundation this weekend!!  And I guess that the basement walls could be done a head of schedule, too.  We could possibly get them as early as March 9.  Might have to delay them a bit so that we can be ready when they show up.  Sounds like I will be back in PA the first week or so of April.  It will be nice to get settled in somewhere, but I will miss friends and family in MI.  One thing with moving back and forth like this, you always know that you will be back soon.  Getting settled means it will be longer till you see everyone again.

  • 25Feb
    Categories: Grieving Comments: 4

    Carolyn Mahaney says in her book “Feminine Appeal”

    “We must understand that our feelings are not authoritative.  Just because we feel something doesn’t make it true.  Our feelings are either ruled by truth or ruled by sin.  Therefore, we need to discover what is ruling our feelings to determine if they are accurate or inaccurate — righteous or sinful.”

    “Because of sin, the way we think and feel is often contrary to what Scripture commands.  Thus our need for self-control [in our thoughts and feelings].”

    The world says “You have a right to feel depressed.  The death of your husband, leaving you with seven children to care for – that should make you miserable.”  But they are wrong.  C.S. Lewis said, “It is a Christian duty, as you know, for everyone to be as happy as he can.”  I have been given much.  God has sacrificed His Son! to give me a fantastic future.  Yes, there is sadness and grief, but that is because I live in a sin cursed world.  If I am feeling depressed by my situation then I am not relying on the Lord’s strength.  I am not trusting Him with my life.  I am not relying on Him.  I am not reminding myself continually of His love, mercy, grace, compassion, faithfulness, provision, protection, . . . and the list goes on. 

    2 Corinthians 10:5 says ” . . bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” and goes on to talk about obedience.  I need to OBEDIENTLY bring all thoughts (about 10,000 a day) in line with what God wants – Philippians 4:8 ” . . Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”  I don’t know about you, but I doubt that any of those thoughts lead to depression. 

    I find that I am struggling with the fine line of self- pity and grief.  How often am I grieving because of the hole that Dan left in our lives and how often am I grieving because of selfishness e.g. “If Dan were here I wouldn’t have to be doing this yucky task.”  Wanting Dan to be back here on this miserable earth is awfully selfish.  My focus should be on Jesus and my relationship with Him.  The closer I get to Him the closer I will get to my Danny.

    I was rebuking my children tonight for not being willing to share.  I told them that sometimes they needed to give up something that they really wanted in order to share.  If God was willing to give up something as big as His Son to share with us the gift of salvation, then we need to be willing to share little things like toys, food, and time.  I am rebuked myself.  If God was willing to give His Son, then I should be willing to give Him whatever He asks (Dan, a joyful spirit, faithful service, my children . . .)

    So, rain is no excuse.  Think right thoughts, Liisa, and rejoice in God’s willingness to share His Son with lil’ ole’ you.

  • 25Feb
    Categories: Grieving Comments: 4

    I’m in a dreary depressed mood today.  Just can’t seem to shake the college blues.  Many thanks to those who wrote with memories of their own.  I desperately wanted to hear them.  I want to go curl up some where and cry, but alas while I may have permission to grieve I have not been granted the privilege of forsaking responsibility in order to grieve.  So, I must tuck it away, keep an eye on the kids, finish school, fold piles of laundry, get lunch and supper, and hope that I get the chance after bedtime.

  • 24Feb

    I’m tired tonight!  I watched 13 kids this afternoon all under the age of 6.  I really didn’t do a whole lot more than just keep track of where they were and make supper (another interesting run in with the oven), but just having that much energy and noise running around tends to wear me out.  It was the same way in college . .

    Speaking of college, I received an alumni update from PCC today (my alma mater).  In it was the little blurp letting the alumni know that Dan had died.  That was actually one of the first things I went looking for.  It’s sort of strange just how much I want people to know that Dan is gone, but at the same time . . . 

    I remember how often I just kind of skimmed that section of the update.  I mean, I don’t know anyone young enough to die.  I also remember sitting down with Dan and going over the list of new arrivals, weddings, etc.  We would read off names and say “that one sounds familiar, do you know them?”  We’d compare notes and if we were really stumped we’d pull out a yearbook and look for a face.  I couldn’t do that this time.  And they had an article in there about how the IT department (where Dan worked) had put together a program for registration.  The kids can now register in minutes on the computers rather than spending most of the day waiting in lines.  It was an article that screamed to me, “show Dan!  SHOW DAN!!”  I can hear how the conversation would go.  It would be a long one, probably last all night as we discussed the pro’s and con’s of the new program, the programmer, the run in’s Dan had with that program when he worked there, etc.  Nothing too specific because he wasn’t allowed to talk about some of the stuff.

    I was so proud of him.  He was a valuable employee.  He worked hard despite his frequent late arrivals.  He often worked extra without bothering to put it on the clock.  He was good at what he did.  He knew enough that he was even called on to help the teachers (even though he was just a student), and was occasionally mistaken for a teacher. (some of that might have been his old age  =).

    They also had a blurp in there about the new sports center thing . . . we spent lots of time in the Sports Center together.  I officially learned how to ice skate in FL, thanks to Dan.  A group of us used to get together every Thursday night and go ice skating.  Since Dan spent about the first 13 years of his life in Alberta, Canada with a Dad who coached ice hockey he was quite good on the ice and I picked up quite a bit from him.  “Do you ever get the feeling that you are being followed?” was one of his favorite lines on the ice. 

    We wanted to go back for a Bible Conference . . have been planning it for years . . just never quite made it.  I could still go, but right now the concept of college without Dan is so foreign . . .   I almost feel like I’ve lost that part of me.  Please! someone remind me that you were there and saw it, saw us, saw that part of my life!  I can see his face in almost every building on campus.  Sometimes I was pregnant, sometimes we barely knew each other (although that one is harder to remember), sometimes he was dating someone else, sometimes he was working, sometimes he was supposedly doing homework in the VAX lab, sometimes he was waiting with flowers for a Fine Arts Date, sometimes he was chattering away in the VC, sometimes we were waiting in line (oh, that picture . . Sunday night box suppers, waiting outside with crowds of people, surrounded by friends, just talking, . . he was adorable that night), sometimes I was waiting for him after class        

    Oh God!  I just can’t see a life without Dan.  What are you doing?! We were going to get old together and share these memories forever!

  • 23Feb
    Categories: Grieving Comments: 1

    Music is something else that sets me off.  I find that any mention of Heaven lately seems to trigger a waterfall of tears and setting that mention of Heaven to music tends to make that waterfall bigger than the Niagra.  That is probably partly what makes church so difficult.

    The piano is another outlet of intense emotion for me.  I can remember playing fast and furious pieces in high school as I delt with handling anger, the rush of youth, and the many major decisions of young adulthood.  College, my music tended to be a bit more searching as I tried to find my way and slowly discovered myself and branched out in my relationship with the Lord.  Marriage and children brought light hearted songs and choruses (when I got the chance to play).  Now?  Well, I’ve been working on a piece that combines several songs conveying some of the emotions that I’ve been dealing with these last couple of months (sigh. Has it really been months?).  It, too, seems to be searching, mourning, crying out to God to notice and care, with a bit of triumph sounding through as I realize again and again that Jesus Does Care and He does Love Me.

    I played at Dan’s funeral sort of spontaneously, partly in defiance of not being able to sing through my grief, and partly because music calls to me.  I played “It Is Well With My Soul”  defying the desire to succumb to the pain and give up hope.  By God’s grace I hope to never stop playing that song.

    Thank you, Lord, for music – the emotion of the soul.

  • 22Feb
    Categories: Grieving Comments: 5

    Many of you have expressed the desire to take away my pain and tonight I would like to cry my way through an answer to that particular sentiment.

    I understand the wish to protect.  I have children, I was married, I know what it’s like to want to protect those we love from the pain and agony this world has to offer.  But I’m coming to a deeper appreciation of the Lord’s omniscience in creating pain.

    Pain is a warning signal.  If you are playing with fire and you have no sensation of pain what does this say to you?  Either you aren’t very close to the fire or your body is not functioning properly.  Leprosy is a disease that removes the sensation of pain (or any other sensation) from our body’s vocabulary.  Consequently, those that are inflicted with this disease are unaware of when they have inflicted a wound on their person, thus unaware of the need to protect and care for that wound. 

    Pain is also the oposite of pleasure.  Someone who has never seen a body of water will have no appreciation for an author’s description of the ocean.  Someone who has never lived on the streets will never have a full appreciation for a warm and stable home life.  Someone who has never felt pain can not appreciate the true sensation of pleasure.

    I have occasionally lamented my fairly high tolerance of pain.  I only used pain medicine once during labor (Benjamin), I rarely use anything for headaches, I almost always have a bruise somewhere that I am totally unaware of where it came from.  These instances are not bad things in and of themselves, but they also mean that pleasurable sensations are often not noted as well.  I rarely feel the brush of my children’s hair, can never remember feeling the softness of Dan’s breath as he whispered in my ear, and I’m sure there are a few other pleasurable sensations that I have missed out on simply because I wasn’t even aware that there should be a sensation.

    What I am trying to say is, please don’t feel sorry for me because of my pain.  My pain is a gift.  It means that I have had pleasure.  I have had pleasure in the arms of my husband, lover and friend.  It means that I have had something of great value to lose.  It means that I have been blessed.  It is also my warning signal.  It means that something has happened in my life and that I need to take the time to grieve, to heal.  It means that I have a wound and that I need to be seeking the Great Physician.

    I am not sorry for my pain.  I am sorry for my loss and in that comes pain.  Thank you for your desire to protect and shield, but as a mother I am fully aware that to protect and shield my child from all pain would be to destroy my child and I sincerely doubt that any of you wish this leprosy on me.

  • 20Feb

    So, what do I tell you about tonight. 

    I could tell you about my day.  I spent most of it on the computer working on a major picture project.  Luckily I got hung up in the technicalities and wasn’t paying too close of attention to the pictures of Dan.  However, that major project got done to the detriment of a few other things like the house, spending time with the kids, finishing up school, etc.  So, to those of you whom I am supposedly encouraging to spend  more time with your families . . well, I guess I’m failing at what I’m supposed to be demonstrating.

    I could tell you about last night.  I had a “date” with my sister-in-law Melody.  We got babysitters and took some time to go see a play put on by a local school.  It was well done and the whole evening reminded me of the many Fine Arts and plays that Dan and I went to in college.  My hands were still just as fidgety as ever.  I did manage to refrain from tearing up my bulletin and flower and from cuddling up to whoever was next to me (remember that one, Wayne?  =).  I used to play with a beenie baby lion (Lambert) to help with the fidgets and then once I was married I got to hold my date’s hand (since I was married to my date you know).

    I could tell you about some weird things.  Like, I find I’m gritting my teeth an awful lot lately.  Going to have to take a trip to the dentist if I keep this up.  Benjamin(6) has picked up the nasty habit of sucking on each finger one by one.  Dassy(3)  has decided that she needs a scary part in every movie she watches whether there really is one or not, so she just picks something and pretends she’s scared of it.  Payden (1) has decided that he wants to learn how to use a fork and gets upset when I forget to give him one.  Sometimes he even tries to crawl out of his highchair and on to the table to steal the fork of the unsuspecting person sitting next to him.

    I could tell you about my “personal look” debate.  I never got into all that primping and fussing that most girls do.  I’ve got a 10 minute bathroom routine in the morning, rarely wear makeup, and have no idea what to do with perfume or what the perks are of a bubble bath.  Now that I don’t have Dan . . . what’s the point?  The only reason I EVER enjoyed shopping for clothes was because of what Dan might think.  I can remember many a night rushing to brush my hair before Dan got home (since the kids had me pulling it out earlier).  Now I’m lucky if I remember to brush it before I walk out the door (it does get combed after every shower and I wear it up so it really doesn’t look that bad . . . or does it? =)  Now I have to decide to get up the determination to do some exercising and get rid of that last 10 lbs or so of baby fat and get some muscles built up so I’m actually helpful when it comes to building this house.

    I could tell you about my quilt.  I’m making progress although progress has slowed down a bit lately.  I think I have about 22 more blocks to quilt out of 35?  It looks good.  I’m finding the little things that make it unique, but I’m liking what I’m seeing.

    I could tell you about the pain that someone unknowingly inflicted that makes me want to clam up and go hide in a corner.  It doesn’t really have anything to do with Dan, and that person really did have a good point.  Therefore, I am trying to learn from the experience and trying to remain open.

    I could give you an update on the house.  We’ve got the “worky thing” (trackhoe) moved and ready to dig.  We’ve got a sewer permit and a building permit.  The well driller is coming tomorrow.  My contractor has ordered the basement walls/foundation stuff, I think, and that should be arriving in about 3 -4 weeks.  The temporary electrical pole is set to go in this week.  I’ve got a mailbox and an address.  So exciting.  I also got the budget for this whole thing and I’m scared to death.  I think God better send me some of His streets of gold, or pop off one of those jewels He’s got stuck in the walls up there.

    I could tell you about the flowers I got for Valentine’s Day.  Actually, I got flowers, a potted minature rose, some chocolates, some candy, some scarves, . . .  Thank you to everyone who tried to help ease me through Valentines.

    I could tell you about my latest experiences with food.  Now there is something to make you laugh.  =)  I disconnected the smoke alarm.  Does that tell you anything?  I just can’t seem to get used to this oven.  And it doesn’t matter how little time is required to make something I still manage to get distracted by something or someone.  Actually this smoke alarm was installed IN the kitchen and goes off at the first puff of steam, so even when I’m not burning something it’s still going off.  And boy! does it hurt the ears! 

    But, alas,  =) I don’t know what to tell you.  So, I guess you will just have to be content with not hearing from me tonight.  =)  Love to all!