• 31Dec

    Other than a few emotional issues . . . Christmas wasn’t too bad.  Two different local churches volunteered to play St. Nick this year allieviating the stress of finding presents (and buying) for all the kids and hiding them, and wrapping them, and keeping the kids out of them, etc . . .

    We got some really neat stuff, and I was pleased with the choices.  Benjamin (7) got a paper recycling kit that we have already tried out.  We took some of the shredded Christmas wrapping paper and turned it into writing paper.  Our process needs a bit of refining, but it’s fun and useable.  Now I know why Dan used to grumble about the environmentalists.  Please!  It’s easier to just plant another tree!  =)

    Josiah(6) got a piano book and a kit to build his own gumball machine, which we promptly filled and started using.  All of the older kids got new boots.  Everyone got gloves and hats.  Mom got them a sled with some of their Christmas money.  Mom and the boys got new flashlights (something of a rarity in this house for some reason).  Abigail (5) got a bunch of movies that she enjoys.  Dassy (4) got a school book or two that she was excited about and so was Mom.  Maranatha (3) found a tag somewhere to chew on and spent a lot of time just watching all the excitement.  She got another baby doll that she and Payden have been fighting over (they both want to put the baby to sleep and change it’s diaper and all that fun stuff).  Payden (2) got a couple of “vroom vroom’s” and a “woof woof” and he was the one that kept cleaning up all the wrapping paper and throwing it out so that we had more room to work.  Caleb (1) slept through most of it, but has since found a few of his toys that are great for chewing on.  We all got some books and games. . .

    But I got the best presents . . .

    After Christmas someone showed up at my door and hands me a box.  “We’re sorry.  This one came late.”  The poor guy, when I saw what it was I cried.  It was the science curriculum from Answers in Genesis that I have been wanting to use.  That one box could potentially take care of my science class for all the kids for the next 8+ years!!  I can hardly wait to get back to school!

    Another good one came from my sister.  They were teasing me about my “Super Mom Days” as I call them.  It’s usually a Monday and I expend tremendous amounts of energy getting tons of things accomplished.  (Usually after a “Super Mom” day we have a Play Day so Mom can recoup.)  So my wonderful sister designed and made a special cape, yellow of course, with a huge SM sewed to the back and a border of fur on the bottom (makes it heavier so that I don’t get sucked into airplanes, vacuum cleaners or other such things–watch The Incredibles if that is confusing to you).  =)  I wore it part of the day Monday and had all kinds of mini-super mom’s following me around.  The girls were all excited about being a “Super Mom” until they realized that meant work, then they ‘flew’ off in another direction.

    But really, the presents weren’t the best part of Christmas . . .

    I was surrounded by family who helped me get through the rough season.  I enjoyed the kid’s excitement.  I loved the Christmas lights.  We had fun making a hundred dozen cookies.   We enjoyed many visits from friends and neighbors. 

    And best of all . . .

    The real reason for the season gave us a reason to hope, a reason to go on, a reason to smile.  We love you, Jesus.  Happy Birthday.

  • 29Dec
    Categories: Grieving Comments: 4

    I find myself extremely sensitive to the mention of Heaven lately.

    Sensitive is the wrong word since it hardly conveys the extreme anger that has been boiling up inside me. 

    I remember anger like this from my high school days.  The only way I could describe it then was “blackness, an overpowering, empty blackness.”  This is a bit different in that the blackness seems to be boiling, swirling around inside, threatening to explode.  I spent a large portion of my Sunday struggling to control the emotions that were bursting at the seams.  I couldn’t even sit through the church service.  Instead I spent my time, pacing, crying, writing . . .

    I’ve been doing some subconscious hiding, I think.  Rather than facing things head on and using the grace that God is so willing to give for that situation I’ve been storing things away to deal with later . . when God’s grace isn’t available?  Not that He deserts me, but rather I desert Him.

    You know, why can’t we just make a decision (emotionally) and then just not ever have to make that decision again?!  ‘Course if we made a bad decision we wouldn’t be able to change it that way . . . sigh . . . yes, Lord.  Who am I to question your plans.  Of course your way is best.  Do you have to be right all the time?  Silly question to ask a perfect being, I guess.  Sigh.  So when can I be perfect like you?  imagine childish voices– ” I want to be just like you, Daddy!!”

    This is getting a bit mixed up.

    Anyway, after a day or two of that awful emotional battle I was, of course, quite drained.  I still don’t much care for the mention of Heaven (my focus is off and I’m trying to change that), but at least it’s not making me spit nails any more.  I’m jealous.  Figures.  Never really was much jealous of a girl when it came to Dan . . . a computer, yes, but other girls . . nope.  Now I’m jealous of a place and there really isn’t anything I can do about it at this point.

    So, for those of you who are praying, please pray for a right focus, my relationship with my Lord (and His home), sleep, and some control. 

    Thank you.

  • 23Dec

    What a day.

    From the highs of getting some social activity this morning with other adults, to the lows of cleaning my kitchen and realizing a new that this holiday is a family holiday and my family is missing (I know, the kids are my family, too), to the calmness of an evening spent relaxing with the kids (strangely, it really was calm–relatively speaking to the rest of you I’m sure), I feel like I’ve run the gamut of emotions today.

    My brother had a Christmas party at his school today and we were invited.  It took a while to get everyone out of the house, but we made it.  Then I did a lot of running around helping set up tables, get the meal ready, etc, but that is what I like to do.  We ate, we played, we talked . . real adult talk!  It was great.

    Then we went home and Dassy (4), Maranatha (3), and Payden (2) all took naps.  Unusual for Dassy, but very much needed today.  Caleb (1) unfortunately, napped on the way home so he didn’t really want to go back to bed.  However, he was in bed for the night by 6!  I hope he’s not up too early tomorrow!

    I tried to get a bit of a nap, but it didn’t work real well.  Sometimes that just makes me grouchier than if I hadn’t bothered at all, but I managed to pull through today.  Instead Depression smacked me full in the face and wrapped itself around my head.  I tried my usual thought process.  “Your tired.  Hormones are acting up. You’ll be fine tomorrow.” 

    “Wahhhhh!  No I won’t!  Nothing will have changed tomorrow.  Dan will still be gone.  I will still be trying to fill in the holes in this impossible situation.  I’m grieving!  For heaven’s sake, Liisa!  Let it out!”

    So I cried.

    And then I went and joined the kids who were sliding down the stairs on a mattress.

    Then with my kitchen clean (a big help in the relaxation factor), Caleb in bed, and some of the kid’s excess energy burned off with the party this morning and the mattress sliding this afternoon, we had a nice “quiet” evening.  The older ones played some card games at the kitchen table, the younger ones colored in the playroom with me while I worked on my latest project.

    So, now I’m exhausted and ready for bed . . .

    Another day in the life of the Ewings.  =)

  • 19Dec

    Now the story is told,

    Of a young man so bold,

    Who went to meet his Father above.

    And of his kids and his spouse,

    Who got a brand new house.

    It’s a special story of Christian love.

     

    It’s been a couple of years since I wrote a Christmas letter, but I’m guessing that most of you know the news anyway.  You have all been so faithful in your prayers and support that I feel that our story is only just starting to unfold.  God has blessed us many times over with the family and friends, and even friends of friends that have surrounded us during this time.  Our story truly is a special story of Christian love.

    Let me recap.  ’01 Dan and I were married.  =)  Maybe that’s going back a little too far.  ’02 Benjamin was born, ’03 Josiah was born, ’04 Abigail, ’05 Hadassah, ’06 Maranatha, and in ’07 Payden was born.  We thought we were done for a while.  We had reached our “goal” of 6 kids in 6 years.  We were ready to settle into the long stretch of family life.  God, as usual, apparently had/has different plans. 

    The beginning of ’08 we found out we were pregnant again.  That wasn’t part of the plan.  We were swamped with bills and didn’t know how to fix the problem.  That wasn’t part of the plan.  We had long ago outgrown our house, but had no way of expanding or building new.  That wasn’t part of the plan.  Then we found out that Dan had a hole in his heart and needed some surgery.  Of course, that had never even been thought of when we discussed our plans.  But the Lord said, “I know the plans I have for you . .“ 

    I firmly believe we were in the right place, at the right time, and the Lord protected us in amazing ways.  He gave us so much!  But He asked so much . . .  The pain is intense some days and I see in my mind a little child who has been hurt.  They cry out in their pain and frustration and Daddy comes to help.  Their arms are reaching out to him, knowing that somehow he can make it all better.  And the trust remains even when he has to cleanse the wound, creating more pain.  We hurt, but we trust that the Lord’s plans for us are greater than our own.

    The kids are all dealing with their grief in their own way.  I am constantly struggling with the challenge of being emotionally available for all of them while maintaining a certain amount of sanity and emotional stability in my own life.  I think the loss of Daddy will affect them more as they get older, but for now I think we are doing o.k.

    We have been able to get a routine of sorts established with the onset of the school year and the wonderful house that you all helped to build (in THREE MONTHS!!).  Having a room set aside for schooling purposes has been a tremendous release of pressure for me, and allows me to set some boundaries, which is a necessity when running a household this large. 

    Caleb Daniel is getting ready to walk (surely it’s not time for that yet!), so more boundaries need set and his training will soon be a more demanding task.  Payden is a cute little cuddlebug with his “Daddy Hair (meaning that it sticks straight up)”.  He likes to sit on my lap and read.  Nice since Caleb is always wanting to be on the go at this point.  Maranatha is working on the potty training thing – still.  I think she would be just fine, but it’s hard to realize you are grown up when you keep getting stuck with the babies.  Hadassah is working on her letter sounds and doing quite well.  She loves to color and I often find her off by herself either coloring or playing with some toy.  Abigail read her first book yesterday and is really enjoying school.  She loves to help Mom in the kitchen and even changed a diaper for me the other day.  Josiah and Benjamin are both doing well in school and I’m tickled with their progress.  Josiah is into dinosaurs and Spider-man.  He loves to jump around and tumble all over the place.  Benjamin loves books and basketball.  If he disappears I can usually find him in the library with a book or out at his makeshift basketball hoop making as many points as he can.

    They have all grown and matured so much in this last year.  I cry when I think of all that Dan is missing, and of the ways we wanted to teach and train our children together.  But I can see that the Lord is ever present and I am trusting that He will do as He promised and be a father to all of my little blessings.  The sacrifice of His Son was SO GREAT on my behalf, how can I doubt Him?

    Thanks again to all of you who have and continue to support us.  I truly believe that your part in our story will have an impact greater than you will ever know. 

    Keep sharing God’s love!!

     

    Mom,

         Benjamin (7), Josiah (6), Abigail (5), Hadassah (4), Maranatha (3),

                Payden (2 in Dec), and Caleb Daniel (1 in Dec)

  • 16Dec

    Revelation!

    Dassy (4) is like her father!

    Shocker, huh.  I have to admit to having a few blond roots.  (No need to comment on that one, Wayne.  I remember being called a “mutt”.)

    She has been making comments off and on for the last week or two about building a cat house.  I’m totally not getting it because we already have a cat house and she brings the idea up at the worst of times.  Today, Benjamin was learning about ‘floor plans’ during school and I got out some of the blueprints of our house that Dan and I had drawn up there towards the end.  Apparently she was listening.

    After supper tonight she brings me a piece of paper with what looks like a house on it, and she’s chattering away about her plans, how the kitty is going to go up these stairs, how she wants to build him a box here, and there’s his bed, and so on.  I stopped what I was doing and gave her some pointers on how to draw her blueprint and asked a few questions.  I remember simply asking a question or pointing something out and the conversation would continue to flow on for at least another half hour.

    Then she tells me she wants to go outside and build it now.  It’s 40 degrees out there!!  if I’m lucky, and there’s a wind blowing, and it’s dark!!!          She wants to hold the flashlight.  =)  Next thing I know she’s got some of the boards that hold together Maranatha’s (3) bed and she wants to use them to build this cat house.   I remember some of the things I was using that Dan tore apart to make something I would not be using any time soon.  =)

    I managed to deflect that idea by telling her that she should build a model first with the lincoln logs we have in the library.  She didn’t have a problem with that, but she was done way to fast for me.  =)  Then she was raring to move on to the next step.  I can remember Dan getting an idea into his head and just tearing into it like that, too.

    I also remember what happened next.  We would get going on the project, it would take to long to get finished in one day, we wouldn’t have the supplies, or we would hit a tedious part of the project and he would hand it off to me to finish the next day (when I had time), and wah lah!! it was now MY project.  Not that that’s a bad thing.  The world needs a few people to come up with the ideas and get everyone excited about the project, another few people to take charge and handle the directing of the project, and then there needs to be quite a few more people who are willing to follow along behind and do the grunt work.  I really didn’t have a problem with being the “labor force” behind my “visionary”, but I think I might have a bit of a problem with that when the “visionary” is my daughter who is only 4 years of age.  I really don’t want to be stuck building a cat house by myself when I don’t even need or want another cat house.

    I told her to take it up with Grandpa.

  • 12Dec

    A local college puts on a Christmas cantata and I went last night with all the kids.  They were a little distracting so given the chance I had a date and went again tonight.  It was powerful and brought back some fun memories.  Getting dressed up for a Fine Arts, giggling and prepping with the girls before hand, watching out the windows for our dates, Vespers, orchestra, roses, watching Wayne play the drums, seeing Ginni in the choir, eyeing up the competition (Dan had alerted me to who my competitors were), chatting with Suanna, the excitement of Dan’s presence . . . what fun.

    They ended tonight with a piece centered around the song “We Shall Behold Him” reminding us of our Savior’s second coming.  My first thought was, “I will get to see Dan again.”  And I had to remind myself that Jesus was the reason I was doing this – Jesus, not Dan.  Jesus will be the first one I need to see.

    And still, my relationship with Dan continues to show me how to love my Lord.

  • 11Dec

    Downloaded some pics off my camera today and just had to share.  =)

    Mad Pirate

    Mad Pirate

    We had a family pirate/princess party (pirates for the boys and princess’ for the girls) and Caleb (about 11 mo.)  didn’t much care for his gear, but he looked so cute I made him wear it long enough to get a picture.  Good thing looks can’t kill.  =)

    Here’s another one of my little princess(4 years old).  Note how she is just standing there watching her minions fight on her behalf.  =)

    Queen Dassy

    Queen Dassy

     Here’s one from earlier (when it was warmer).  Abigail (5) and Payden (1 1/2) are out playing in the rain.

    Rain Day Fun

    Rain Day Fun

     

    And here is another one with almost all of them plus a couple of cousins.  From left to right:

    Dassy (4), Julie (cousin), Josiah (6), Benjamin (7), Kara (cousin), Abigail (5), Maranatha (3), Kelsey (cousin), and Tyler (cousin)

    VBS

    VBS

    They are all growing so fast.  I can’t believe the difference in the pictures from the beginning of this year to now.  Caleb was just a baby and yesterday he took his first step.  Payden was just learning to walk and now he is into EVERYTHING.  The girl’s hair is getting longer (good! want to get those bangs grown out and out of their faces), and they are all getting bigger.  Before I know it . . . .
  • 09Dec

    Threw a snowball at Dan today and he didn’t even flinch.  He’s such a deadbeat lately.  Used to be he’d have a snowball to toss back at me quicker than you can blink, and next thing I’d know I’d be squashed in the snow or at the very least feeling the cold wet stuff sliding down my back. 

    Snow is another form of water, you know.  We had many, many water fights of many different sizes and shapes.  I remember one  from when we were dating that included a hose, another consisting of large water guns, several of the frozen variety, one on our honeymoon that ended in a river, one in our first trailer that . . . oh, I love that story, hang on.

    A month or two after we were married (I think) we had friends come to visit us and camp out in our living room (the trailer consisted of a living room/kitchen combo and bedroom/bathroom — not very big) and Dorina and I got to giggling and planning and of course, water entered the picture.  It was frozen this time in the form of an ice pack.  Somehow the ice pack found it’s way to Dan’s side of the bed.  It made it’s way from his pillow down to the foot of the bed, freezing his sheet quite thoroughly.  Newly married I didn’t realize that he liked to crawl into a cool bed, but since the ice pack was still hiding at the foot of the bed it managed to have the desired effect.  He actually yelped and jumped back out of bed.  =)  I was laughing so hard I almost fell off my side of the bed.  I could hear Dorina enjoying the ruckus from the living room, too. 

    Ahh. That made me smile.

    I love you, Daniel.

  • 06Dec

    I can’t talk!!  It’s so annoying and frustrating.  Dan led the conversations, I just guided and directed and gathered information.  Now when I want to say something nice or just try to be polite the stupidest things come out of my mouth!  I thought we did just fine at the communication part of our marriage — not perfect, of course, but fine.  Now I’m afraid that Dan did all the communicating.  Probably just another case of where we balanced each other out and made a good team (He talked, I listened -and wrote).  Maybe I should get a job at Burger King again so that I can practice small talk with a hundred people a day.

    No wonder I didn’t get to go to heaven.  I have too much to learn.

  • 05Dec

    Dassy (4) asked me the other day

    “Mommy, When are you going to die?”

    I looked at her funny, like-where did this come from?

    “Are you going to have another birthday?”

    I told her my birthday was after Caleb’s.

    And then she finishes up her train of thought with, “I want to go live with someone else now.”

    So there you have it.  My 4 year old is trying to kill me off already.  She’s tired of living with me so she wants me to die so that she can go live with someone else.   I’d be hurt, but I’m considering the source and I figure that if I can just get the rest of the kids to agree with her that there won’t be anything else keeping me here.  (That’s “Longing” speaking, not “Depression”, just for the record.)

     

    This is my Dad’s take on the idea of me dying.  =)

    You must file a permission form 3 years in advance of said action and the review process is anticipated to be equally long.  Hence, you are looking at a minimum of 6 years before ‘right of death’ privileges can be processed.  And then you can’t be sure you will receive approval of your intention to die.

    But not everyone is comfortable with the thought of dying.  It is a fact of life, and if you know Jesus like I do then it’s nothing to worry about.  If you don’t know my Saviour, then PLEASE ask.  It’s SO simple and SO worth it!!!!!  Don’t wait until it’s too late.  Give your family and friends the chance to see you again.