Monday, March 29, 2010

in a funk

I feel like I am in a bit of a funk..... just a bit stressed, don't want to really be social, am thinking way too hard about things, and am missing my family. Joel is working nights this week.... and is working Easter. I really don't get bothered much by his schedule- I am actually quite used to it. I just make it work and am truly just thankful he has a job to go to... even if it has to be on Easter. I need to get out of this funk- even if just to enjoy this week. Easter is a great thing... lots to think about and be thankful for. The girls and I decorated eggs today and we will be making some cookies later this week. I like doing all the Easter bunny things- but want them to know what this week really represents.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's a rainy Sunday afternoon. The girls are playing with playmobil, I am watching Tyler Perry's Why Did I Get Married. I love his movies. Madea cracks me up...
Tomorrow we will officially be getting back to the grind of life. Lots of school work to catch up on.... and other things to get done. We are slowly getting back to east coast time... kind of.
I took the girls to a birthday party at a skating rink yesterday. I skated one time around the rink with Jesslyn and seriously could not believe how much harder it is than I remember. I thought it was like riding a bike- once you know how you never forget.... not so much. I went slow, was trying not to fall the entire time, and my legs hurt after just a few minutes. I am old. I used to love to skate when I was little.... not so much anymore.

Friday, March 26, 2010

ugh. ugh. ugh

I have not talked politics in awhile but if I hear the word TAX one more time, I think I may just scream. Joel is so kind and mutes the tv every time a tax commercial comes on. I am OVER it... and here is why....
we live in KY- work in OH. We have OH taxes taken out and then owe KY at the end of the year.... now, we need to start doing estimated taxes to KY because paying them at the end of the year does not cut it apparently... this means, we will pay OH out of paycheck but will also have to pay KY in quarterly estimated payments. We do get back what we pay to OH... but essentially will be DOUBLE taxed all year. I am going to be writing a heck of a check for taxes in April ..... and having to write this shows me just how much Joel and I are paying in..... I really am blessed, love that we have a great job.... but really?? way more than a fourth of our income goes to taxes... ugh. and it is just going to get worse.... ugh. ugh. ugh. I think everyone should have to write the check to the irs themselves instead of having it go out from paycheck. We would be way more aware of what we are really having to pay in... maybe it wouldn't feel so bad paying in if I trusted it was going to useful things... to things that are not going to be bankrupt or to things that are not supporting people who just choose not to work and choose to be lazy.. ugh. I need to stop.....

Thursday, March 25, 2010

trip to L-town

Lots happened while we were in L-town... Jesslyn turned 5, I turned 33, and the Mann's left for Africa... we went to Seaside, and shopping in Portland, and to many places to eat and also to visit lots of family. It always goes by quickly.... lots of great memories made.

The girls at the beach

Jesslyn turning 5!

Beautiful Hannah

Nevaeh and her cousin Zach

Here is Nevaeh with her cousin Elliott

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Today was not fun. I did not like it.... at all.. BUT I remind myself that it could have been worse. Things sucked today- but in comparison to what others I know are going through- this day was cake.

I really will be okay if I never have to hear the word TAX again.

I hope to upload my pics from our trip tomorrow. It was a great time. Getting back in the swing of life is not fun. Had to catch up on bills and laundry and get some groceries today... and need to really get back in the swing of school with the girls. Ugh. Can I just have another vacation?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

I am mad- so I blog. Dorky, yes. I don't care.

I am angry right now but will not tell you why. I can't. I will not blog about it either... there would be too many profanities.. and this does not have anything to do with politics. (believe it or not).

So, I am just going to write some random thoughts:

* my trip here has been great. I have great friends and family.
* I do miss Joel though- can't wait to see him.
* we went to Jerry and Nancy Higgins tonight. Good people.... fun house... great food..... nice to know there are still great people in the world.
* my girls fell asleep in about two seconds tonight. That is how much fun they had at the Higgins. Jerry loved them like they were his own. Nancy played games with them.... and let them makes smores.
* I really really really want to travel......
* I wish Joel would take up boating and forget stupid golf :) Joel if you are reading- HINT HINT.
* I think not all "men" deserve to be called "men"...... some will always be boys.... little boys who need Mark Driscoll to say to them "who in hell do you think you are!"
* I think most rumors are usually true... and if not, they very well could be and probably will be true in the near future.
* We skipped church today and went shopping.... love that even though my dad probably didn't want to - he did it. That is the kind of man he is. (He deserves to be called a man.)
* I brought two books with me on this trip... was hoping to read more on the plane coming out here but slept instead.
* I hate it when people think that they know you when they really have no idea who you really are..... and the reason they don't really know who you are is because they never take the time to figure it out.
* I am convinced that the main reason for going to the beach at Seaside is to eat candy and junk food.
* My husband has more insight and can read people very well- not many people give him enough credit for that.
*I feel better now that I blogged. Totally dorky...
* but guess what- some peoples opinions just don't mean one thing to me. So what if you think I am dorky.
* I tend to think that having a young child makes it really hard to not believe in total depravity.
* I often regret times when I feel I could have said more- but in reality truly believe that saying more would have gotten me in lots of trouble and honestly- saying more would not have helped one bit. So maybe it really isn't regret. Maybe it is just one more stupid reason I blog.

I love doing these random thoughts- makes me feel better...... not sure why. I have one last full day here in Longview. Not much planned... I am really excited to see Joel. It has been long enough without him. Part of me is craving routine again- part of me loves the carefree life of not really cooking or cleaning. I know I have mentioned this in posts previously, but coming home to family always (ALWAYS) makes me think about my life, re-evaluate it, and makes me ask myself how I can be better. Not sure why- just happens. I tend to think too hard but yet am glad my mind cares to even go there. I, once again, become thankful for family. Thankful for parents who think beyond themselves and love my children and Joel and I. I got to watch my sister's family- who is living life outside the box. Loving God and loving Africa- Loving their kids, speaking truth to them- not enabling them- not empowering them to rise up in themselves but to give them the power of Jesus. My blessings.... seriously.... are way too high to count and I will be thankful everyday for God's grace to me and my family.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St Patrick's Day

*I read this article this morning- thought is was interesting.... never really hear this side of the story on March 17th.* Article came from Mark Driscoll.

I am a servant of Christ to a foreign nation for the unspeakable glory of life everlasting which is in Jesus Christ our Lord. – Patrick
My family name was originally O’Driscoll until it was changed a few generations ago by relatives hoping to more fully assimilate into American culture after immigrating from Ireland. Though I was raised Irish Catholic, I knew virtually nothing about Saint Patrick other than the green beer, parades, shamrocks, leprechauns, and drunken Red Sox fans that celebrated in his honor every March 17th.
Technically, Saint Patrick is not even a saint, as he was never canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. Additionally, Patrick was not even Irish. Rather, he was a Roman-Britain who spoke Latin and a bit of Welsh.
Patrick was born around 390 A.D. When he was roughly 16 years of age he was captured by pirates and taken to Ireland on a ship where he was sold into slavery. He spent the next six years alone in the wilderness as a shepherd for his masters’ cattle and sheep.
Patrick was a rebellious non-Christian teenager who had come from a Christian family. His grandfather was a pastor, and his father was a deacon. However, during his extended periods of isolation without any human contact, Patrick began praying and was eventually born again into a vibrant relationship with Jesus Christ. Patrick endured the years of isolation in rain and snow by praying up to 100 prayers each day and another 100 each night.
In his early twenties God spoke to Patrick in a dream, telling him to flee from his master for a ship that was waiting for him. Amazingly, Patrick made the 200-mile journey on foot without being caught or harmed to find a ship setting sail for his home, just as God had promised. The sailors were out of food for the journey, and after Patrick prayed a herd of pigs miraculously ran toward the ship, providing a bountiful feast for the long voyage home.
God Speaks to Patrick
Upon returning home, Patrick enrolled in seminary and was eventually commissioned as a pastor. Some years later God spoke to Patrick in a dream, commanding him to return to Ireland to preach the gospel and plant churches for the pagans who lived there.
The Roman Catholic Church had given up on converting such “barbarians” deemed beyond hope. The Celtic peoples, of which the Irish were part, were an illiterate bunch of drunken, fighting, perverted pagans who basically had sex with anyone and worshiped anything. They were such a violent and lawless people, numbering anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000, that they had no city centers or national government and were spread out among some 150 warring clans. Their enemies were terrified of them because they were known to show up for battles and partake in wild orgies before running into battle naked and drunk while screaming as if they were demon-possessed. One clan was so debased that it was customary for each of their new kings to copulate with a white mare as part of his inauguration.
Unique Missionary Strategy
In faith, the forty-something year-old Patrick sold all of his possessions, including the land he had inherited from his father, to fund his missionary journey to Ireland. He worked as an itinerant preacher and paid large sums of money to various tribal chiefs to ensure he could travel safely through their lands and preach the gospel. His strategy was completely unique, and he functioned like a missionary trying to relate to the Irish people and communicate the gospel in their culture by using such things as three-leaf clovers to explain the gospel. Upon entering a pagan clan, Patrick would seek to first convert the tribal leaders and other people of influence. He would then pray for the sick, cast demons out of the possessed, preach the Bible, and use both musical and visual arts to compel people to put their faith in Jesus. If enough converts were present he would build a simple church that did not resemble ornate Roman architecture, baptize the converts, and hand over the church to a convert he had trained to be the pastor so that he could move on to repeat the process with another clan.
Patrick gave his life to the people who had enslaved him until he died at 77 years of age. He had seen untold thousands of people convert as between 30-40 of the 150 tribes had become substantially Christian. He had trained 1000 pastors, planted 700 churches, and was the first noted person in history to take a strong public stand against slavery.
Roman Opposition
Curiously, Patrick’s unorthodox ministry methods, which had brought so much fruit among the Irish, also brought much opposition from the Roman Catholic Church. Because Patrick was so far removed from Roman civilization and church polity he was seen by some as an instigator of unwelcome changes. This led to great conflicts between the Roman and Celtic Christians. The Celtic Christians had their own calendar and celebrated Easter a week earlier than their Roman counterparts. Additionally, the Roman monks shaved only the hair on the top of their head, whereas the Celtic monks shaved all of their hair except their long locks which began around the bottom of their head as a funky monk mullet. The Romans considered these and other variations by the Celtic Christian leaders to be acts of insubordination.
In the end, the Roman Church should have learned from Patrick, who is one of the greatest missionaries who has ever lived. Though Patrick’s pastors and churches looked different in method, they were very orthodox in their theology and radically committed to such things as Scripture and the Trinity. Additionally, they were some of the most gifted Christian artists the world has ever known, and their prayers and songs endure to this day around the world, including at Mars Hill where we occasionally sing the "Prayer of Saint Patrick" and the Celtic hymn "Be Thou My Vision."

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

and they're OFF!

My sister's family headed out this morning for their second term in Botswana, Africa. This term will be four years. It was a quiet ride in the van this morning. Everyone was quiet... maybe due to being tired... maybe not. We arrived at the airport early- between the five of them they had 11 suitcases to check and two carry-ons for each person. Check in went well- nice and smooth... but saying goodbye was hard. I am always the one to start crying first...... always. After lots of hugs and kisses... they headed through security. It was hard... but I think we all handled it pretty well. I was just looking through some of the pictures on my mom's computer and I posted a few below... these are from their first term there. The kids have changed a lot and have grown up- and I am sure will be even more different when we see them the next time.
Being here during this time of goodbye has been hard but so good. I seriously cannot even begin to count all the blessings in my life. I have an amazing family. My girls and I landed here on Thursday, so for the past five days we have all been staying in the same house- all TEN of us... and it has been great. We love each other. We love being around each other. These days, that is a rare thing.
I am also in awe of missionaries. What an amazing call. My sister's kids will get to see and experience things that not many kids get to. They have already been to many places in the world, have met many different kinds of people, and have big dreams for what they will be in their adult lives. I can tell that because of this, they already have a wisdom that most kids their ages do not seem to have. I know they also sacrifice for this lifestyle..... but know they will reap many blessings from those sacrifices.
I cannot wait to go visit. Not only to see them, but for my own kids to see more of the world, to see different kinds of people, and just maybe to see firsthand the amazing call that has been placed on this family's life.
Now that we are back from the airport, the house is pretty quiet- except for my five year old who was up at 4 this morning and has a runny nose- she is a bit cranky and also thinks that sniffing up the snot into her head instead of blowing it out in a tissue is the better way to go. It is noisy and quite frankly annoying. I think she sucks it up every other second. UGH.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I LOVE this quote by John Piper- " Because you are precious to God, and he adds this gift: He will not let that preciousness become your God. Only Him."

My friends gave me a gift card to a bookstore.... I already used it... I am excited to have some time on the plane tomorrow to just read. ( I have great friends, btw.)

I also was asked to do a book review for our church 922 magazine.... I reviewed the book "Knowing God" by JI Packer. Here is what I wrote :
(although the book was so great- it was so hard to pick what to write about. I did my best to narrow it down.)

Knowing God, by JI Packer, is quite possibly one of the best books I have read in a long time. After completing the last chapter, I was tempted to start again with chapter one. I feel this is the kind of book that can be read over many times, with something new to learn each time.
Packer begins the first chapter by acknowledging the importance of theology in our walks as Christians. Although learning theology is essential, we must make sure our motives are in check. If we seek this simply to know His truth and to allow our hearts to respond and live accordingly, then we are on the right track. It cannot be a quest to just know all the answers or for self-satisfaction. It must be a desire to know Him with a desire to live for Him. It is turning our knowledge about God into knowledge of God. Packer states that knowing God is a matter of personal dealing and personal involvement. We can have all the knowledge in our head, but we must also have the Holy Spirit to help us develop the practical application of that knowledge.
Before Packer begins describing the attributes and the characteristics of God, he emphasizes how important it is to acknowledge Him as the one true God. This means that we are to follow the second commandment and have no other images before Him. Packer warns against making our own mental images in our head of who and what we think God is. We need not seek visible symbols of God but simply need to obey His Word and read His Word in order to find out what He is like. Packer states “to make an image of God is to take one’s thoughts of him from a human source, rather than from God himself; and this is precisely what is wrong with image-making” (p. 49). This reminded me how important it is to know the Word and what it says about who He is. Simply using my human mind to imagine Him into what I “ think” He is or should be would never be wise and could potentially lead me down the wrong path.
Packer then begins to describe God. First of all, Jesus was fully divine and fully human. This is mind-blowing. What a mystery! God is unchanging, majestic, wise, and His Word is true. He is spirit, He is light. He is love. His love shows His incredible goodness. His love is full of grace and mercy and brings us into a covenant relationship with Him even though we are so unworthy and undeserving. He is also a judge and wrath is one of His attributes. He does not become a fool and lose His temper as we would when we get angry but His anger is righteous and He judges with perfection. He is good. He is perfect. He is patient and He disciplines. He is also jealous. Packer explains His jealousy by stating “God’s jealousy is not a compound of frustration, envy and spite, as human jealousy so often is, but appears instead as a (literally) praiseworthy zeal to preserve something supremely precious.” (p. 171).
Packer also discusses what being a “son of God” truly means. He points out that in the Old Testament, the theme is often God’s holiness but something new is added in the New Testament. His name now becomes Father and we, as Christians, are His children. Packer believes that God does not leave us guessing about His fatherhood by making us draw analogies from our human fathers. God wants us to look to Him as the example and to also live our lives as a reflection of Jesus’ own relationship with Himself. No matter how great or bad of an earthly father we may have had, as Christians, we have now been adopted. Adopted by a loving and perfect Father, a Father with authority, affection, fellowship, and honor. Packer writes, “in adoption, God takes us into His family and fellowship-he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is a greater.” (p. 207)
Packer sums it up by saying that in order to know God we must know about Him, study His character through reading the Word, evaluate ourselves as fallen creatures, believe that knowing Him requires a personal relationship, which makes us His disciples, and finally, we know that we are more than conquerors through Him. He is enough. He is sufficient. He is all we need.
While reading this book, I felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by who God is and also overwhelmed by all I still long to know about Him. I am in awe by His love. It really is mind-bending and perfect in absolutely every way. I feel that Packer does an excellent job describing God and listing His attributes. While reading this book, I felt as though I learned a lot about who God is but it also challenged me to seek Him even more. My human mind will never fully know everything there is to know about Him- that is how GREAT of a God He is. As I continue reading the Word and asking the Holy Spirit to teach me all His great ways, I am truly confident in Psalm 16:2. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You.”

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Birthday Celebration

My friends took me out for an early birthday celebration last night. We went to PF Changs.... it was great food.... but even better company. I love each one of these girls in a special way... they make me laugh and last night made me feel very loved. I am not one to really get into birthdays.... at least not my own. They also gave me lots of coffee and tea- and a gift card to a book store. They know me well....... it is nice to have a group of girls I can laugh with and be real with. Thanks ladies for making my night and my birthday special.

Friday, March 5, 2010

oh my....

Joel had yesterday off.... so the morning started out great. We had coffee together while the girls played, then the girls did some schoolwork and then we decided to head to Red Robin for lunch. Red Robin had just been built and the last time we drove by it was filled with people so we figured it was open. When we got there we soon realized that they were not technically open and that in order to eat, you had to be on a special guest list. Joel informed them that we were not on the list but the guy said "that's cool, we we just add you! " He then began to explain that everything was complimentary because they were training.. he also said that service might be great but might be bad and also might be slow.... so, we headed inside.... our server was being shadowed the entire time by another lady and if he did not say what he was expected to say, she would tell him to start all over again from the beginning. He seemed pretty flustered but all in all did a pretty good job... and we did not complain. We all had some great burgers and fries... and a big chocolate milkshake... all for just the price of a tip!
So, the afternoon had been going pretty well, we saved about $40 bucks for lunch..... not too shabby.... but then the day began to go downhill a bit. Joel came home to wash his jeep...... and as he was using the hose, there was this incredibly loud noise. When he came inside to grab a bucket, he noticed water was coming in our downstairs! He turned off the water quickly... but we had to completely take out everything from our storage closet (that is where the water was coming). The back of the storage closet was soaked! Everything wet.... Joel called a friend of his who is a plumber and he said he believes that the pipe was frozen during the winter and that it split when it became thawed out. So, it could have been much worse but it was irritating..... but I guess it forces us to have to clean out the stuff in that closet... because if the truth be told- most of it could probably be thrown away or given away.
Sometimes being grown up, having a house, and responsibility is WAY overrated.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Mann Family........

In just a short 8 days, I will be heading to Longview to see my sister's family one last time before they head to Botswana Africa for their second term as missionaries. This second term will put them there for four years. I am looking forward to this trip but yet am dreading it all at the same time. It is going to be bitter sweet. Lots of emotions.
I have had the chance to see them a good amount of times while they have been home for the year, which I am extremely thankful for. So as I write a bit more, I just wanted to talk about each Mann family member and what I love most about them:

Matt (brother-in-law) - I love his coffee making skills and his honesty. I love his desire to talk about deep things... He really is like the brother I never had. He is prefect for my sister.
Debbie (sister)- we are sisters who never fight... could talk for hours, and like the same things. I love seeing the way she parents her kids. She is an inspiration to me.
Hannah (oldest daughter)- sweet.... beautiful blonde curly hair..... and is so willing to play with my kids even when Jesslyn is starting to drive her crazy.
Zach- love his easy going personality. Love his taste in music and his dance skills... and love even more his randomness! He makes me laugh.
Elliott- one of a kind. Smart boy, lots of insight for a boy his age.... can call it like it is very quickly. Great trait to have. He will not be fooled. I love this kid's hugs. They truly are the best.

The picture above is of my parents with the kids.... this picture is not perfect, not everyone is looking... but I feel like our love is perfect..... my parents love for their grandkids goes above and beyond. Their world is all about these kids. They are investing a great legacy in my kids and my sisters kids. I am really thankful for this...... my blessings are too high to count.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Okay.... this show has got to GO. Sure, at first it seemed fine... but season after season, trainwreck after trainwreck... please.... oh please.... go away.
I used to not be bothered so much by this show. In fact, I would watch it from time to time. I am not one who hates reality television and even admit to liking some of those ridiculous shows filled with drama and silliness. BUT- the more I think about this show the more it drives me nuts.
Here are my random thoughts:

* none of these girls had great fathers. They all need hugs and some REAL love.
* every girl mentions the word "fantasy" or "fairytale". NO such thing ladies. Movies are not real. Love can be great but it is by no means rose pedals and trips to tropical islands all the time. You think Jake was so amazing. Wait until her farts and grunts and pees all over the toilet seat.
* I firmly believe that when it is down to two girls... and the man always pretends he has no idea who he is going to pick- I think he totally knows. Either that or if he really was honest, he is wishing he could choose both. There is no way that every season, he waits until the last second to decide which one. He pretends to not know simply for television drama.
*the love these people talk about is simply feelings... giddiness, and emotion. While those feelings need to be there and are essential... they are just the tip of what love really is. I find that many really want that magical, fairytale movie-like relationship. I really think this is where movies and Hollywood have radically warped us. Real lasting love is much different than what any movie can portray.
*and lastly, it is amazing to me that this girls are willing to get dumped on national television... to cry and blubber while mascara is rolling down their face.....
*it is also amazing how every single rose ceremony because the "most dramatic one yet in Bachelor history"
*I do not know how the host keeps a straight face.