Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Some Days Just Suck

Some days just suck.  I've had a few of those days this past week.  On Monday, I decided that it was time to put my kitty Nibbles to sleep.  I called a mobile vet since I didn't want to have to take her anywhere because she hates car rides.  The vet couldn't come out until Tuesday afternoon.  So I had this black cloud hanging over my head for two days.  And to make matters worse, I met with a realtor on Monday and he informed me that houses in our neighborhood weren't selling very well and if we were to put our house on the market, it would be priced about $15,000 less than what we were thinking.  We were already planning on waiting another year before trying to sell but according to this guy, we're underwater on our mortgage (based on what he said he could sell our house for and what the county appraisal is).  Although we are taking what he said with a grain of salt, it was still depressing.  We want to adopt more kids and we want to do foster care.  But this house really limits us to two kids (and we're even more limited with foster care since they have restrictions on opposite gender kids sharing a bedroom or same gender with a big age gap).  I really love our house and I'll be sad when we leave but we need a long-term house and this just isn't it.  And now it looks like we'll be stuck here for far longer than what we thought. 

On Monday night, Grandma and Aunt Rebekah babysat and the hubby and I went out for dinner.  We usually have community group on Monday nights but I didn't want to go.  I knew they'd ask about our week and I'd tell them and then probably cry and I hate crying in front of people.  We had a groupon for dinner at a bar so we went there.  It was interesting to say the least.  The bar scene is not something that I'm familiar with so the amount of F-words that were liberally sprinkled throughout conversations kind of shocked me.  Do people not know how to talk without using foul language?  There was also a guy who was probably pretty drunk (although he didn't act like it) who was fascinating to listen to.  He had no filter on his mouth and said some pretty outrageous things to the couple sitting next to us.  Anyway, it's not a place that we'll go back to but it did take my mind off things for awhile. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring in Kansas

The last couple weeks have been beautiful.  We need rain but if it's not going to rain, I prefer a sunny, breezy 75 degrees.  Josiah and I have been spending lots of time outside.  He only had a couple outside toys so we went over to Wal-Mart after his nap this morning and I got him a lawn mower that "blows" bubbles when he pushes it, a little bucket and garden trowel, and a kids rake/shovel/hoe set.  He sees me weeding and digging up plants so, rather than having to share my garden tools, I figured I'd just get him his own.  I filled his bucket up with water and he had a grand time playing in it and pouring it all over himself.  Once it gets a little warmer, we're going to get him a pool. 

My gardens are looking good.  I did some more transplanting today.  One great thing about having more mature plants (my oldest things are three years old) is that I can do a lot of splitting.  I'm trying to keep my planting-buying to a minimum this year (just a few annuals for my pots and the bed by the road) so I'm splitting existing plants to fill in areas where something died last year.  I've also been given permission to steal a few things from my sister's garden before they sell their house so I'm going to be taking some baby lilacs and possibly a small chunk of her peony for my gardens.  A tight budget means I have to be creative and luckily, I'm pretty good at that when it comes to plants. 

It looks like we're going to be getting some bad weather this weekend.  It was predicted that this spring would be especially bad for tornados but there haven't been any yet (as far as I know).  This weekend will change that I'm sure.  We have a basement and in the corner where we hide, Daniel has his desk... We call it Mega Desk.  When there's bad weather, we're in the basement.  When tornados are touching down near us, we're under Mega Desk.  We already have an emergency kit so aside from grabbing some food and toys for the kid, we're ready for tornado season.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Good Friday

Today, the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday, is the day of silence and waiting.  Yesterday, Jesus was crucified, died, and was buried.  His disciples and family are shocked and devastated.  It happened so quickly.  Last Sunday, Jesus was a rock star!  He rode into Jerusalem and the crowds worshiped Him.  But the next day, Jesus cleared the Temple and, in the eyes of the religious leaders, sealed His fate.  The religious leaders had to get rid of Him and Judas Iscariot offered to help them.  Jesus shared the Last Supper with His disciples on Thursday night then went to Gethsemane to pray.  Late in the night, Judas came to Him, leading a mob armed with swords.  He was dragged before Herod and Pilate (in the middle of the night), tried, and condemned to death.  The next morning, He was crucified.  In just a few hours, the "Jesus movement" was dead.  The disciples had no leader and they certainly weren't going to do anything by themselves, especially not since Jesus was murdered.  But we who live 2,000 years later know the whole story.  Jesus didn't stay in the grave.  He rose to life on Easter morning, conquering Satan, sin and death.     

Every year, our church has a Good Friday service.  It's a very solemn, somber ocasion.  We read through the accounts of the Last Supper, the arrest, and the crucificion.  We take communion.  We pray and there are many tears.  Easter weekend is not just about Jesus rising from the dead.  It's also about Jesus being murdered.  We murdered God.  That should hit us hard.  There should be sadness and grief, repentance and rememberance.  We don't stay in that place of course.  Easter Sunday dawns and we celebrate.  Jesus rose and our hearts are filled with joy.  But there can only be true joy when we understand and feel what we did to the perfect God-Man on Friday morning. 

Man Of Sorrows
“Man of Sorrows!” what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
“Full atonement!” can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Expedition and Stewardship

I'm slowly but surely making my way through "Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West".  It's a very thorough and descriptive book which makes for slower going but it's quite fabulous.  Can you just imagine... seeing the untainted prairies and mountains for the first time.  Seeing a land that's teeming with wildlife, some of it scarily tame because it's never seen a human before.  Seeing herds of buffalo that stretch to the horizon.  Seeing the migration of Canada geese, so many that they almost block out the sun.  Seeing a land that hasn't been touched by axes or plows.  To those men who first saw it, it must have looked like the Garden of Eden.  To be sure, there were inhabitants in the land before the Lewis and Clark expedition.  And there were trappers and traders of European descent who had done some exploring in the west.  But as far as we know, Lewis and Clark and their men were the first Americans to trek across the newly purchased American land and record the things they saw.  What they did, what they saw, what they experienced... truly unprecedented. 

But it's not without sadness as well.  The Lewis and Clark expedition opened the west to more settlers.  There were bitter and bloody wars with the Indians before they were finally driven from all their lands by the unstoppable force of progress.  Was there another way?  I don't know.  But I don't think so.  And with progress came a general disrespect and disregard for the land.  The trees, the soil, the minerals, the rivers were all used for what could be gained from them.  The land was altered and much was destroyed.  There were signs that we weren't doing it the right away, the Dust Bowl being one of them.  You can't just go in and dramatically alter the ecosystem of a place without a bad outcome.  Now we use irrigation systems, but the underground lakes that we've relied on are drying up.  American ingenuity has pulled us out of many of the messes we've gotten ourselves into but wouldn't it be better if we were just a little more respectful of the land that God has intrusted to us?  I'm not what you'd call an environmentalist but I do believe we should be respectful of the earth because we don't own it... we're merely stewards.  And good stewards take care of what's been intrusted to them.   

Friday, April 11, 2014

Not Much To Say

Some days I'm bursting with words that need to be written down.  And then there are days like today where I don't really know what to say.  Are there things going on?  Oh yes.  In the wider world... Russia is likely to invade the Ukraine in the coming weeks; North Korea continues to aggressively persecute and execute Christians; searchers are close to finding the crashed Malaysian jet; the Middle East is as unstable as always.  In the US... Kathleen Sebelius stepped down from her position as Secretary of Health and Human Services likely because of the failure of Obamacare; there was another shooting at Fort Hood where 3 were killed and 13 wounded; there was a mass stabbing at a high school which left 20 wounded.  And in my life... my sister and brother-in-law put their house on the market and are deep in house-searching mode; a great-aunt of mine passed away yesterday; Josiah continues to grow like a weed as do the weeds, flowers, and plants in my gardens.

Although fall is my favorite season, I love seeing little green things poking their heads out of the ground in the spring.  I've already done lots of pruning, transplanting, weeding, mulching, and de-leafing in the garden. 

Uh oh.  My kid just slammed his fingers in a drawer.  I guess I'd better go see if he's okay.   

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Ode To Joy

Last night, my husband and I attended "Ode to Joy", a classical music concert put on by the Wichita Symphony Orchestra and Choir.  The first song was a piece called "Serenade to Music" by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  It was about 20 minutes long and very beautiful.  There was a short intermission and then we sat down to enjoy the masterpiece of the evening: Beethoven's 9th Symphony.  My husband loves classical music and he especially loves the 9th Symphony so he was on cloud nine during that hour and a half and well into the night afterward (he said he had trouble falling asleep because he was on a music high).  What's amazing to both of us is that Beethoven composed the 9th Symphony when he was stone deaf.  There are four parts to that piece of music and all are unique and beautiful.  To think that someone could compose that beautiful piece of music without being able to hear it is, in my opinion, miraculous.  Composers like Beethoven and Handel... these men truly had a gift and I think at certain points in their life, God especially touched them so they could create things like the 9th Symphony and the Messiah. 

I often wonder why people today can't or don't write music like what was written several hundred years ago.  So much of Christian and secular music today is just trash.  There's nothing beautiful or captivating about it.  Many times secular music is vulgar and obscene.  I just don't get how people can think this muck is music.  I don't think that everyone should listen or like classical music.  But I do think we should hold music to a higher standard.  Just because someone writes a song doesn't mean it's good or should be considered music.  Same thing with art.  Anyone can throw some paint at a canvas.  That's not art.  There has to be something beautiful and captivating about it, something that shows you clearly have a talent that not many other people have.  If everyone can do it, it's not special and shouldn't be considered art or music.  Anyway, that's my two cents.     

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Busy Week

This week has been a busy one and we have two more events before the week is over.  My husband and I used to lead a church community group and one of the young women who attended moved to Colorado and then our group was restructured and we moved to a different group.  The young woman who moved away is back for a week to visit and clean out a storage unit.  She stayed at our house on Monday night (we had community group that evening so she can by after we got home) and last night and I think she's going to be staying here on Saturday night as well.  Although we don't have the most comfortable or spacious accommodations, we're happy to let her sleep on a blow up bed in our spare room in the basement.  Last night, we invited the members of our old community group over to eat some burgers and spend some time catching up.  Almost everyone was able to attend and it was a great time.  Tonight we have a birthday party for Daniel's sister.  Tomorrow night, Daniel and I are going to Ode To Joy, a classical music concert in downtown Wichita.  We aren't usually so busy and I enjoy our more relaxed, free schedule.  Daniel works pretty long hours so we try to keep our evenings mostly free so Daniel can have father/son time with Josiah. 

If the weather is nice next week, Josiah and I are going to go to the zoo.  I'm going to get a year pass because he loves animals and I have a feeling that we're going to spend many hours there this summer. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

"Parenthood"

I've started watching a TV show called "Parenthood."  I really liked it in the beginning but recently, some of the situations have gotten a little nauseating.  The show is based around an older couple, their four grown children and children's spouses, and their grandchildren.  One of the things I really like about the show is that it's very family-focused.  There may be times when the siblings don't like each other but they're still there for each other and they eventually work out their disagreements.  The married couples are committed to each other.  There have been a few sticky situations but so far, there's been no cheating or affairs.  That's pretty unheard of in today's television. 

One of the couples decided to adopt a baby after they were told that they couldn't have any more biological children (they had one child already).  In the end, the birth mom backed out after giving birth.  Those episodes really hit home.  I often wonder how close we came to being in that situation.  We would have been devastated and the show did a good job of showing how painful it was for them.  This stuff is real.  Until those final papers are signed, anything could happen.  We prayed everyday that our birth mom wouldn't back out.  Thankfully she didn't and we have a beautiful son.  But that's not everyone's story. 

But back to the stuff that's starting to annoy.  It's a toss up between the rebellious teenagers or one of the grown (40 year old) children as to whose behaviour is the worst.  And I'm sure the show is being written that way on purpose but this woman is an adult and a mother and her behaviour is just ridiculous for a woman of her age and situation.  She has no qualms about inviting men into her bed and although she continually talks about how much she loves her children, her actions are very damaging to them (especially since they have a father and they don't want to see their mother with another man).  This makes me angry.  And unfortunately, this stupidity is prevelant in our society.  Mothers and fathers alike claim to love their children and then do things that are extremely destructive to the well-being of those children.  Divorce is the number one example of this.  You say you love your kids?  Then love their mom.  Respect their dad.  Even if it's difficult, fight every day to stay with your spouse and make your marriage work.  I don't care if you're not happy and frankly, neither do your children.  All this hogwash that we're told about how your children just want you to be happy... it's a lie.  They don't want you to be happy if it means having their family ripped apart.  You say you love your kids?  Then prove it.  This woman is a prime example of a parent who says one thing but doesn't back up her words with any actions.  At some point, words become meaningless.