Tuesday, May 27, 2008

No news and sad news

First the “no news” – contrary to what I may have led you to believe in the last post (completely unintentionally), we are NOT expecting a baby any time soon. Just wanted to clear that up. It’ll probably be at least a year or two before we’re there. And don’t worry – I will let you all know! I meant it would be good preparation someday, but not today!

Now for the sad news – our little kitty Miles has been sick for several months. This weekend he got much worse and we were at the point where there was really nothing left we could do. So this morning we had to take him in and let him go. Lots of tears. The vet looked like he was about to cry too. He’s been working so hard for this cat for several months and never thought it would come to this point either. I don’t think I realized just how much I loved him until I had to let him go. He’s spent most of the last two months laying in my lap while I worked, but really not feeling well or being able to play like a healthy cat. He was a really sweet little guy and we’ll miss him a lot. Marshall is definitely acting sad and seems a little upset - like he can tell something's wrong but he's not totally sure what it is.

Friday, May 16, 2008

On why having kittens is good preparation for a baby:

- they wake you up crying in the middle of the night
- they want to be held all the time
- you’re always cleaning up their poop
- they’re so much fun when they snuggle up with you
- they need to be fed every few hours
- you worry when their poop’s not normal
- they do things they’re not supposed to do to get your attention
- they take afternoon naps
- you wish they could talk and just tell you what’s wrong
- they need time to play, unwind and just be a cat
- best of all, they’re sweet, cuddly and love you back

They may not smell as sweet as a baby, but they PURR!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Enjoying the sunshine

This is Marshall's new favorite spot now that spring has come and we've opened the windows. He can sit for hours looking out the window (and he is a very active cat!) The only problem, though, is that he's getting too big to fit on the windowsill unless the window is open. Notice the size differential between the cats. Marshall no longer looks like a kitten and I think Miles will look like a kitten for the rest of his life! He's had lots of recurring health issues and he's still a teeny little kitty, weighing in at just over 3 pounds. If anybody has any good ideas on how to beef up one cat while slimming down the other, please do share!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Strength for the Moment

Wow. God is good and knows exactly what I need. I forget that sometimes.

As you very well know if you’ve been reading my blog for ANY length of time, I’ve really been struggling to finish my thesis. It has honestly been one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life, for a number of reasons, and not just the typical ones. I was planning to write more about all of that when I was done – we’ll see. Anyway, it has been such a struggle, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I know that I’ve come so far – I turned in my draft, I presented and defended. Two of the three last big steps are done. All that’s left is editing, revising, rewriting and clarifying the things my committee pointed out. It’s the last major push. But I’ve had such mental, emotional and spiritual blocks all week long, not to mention the car drama and other distractions (but that didn’t get me down this time! ☺) Now I’m definitely under pressure to get it done. The deadlines are getting closer (yes, I’m one of those deadline people).

Well, as I was getting down to work this morning, a dear friend from church called to check on me. I’d been on her mind for a few days. She hadn’t seen me for a while and just really felt led to call and see how I was doing. She’s one of those people who I don’t know super well yet, but still have a deep connection with. I was able to explain what my struggles were right now, as well as the victory of not letting myself be dragged away and discouraged by the distractions this week. She prayed for me right then, with obvious power and insight from the Spirit. It was exactly what I needed at just the right moment. Thank you Jesus. This season is almost over. The struggle is almost won. May the Lord be glorified in this work. I can't wait to look back on all of this with time and see what God has done.

"We also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4

Thursday, May 08, 2008

We are back in business!!

With the cars, at least. The other resident who was on call at the hospital last night offered to let Dave take her car home and bring it back when he came in this morning, so Dave got to come home! Hurray!! First thing this morning, we took her car to pick up Dave's car from the shop. I drove Dave's car back to the hospital to get my car. The plan was to have my car towed to the auto shop near our house, then I could walk home from there. But the car started!! We wondered if the problem last night was because of the rain and it was. The distributor cap was pretty old and was leaking. The best part is that the repairs for both cars weren't nearly as expensive as they could have been. We were thinking we could have an issue with the starter and the brakes could have ended up being quite costly. Also, we should be getting our rebate check next week, which will cover these extra expenses without having to dip into the emergency fund, since our car repair fund has run out. It means that less will go to paying back student loans, but it also means that our emergency fund remains intact should a real emergency arise. I guess this way some of our "stimulus" rebate will go toward two local businesses.

Now if only I could get all my thesis edits done in the midst of the other craziness... (PLEASE keep praying for that one - for diligence, focus and the ability to think and write clearly so I can GET THIS THING OUT OF MY LIFE and move on!!)

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

and another one bites the dust...

So Dave just called from the hospital. Now the other car won't start. It's not a dead battery - it turns over; it just won't start. The first car is still at the shop, since we had no way to get there to pick it up today before they closed. I planned to go with Dave on his way to work tomorrow morning to pick it up. So he's stuck at the hospital and I'm at home and we currently have no car in our possession that is working!

In the grand scheme of things, I know it's not that big of a deal; we'll definitely survive. I've lived without a car before and the majority of people around the world live their whole lives without a car. But it helps when you can plan on it ahead of time! It does mean that Dave can't come home and I can't run the errands I wanted to run that are not within walking or biking distance. But at least there are beds and food at the hospital. Dave's going to see if the person on call tonight might be able to drop him off in the morning to pick up the first car. In the meantime, we'll figure out what to do with this car!

I realize now that I could have taken the bus to go get his car, but since it would have involved several transfers on the bus, walking several miles in the rain at either end of the bus line, or taking my bike along and then trying to fit it in the car once I got there, I figured it would be easier to just wait and go in the morning. It just happens to be at a mechanic's shop across town because it was closer to have it towed there and because we knew our normal guy was closed already and it's not a safe place to leave a car outside overnight.

I'm sure I sound frustrated, and I am a bit, but I also find this quite ironic and a bit humorous! I'm not sure how much this is an attack on our work and ministry or if God is trying to grab our attention for something, but I'm praising Him right through if it's an attack and my eyes are open if he's trying to show me something.

I just looked at the bus schedule and it looks like Dave could ride the bus home, and ride it back again in the morning in time for his morning lecture, but it would be an hour and a half each way. I think I'd just as soon stay at the hospital than spend 3 hours on the bus, even if I could sleep in my own bed!

Well, I'd better get back to the pot of soup on the stove...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Showing off Detroit

Last weekend, out friends Shaun and Courtney came to visit before Courtney leaves for Kenya for the summer. On Saturday, we showed them some of the sights around Detroit, including the Heidelberg Project, an outdoor art exhibit addressing many of the urban issues in Detroit (read more here and here). One of my favorite parts is the dot house:We had a picnic lunch at Belle Isle (complete with Dave climbing the rafters!)We also visited the Conservatory. I had never been before and it was amazing! Plus, it’s free! Here’s a sampling of what we saw:

It's a nice spot for taking family pictures:
And silly ones too:
I love this picture of Shaun and Courtney, though Courtney finds it less than amusing, since most of their wedding pictures look like this too!
I took a zillion pictures of the tulips out front, in an attempt to practice my photography skills, but most of them didn't turn out very well. I had the shutter speed and aperture balanced well for the lighting (yes!), but I think I had the shutter speed set too fast to capture the details of the petals very well. Here are a couple that were okay:
Harold the pug also got quite the photo shoot:
Since we live 5 miles from Canada (is that crazy or what!?) and Shaun had never been, we HAD to make a trip to Canada. Shaun was super-excited, so we documented everything.
We went 5 pin Canadian bowling, since it's something you can only do in Canada. Try explaining to the immigration officer why you have to come to Canada to go bowling! Since it was Saturday night, they had music and lights and our shoes glowed.
We had a fun time and I love showing people the various sides of our city. And just imagine, YOU too could have this much fun should you decide to visit us in Detroit!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Odds and Ends

Just a few odds and ends to share today:

1. The brakes on Dave’s car went out on his way home from work today. On a busy highway. In the middle of a construction zone. At rush hour. Eek! He managed to get off onto the side, downshift and stop himself without hitting anybody or anything. Did I mention it was the middle of a construction zone? While waiting for the tow truck, he said he saw several near collisions, and that’s with brakes that work! Praise God that he didn’t hit anything or get hit by anybody! Right now, I’m waiting for him to call back and tell me he’s ready to be picked up at the mechanic’s shop.

2. We have a million ice cream trucks that come through our neighborhood every day. What really cracks me up is the one that plays La Cucaracha. Come on, who in their right mind would buy ice cream from a truck playing a song about a cockroach!?!?

3. Another thing that cracks me up is that my neighborhood CVS has had the same 20 bottles of self-tanning lotion on the clearance rack for like the last 4 months! Um, did I mention my neighborhood is 96% African American? Need I say more?

4. Now that I have a site meter on my blog, I can see google searches that have lead people to my blog. While they’re not as interesting as, say Jungle Mom’s or Jackie’s, it’s been fun to see what’s brought people to my blog. Here are a few, and mind you, these are the links people actually clicked, though I’m not sure they got what they were looking for on my blog!

Zambia bus schedule
How to start over again
Reflections on transition
kenyan graduation regalia
pictures of kids toys in malawi
village images in western Kenya
paradoxical view
unique uses for peanut butter
Mulanje pizza photo (I looked at the google search page, and I was shocked how many blogs come up for “mulanje pizza photo”. Apparently, the pizza place must be the only place to eat after climbing Mt. Mulanje in Malawi!)

I’ve also had lots of people from various parts of the world come looking for pictures of Lake Malawi. Maybe since it’s gotten more hits, it’s moved up on the google search results? Makes me wish I’d taken more pictures of it or said something more interesting about it!