Monday, August 25, 2008

Scott's in Dallas!!!!

Praise the Lord! My dad just talked to Scott and he is in Dallas, which means he should be in Louisville this afternoon and they'll be able to drive up yet this evening. Thank you so much for all your prayers. God is so good.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Prayers for traveling speed

My brother is on his way home from Iraq. I didn't mention it before because his leave got switched around and he was planning to surprise my parents when he got home. He left his base on Tuesday this past week, before we knew anything with my grandma. But, I just talked to him and he's still in Kuwait. He was supposed to leave yesterday, but now he's scheduled to leave tomorrow instead. If things go well, he may get here Monday and be able to drive to Ohio. But he may not get in until Tuesday, in which case I don't know if he'd be able to get there in time. First of all, we thank God for His timing in having Scott already on the way home. But now we're praying hard too, first of all for for peace in his spirit, since he went from being super excited about coming on leave to finding out that Grandma died and realizing that all his plans for visiting with family during leave are shattered. We also need God to work in a mighty way in his travel arrangements so that he gets here in time. He is supposed to go from Kuwait to Ireland to Dallas to Louisville and then drive to Ohio. Please pray for favor, speed and safety in each leg of his travel. Thanks

Friday, August 22, 2008

My Grandmother

My grandma is in her last few hours. Please pray for my mom and her sisters as they say goodbye and that she would hang on long enough today for my mom to get there to see her before she goes.

Update: My grandma fought the good fight and has overcome this world. She died around noon. My mom did not get there in time to see her, but was able to talk to her on the phone. Two of my cousins who live nearby went over this morning and read her our favorite story that she used to read to us as kids.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Juggling Life

Lest you think I have it all together, which, ahem, none of you did anyway, I’m really struggling with order and discipline in my life right now. I did really well all through school, all through college, and even in my first two years of graduate school. But the last two years have been a constant battle to maintain order and routine.

One major challenge for me is having no external structure created for me, like classes meeting at a certain time or assignments due regularly. I do have external responsibilities and things that are expected of me, but no established routine or structure to it. I’ve been learning how to impose my own structure on my life and develop my own routines, but one of the challenges lately is that so many things seem to change so often. I start getting into a routine and something changes again. I feel like I’m juggling 10 balls, but every few minutes new balls get thrown in and others get thrown out. And the existing balls keep changing size and weight while I’m trying to juggle them. I’m dropping balls all over the place!

Another major challenge is that I’m very analytical and I have a hard time not over-analyzing everything. It’s really quite comical when I articulate to my dear husband all the things that are running through my mind even over something so simple as putting a load of laundry in the washing machine. This paralyzes me and then I start getting anxious about it all. Having order and routine to my days both imparts structure and takes away the constant re-analysis of what I should be doing when and what comes next, but I’m having such a hard time making it happen.

I’m really good at budgeting money, but really not so good at budgeting time. When I think about what works for me with money, one key is that we set aside money in a number of categories. This means that I’m not constantly making choices between spending money on groceries or spending money on clothes and therefore continually recalculating where all the money should go. Instead, there’s a certain amount of money for each, which gives me freedom to spend money on groceries since I know clothes are taken care of. At the same time, I know that I only have so much for groceries, so I have to use it well. I’m making choices within each category, but not between them, because those choices are already made. I don’t have the same overall structure to my time that I have with my money. I keep trying to establish a routine where I do certain types of things at certain times – having periods of time that are set aside for CDC work, responsibilities for church or things I need to do at home, but every time I start getting into a workable routine, it seems like something else gets thrown in the mix and I don’t know how to keep it in balance. I think one issue might be that I’m trying to be too flexible to accommodate everybody else and I end up giving away my order and routine. I guess I need to guard my time boundaries as closely as I guard other boundaries.

The main reason I’m writing this, aside from helping me think through it, is to ask if any of you have any thoughts, insight, experience or encouragement that might be helpful to me or to others. What do you find that works for you? What do you struggle with when it comes to using time well or balancing different aspects of your life. Have you read any good books or articles lately about time management? Please do share. And please pray for me, that I would be set free in this area, because I know that God is a God of order and not of confusion and disarray.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gotta love it

People often ask me how I like living in Michigan. I've been here for five years (can you believe it!?) and I've mostly gotten used to it. There are definitely things I miss about Kentucky (hills, anyone?) and about Louisville (it really is a fabulous place to live), but we do have things in Michigan that are hard to find anywhere else. Here are a few pictures of the gorgeous Upper Peninsula from our trip with my parents at the end of May. We visited Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Tahquamenon Falls. The weather was gorgeous while we were there, unlike the previous week when they had snow. Eek! Like I said, I'm mostly used to Michigan. To this Kentucky gal, May means warm, sunny and lots of flowers.

We did get some fabulous flowers, albeit south of the bridge:

And I'm getting better at depth of field:

Where else do you get fresh water this blue?

... and rock formations like these?

... that break up and wash up on the shore as stones like these?

Where else do you find beach grasses in such bright colors?

... and waterfalls so perfect for photographing?

Oh, I forgot to mention that Dave and I realized on this trip that within two months we had seen four of the five great lakes along with the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In two years, we touched or swam in three quarters of the world's oceans. Seeing as we're not too likely to swim in the Arctic any time soon, we'll have to be content with that!

More pictures available here.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

At Home with the Boys

One day last week I had 8 boys playing at my house. D had gone with me to the bank and grocery store, and wanted some cereal when we got back since we had gotten milk while we were out. There were a few more boys around when we got home so I invited them in as well. The next thing I knew, we went from 4 boys eating cereal at the table to 8 boys doing puzzles, playing with legos, helping me cook, and playing with our giant pick-up sticks game. 5 of them stayed for dinner to try what they’d helped cook. They had a lot of fun and I enjoyed having them here. It’s exciting to see our relationship with each of them developing and to know that they feel comfortable and loved at our house. While we were cooking, one of them said that he wished I were his mom, and I had no idea how to respond. I don’t know his mom or if he even has a mom in his life, so I couldn’t tell him that he has his own great mom. All I could think to say was that I’m happy to be his neighbor.