Something So Big

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween Teaser

We had a little pre-Halloween celebration on Saturday with a glorious, break-in-the-rain sunny day. If you're a parent, you probably recall that the slightest hint of fall (usually the first day of school) brings forth a child's overwhelming urge to dream up a creative expression of him/herself. And the promise of candy only strengthens that urge!

Wynne returned as Strawberry Shortcake once again --thanks Grandma Jan for that Thrift Shop find last year!--and the other kids really put some thought into their costumes. Being a theatre minor, you'd think my kids would have these beautifully-sewn, breathtaking costumes. I wish. Oh well, they turned out pretty cute, anyway! We revamped some of Cy's old clothes for Ally's Olympic softball uniform, picked up a skeleton mask at Dollar Tree and turned Cy loose with a pair of scissors, dug up a safari hat and army shirt for Paige's zookeeper, and scored a head microphone at Goodwill for Singer Shae. Works for me!

Stonefield Village is a wonderful reproduction of a 19th century farm and village near Cassville. Every year the folks in Cassville decorate many of the village buildings, turning the barns into haunted houses and such. Children are invited to come trick-or-treating, and it is a wonderful time!

This year was even more wonderful because we arrived in the parking lot at the same time as some friends of ours! Wynne was so excited to see "my best friend Ava".

As we approached the covered bridge leading into the village, we saw a Spider Stew brewing and a coven of witches. They were cackling away, and some of the kids were a little bit apprehensive to go further!

But we soon learned that this coven was a friendly coven. Whew!

Next, Annika the cat and Shae the pop star led us to the school house.

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the whole adventure was this witch's vintage Barbie-type mask. Remember those plastic sweat-catchers we used to wear in the 70s? I wish I had a closer picture of this piece of coolness.

Cruella DeVil read a Halloween story in the General Store by the light of a lantern and the warmth of a pot-bellied stove.

After a few scares at the livery stable, creamery, firehouse, jail and depot, we finally made it safely to the boardwalk! It was fun to see our friends Mason and Hannah there.

They're standing in front of the Saloon, which scored #1 on our treat-meter. The friendly barkeep and his wife had a puppy to pet, doughnut balls, CHOCOLATE bars, and root beer. Who can beat that??
Next door to the saloon was the photograph gallery where Ed and Maralee Preston so generously took pictures of every visitor. Our kids joined the cutest little Bat and Cat for a photo that turned out waaaay better than mine. (Thanks, Ed!)

The evening was upon us when we left Stonefield Village. What a fantastic afternoon it was!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.--Romans 15:13

Monday, October 26, 2009


Who can resist the jump??


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!--Philippians 4:4

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wait on the Lord

Waiting isn't one of my favorite things to do. I doubt if anyone really enjoys waiting, do they? Yet, waiting is our "assignment" this week from our pastor--to be still and spend 30 minutes alone with God. It has been written, "To wait on the Lord is to stop all activity, quiet yourself, and focus your attention on Him."

Oh boy, stop all activity? Quiet myself? Focus on Him? For THIRTY MINUTES??
That is going to be a tough one!

I am always doing something. Productive or not, it's "something". I spend a lot of my day trying to figure out what to do next or how to multi-task better. Always trying to save time so I can have "free time" to do something fun with my kids or read a book, surf the net, whatever. (I was going to include "have an uninterrupted conversation with my husband", but it's football season so that's not a realistic goal at this time.) Then at the end of the day, I generally look back and say to myself, "Geez, I didn't get as much done today as I should have" or "What exactly did I accomplish today?" So this "stopping all activity" and "quieting myself" stuff is not exactly my forte`.

But God wants less of that and more of my attention. He didn't create people to just look at them and play with them like Barbie dolls. He wants a relationship with us; He gave us a free will so we wouldn't be robots, but that we would have the choice to relate back to Him. I keep telling my kids, "God hard-wired us to want to know Him better." And so I read my Bible, I read my devotions, I pray every morning--I am trying to get to know Him better.

There's one area I keep messing up on, though. The waiting. The "be still and know that I am God" part. The listening for His response. He gave us the Holy Spirit, and sometimes I don't really quiet myself enough to feel the Spirit nudging me. If you didn't know it by now, I am Type A and like to make the first move. (Just ask my husband how difficult it is to let him lead in a dance. Oh wait- we haven't danced in about 3 years. Never mind!)

So this week, somewhere, somehow--maybe even today--I am going to take 30 minutes and do nothing. I'm going to try waiting for the Lord. (Can I at least fold clothes while I'm waiting? Um, nope, better not.) You know how people run around and stress for days and days on end, then they end up getting sick? Well I kind of think that God built that into us too, that "refer to your Creator" mechanism. "Slow down and concentrate on Me once in a while," He says. "Now that I have your attention!" C.S. Lewis wrote "Pain is God's megaphone." And although I don't wish to convey that I think God WANTS us to be in pain or delights in striking down people every now and then, I do believe that He uses that pain to still us, to speak to us, and to wait for us to draw closer to Him once again.

Dear friends of ours are facing a diagnosis, a future of uncertainty and pain. The last thing they want to do, I'm sure, is wait. Wait for the muscles to deteriorate. Wait for the body to become dependent on others. Wait for who-knows-what-else. Yet God has been speaking to them and through them for several years, and they know that He is in control and that He will do a mighty work through them. And so they draw near to Him and to His people who love and follow Him.

And tonight - the conference showdown. The big game. My stomach has been curdling since yesterday! Ah, the waiting. What good does it do to wait and worry? God says, "Wait on Me. Focus on Me." Prayer is not the same thing as worry. So I must learn to fix on Him and what He wants to do. He's in charge, and that's a darn good thing!

Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.--Psalm 27:14
--but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.--Isaiah 40:31

Monday, October 19, 2009

Smiles All the While

Ally had a lot to smile about this weekend. First, her birthday was on Friday, Game Day, and we won a big game! Dad put her name in the program, too ("Happy Birthday to our Stats Girl")--that made her feel pretty special.

Next, we had a beautiful day of sunshine and slightly warmer weather on Saturday. Ally got ready for her friends to come over and took her annual picture with her Birthday Buddy, Mickey. (Born the same year; Mickey will be quick to remind you that he entered the family first!!)

Five friends and one cousin came over for lunch, then we all went to the big gym to play. Free reign of the high school gym is pretty big stuff for a bunch of girls. They had a blast!!

Back home, it was time for some cake and ice cream. Our darling daughter. (Cy did a pretty slick job lining up those candles, didn't he?)

Present time, always a lot of fun. We hate having friends bring gifts--we just wanted a play date--but you know how people can't resist. Plus it's fun to see what kids come up with, to give to their friends. The house was full of GIRLS that day! (Cy and Dad went to scout a football game.)

One of the presents was from cousin Claire and family--Hyper Dash. It is awesome!! And one level of it even promotes math skills!

When the friends left and the boys arrived home, we went out for supper. Ally picked Steve's Pizza Palace. It was our first time in their new building. Lucky us! We got to eat in the pirate ship at Captain's Cove! Mark actually didn't mind the pizza this time--we had a cheese for the kids (of course) and bacon cheeseburger for the parents. Plenty for leftovers!

More cake and ice cream, because Dad and Cy missed the afternoon festivities. Good thing we made a double cake!

I just love my big girl's smile!

In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you--1 Thessalonians 5:18

Friday, October 16, 2009

Eleven is Exciting!

Last night was Ally's last volleyball match for the season, along with being her Birthday Eve. Turning 11 is pretty exciting for her. The match went back and forth--we won the first game; they won the second, and the third game was very close. (Is it just me, or do the opponents in maroon look a LOT older than 5th and 6th graders??)

You've heard the saying "It takes a village to raise a child"...well in our case, it takes a village to fix my girls' hair. Here we see that Wynne was the lucky recipient of a French braid make-over. Thanks, Maria!

These shots are pretty dark because I had the camera in "extreme action mode" or whatever it's called. I still don't have this thing figured out yet. Just push the button and hope for the best.

I love this picture. Seeing your name on the back of a shirt makes it so much more "official", you better behave because that's your family name you're wearing there! (But we don't have too much to worry about with Ally; not yet anyway....) And #2 was my volleyball number in high school. She wanted #16 (her softball number and her birthdate) but that was already taken.

So this is the 3rd game, it's rally scoring to 25 and I think the score was 23-22 in our favor. You have to realize what rally scoring is...somebody ALWAYS scores a point, on every play. If the serve doesn't make it over the net, the other team gets a point. So this is high-pressure time for the server. And Ally has usually been serving it underhand...that is a safer bet for her. I thought to myself, "just hit it underhand and get it over, honey"...but Ally rose to the occasion. She served a perfect overhand serve which was not returned. 24-22!! Game Point!! Rather exciting for a soon-to-be-eleven-year-old (and her mother).

And then it was time for one last serve.

ACE!! We won the game!! Look at our little T-bird (5th grader) with all those big 6th graders!!

One of the parents even brought a cake. Fun times!

Speaking of cake, we made THREE cakes and 24 cupcakes yesterday. (Thank goodness for cake mixes.) A double for Ally's birthday party (she's having a few friends over to play on Saturday, and you have to have left-overs in case we see relatives over the weekend)...another cake for church fall supper on Sunday....and cupcakes for Ally to take to school today. Two bags of powdered sugar and a whole lot of sprinkles later...

I think it was the Siegert Girls Bakery last night! In between washing my fingers and mixing more frosting and taking pictures, I forgot to photograph our little Woots in her sugar heaven. And if that wasn't enough sugar, Ally saw this picture in a cookbook and insisted on putting a little COTTON CANDY on her cupcakes. Hello, mid-afternoon milk break!!

Ally opened one present on her Birthday Eve, this beautiful red velour sweatsuit from Grandma and Grandpa Engelke. Isn't it adorable?

Okay, you can stop growing up now, Ally. Eleven is enough!
Happy Birthday, Honey!! Love, Mom

The LORD bless you
and keep you;

the LORD make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;

the LORD turn his face toward you
and give you peace.--Numbers 6:24-26

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thankful Monday

I am thankful for a loving husband and children. Not always so loving to each other or to me (or from me back to them), but there's a lot of love in this house. Including the sacrificial kind. Over the past weekend I've seen the agony of two marriages around me that are falling apart, and I can't begin to imagine the hurt my friends are going through. Somehow God has blessed me beyond measure in this department. Not much else is on my mind these days, but being thankful for what I have and praying hard for those who don't have that.

I'm thankful for pumpkins that grow despite my horrific gardening skills, for the amazing colors of autumn, and for kids who are for the most part healthy and happy.

I'm thankful for a husband who works hard to provide for his family, yet always has time to wrestle with the kids and keep the house covered in barnboard.

Seriously, just looking at him in this picture makes my heart skip a beat. This could be Mr. October for a Country Boy calendar, couldn't it, ladies?

I'm thankful for terrific friends at church who are helping me put together a Mother-Daughter/ladies-age-5-on-up night with 3 weeks' notice. I'm so thankful for Shelley Hitz for her kind conversation and caring heart, to put words and multi-media images to a cause that is near and dear to my heart (self-image, modesty, and purity). If you're in the area on Friday night, October 30th, bring the girls in your life to be encouraged!

I'm thankful for the One who makes it all possible.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Big Girl Beddy-bye

Well it's official. We're getting old! The last crib mattress was put into storage. Sigh.

But the good news is that Mark's aunt Linda bestowed upon us a beautiful day bed that fits beautifully in Wynne's room. Last night Mark and Ally put up the new bed and the kids christened it.

Believe me, monkey jumping is only allowed when a new bed is put up--then it's TaBOO (at least when Mom and Dad aren't looking).

Wynne felt so special. She even went to bed early last night!

Of course, her beloved night-night had to make its appearance. You can't just jump into a new bed without your security blanket!

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.--Revelation 21:5

Monday, October 5, 2009

Three Things That Make My Life Easier

I need to remind myself to be grateful. Our family devotions for this week include this awesome sharing from Casey Kinsolving: Complaining often characterizes the self-centered life. The God-centered life is one of contentment and thanksgiving in all circumstances.

How true. When I complain, all of my energy and attention is focused on ME and WHAT I WANT or WHAT I DON'T HAVE. How self-centered can you get? Casey goes on to say,
If you want to do God's will, start by giving thanks in all situations. If you develop a mindset of gratitude, your outlook on life will change dramatically.

Now there is more to the devotion than this--Casey goes onto talk about giving thanks in all circumstances, including those painful or troubling ones and how it relates to our faith in what Jesus did for us. But I am going to just start out simply and concentrate on developing my "attitude of gratitude". This week I'm starting out with "3 Things That Make My Life Easier". Nothing earth-shattering or profound here, just simple everyday things that I'm so happy to have. I am grateful for these things...

My "new" rubber boots! I have been wanting chore boots for a few years now. I am too cheap to pay for new ones and never could find anything at the Thrift Shop or yard sales that fit. I used to wear boots like this all of the time when I was milking cows back home, but those boots are long gone (and most likely, too small now that I've had a few kids). I have winter boots, but they're too hot for summer/fall/spring. So now I can go down and feed the animals in DRY style. Wynne's got a pair just like Mommy's! Thanks to my mom and dad for letting me help clean their basement this past weekend :)

Ricola cough drops. They taste great and YET are still effective at soothing a sore throat. Much-needed during this cold, wet football games. GO CHIEFTAINS!!!

This large carry-all thing. I re-discovered it in the basement last week and used it to haul stuff to school for Christian Kids Club. I can fit 12 Bibles, the lesson books, music CDs, CD player, and miscellaneous craft supplies in there. Woohoo!!

Simple things that make my life easier. I could go deeper but I tend to get wordy and overly analytical/philosophical (as you may have noticed already)!

1 Thess. 5:18

Curly Shirley!

Last week Wynne and I went to the technical college salon. I got my yearly perm in my attempt to add a millimeter of volume to my hair. Wynne was so good about waiting, chatting with the salon students, brushing wigs, etc. I arranged for one of the girls to do Wynne's nails and curl her hair.

Despite the rain, my little Curly Shirley managed to keep her "do" till we got home. She was SOOO proud of her nails:

And here's just a shot that my brother-in-law took at my mother-in-law's house this weekend. My little blondies and me!

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.--1 Thessalonians 5:18