Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Memorial Day Weekend = Home Project Weekend

Hubs and I planned to spend the long holiday weekend with our friends from out of town. Plans changed and we were on our own. We caught up on together-time and sleep, and also tackled a project in our yard.

The previous owners did quite a bit of landscaping but it needed a little tlc. So on the hottest day of the weekend, during the hottest hours of the day, Hubs and I went to buy mulch & plants. I was introduced to a Hubs-made rule that we "do windows on work trips." Translation: no a/c. For this heat-wimp, I groaned but went along with it. About 30 minutes later, we were headed home with 40 bags of mulch, 2 sonic slushies and no plants.

A few hours of work makes a big difference. It says, "I care about my house." I'm happy with the results.




I just need to add some plants for color and this project will be completed.

Now we just need a few more long weeks so we can move onto the list of projects that never ends: painting the shutters & door, painting the kitchen cabinets & island, fixing the shelf in the basement, cleaning the grout in the kitchen...

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Personal Look-Back

I was going to title this post “Personal Reflections,” but that sounded cheesy. I hope you can bear with me through this lengthy post without photos.

Ten years ago I was getting ready to graduate from high school. Ten years! My plans were to go to Cedarville University after a year at the community college. I would have been a nurse practitioner by now if that plan had gone through. Six months later, though, I was on a new track to be a doctor. Deep inside I had wanted to be a doctor instead of a nurse anyway, and one of my professors gave me the encouragement I needed to go that route.

A year and a half later, it was time to transfer to a university. I applied to a handful of schools and at the last minute chose one for no other reason than I needed to make the decision. I was headed to the University of Nebraska to get a degree in Biological Sciences. And it was at this point that my plans started getting fuzzy again. Dad had said a few things that made me wonder if I being a doctor was really the way I wanted to go. Not that this was the first time he had said them, but this was the first time I was listening. I started looking into post-graduate forensic science programs instead of med schools.

Over the next 2 years, my mind changed from Biology to Biochemistry to Nursing to Nutrition to Biology to Nursing to Biology to Nutrition. And maybe even a few more times than that. By the time that I decided I should just finish the fastest way possible, it wasn’t going to happen before I was married. I settled into working and putting Hubs through dental school. God provided a job that I loved with people that I loved, and I realized His faithful providence through my life.

Three years later, Hubs was done with school and I was ready for a change. I was ready to move. For the past 3 years, it had felt like we were living in a stage of life behind the rest of our friends. I was ready to see what was next. And, in my mind, finishing my degree was next and then children. Two tumultuous months later, after much research, many discussions with Hubs and some tears, I finally realized the door to finish my degree at that point was closed. It had been clear for weeks, but I was not able to admit it or surrender to what was obviously God’s leading. Nothing about it made sense and it was going to be a major expense to earn a degree for no other reason than my pride. A few weeks later, I was content again and provided with a great part-time job, sure that our next step was children.

A year later, Hubs and I were spending late nights on the floor of our office putting together application packets for 10 Orthodontic Residencies all over the country. The next months were exciting with uncertainty of where we would be the following year. In December, we found out that place would be St. Louis and rested in God’s providence in sending us there. We spend the next 6 months praying, buying a house, and most of all, enjoying every single bit of time with the people that had become so dear to us. Many times, we asked ourselves why we were leaving a place that we had come to love. But we did. Still, I had not given up that we should have children soon. As many of our friends had begun this next stage, I started feeling behind again.

Eleven months later, brings us to today. And once again, the Lord has brought me through much to discover that He has not forgotten about me, nor does He direct our lives without a purpose. You see, the desire to have a family outside of Richard and I has not subsided. Actually it has probably grown. But God placed us in St. Louis with a purpose beyond growing our family. The blessing of having time to minister to the people around me is great, but I have not used it in my self-absorbed world of pity. There is a neighborhood that surrounds our home of people that need Christ, and I have had little more than small-talk with them. There are people at church who can be served. There are lives we can invest in and encourage. There is Hubs still right beside me who I can help. So having the desire for children and a permanent home are not bad, but letting those desires shift to demands of God is an affront to His sovereignty. To think and act like my plans are better than His, has brought nothing but internal misery. Yielding to His obviously direction and love for me has brought a peace and a desire for His will and to serve others around me.

Ten years later, I am not anywhere near where I planned to be and I barely recognize those dreams anymore. Ten years later, I am exactly where the Lord has directed me and am still learning just as much about His loving gospel and His gracious provision in my life.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The animal update

Sometimes I just sit and look at Ransom in grateful amazement. At 80-pounds of lean muscle, he is stronger than I am. His powerful jaw contains large, sharp teeth that can easily rip through flesh. I am convinced that he does not have the cognitive ability to reason and therefore reacts basically on instinct and learned-conditioning that we have taught. Yet, when he is laying on the floor and I give him a look, his tail immediately begins thumping in excitement. When I ask him to go downstairs, he does. And when we are watching a movie, he forgets his size and insists on cuddling-up in between us on the [two-person] couch.

It's amazing that an animal is so responsive to my words, actions and even my mood.

And he is so happy to please. One night, I had put him outside for the evening. I didn't realize it had gotten dark until I heard him pound on the door to come inside. He happily trotted inside and went straight to the front door rug, but not before I noticed something strange about his mouth.

"Ransom," I said in a suspicious voice. He turned his back-side to me but I was able to see that there was indeed something between his jaws.

"Drop it," I commanded. Slowly, he released the catch and thankfully, it was already dead.

"Leave it," I said, and then realized he should not be in trouble for retrieving, so I praised him and gave him a deep belly rub. This is what he brought me:

I really don't think he killed the bird, but who knows. He didn't seem too upset that I wasn't going to let him eat it, but he was very happy that he brought it to me. Who said you need to have little boys before strange animals get brought into your house?

Ransom needs a brother or sister, but it just hasn't been right yet. I look at adoptable dogs often and hadn't found one that I loved until a few weekends ago when I met this guy.

He's the same age and size as Ransom and I think they would be buds. They'd at least expend their energy on each other playing outside. We are still thinking it over, but I would love to give him another hug!