Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Oh My Glory, Glory, Glory

Isn't it amazing how an ordinary day on a calendar can become very significant? July 26 is one of those days in the life of our family. It is not a holiday or any kind of special day, but it is a day of both celebration and sadness for us. Last year on July 26, my dad lost his battle with cancer. This is sad for us because he is no longer with us, but it is also a cause for celebration because he is now hanging out with Jesus.

If you knew my dad, then you can imagine that he is in a place where:

  • There is ample food (especially donuts and steak.)

  • There is always a softball game to coach.

  • There is a golf course where he is always playing his best game ever (hole-in-ones are the norm on this golf course.)

  • There is always a Southern Gospel sing-a-long going with the Gaither Homecoming people who have left the Earth.

  • There is a big TV with every channel imaginable and he can watch all he wants.

  • There is no heart disease, diabetes, cancer or any other thing that ailed him.

  • Best of all, he is in a place where he is in the constant presence of Jesus.

So, although there is a lot of sadness associated with this day because my dad is no longer here on Earth, it is also a day of celebration at his Homecoming. In the past couple of years Mark and I have suffered 3 significant losses (my dad, his mom and his brother) and when we talk about those losses, we always say how we miss our loved ones but how we don't want them back because they are in such a better place.

So in that vain of celebration, I wanted to share one of my dad's favorite songs. It was a song that was played at his funeral (at his request), but it is not a typical funeral song but it does describe the celebration that I think my dad felt as he met Jesus last year on July 26th.

Enjoy the song (and late 90's fashion and hair!) :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I Need a Vacation

Today is the last day of my self-imposed blogging challenge and after 7 days I guess I could say I need a vacation from blogging. :-) This exercise has reminded me that I did commit to blogging more frequently in 2011 so hopefully I will continue.

Anyway, on to the topic of this post...In the near future, we are going on vacation. (I am not saying the exact dates in the event that someone decides to come rob my house. Although if you find out the dates and have plans to do that, let me know and I will make a list of the things that I would like to replace in the house and you can take those.) :-) Other than a trip to Disney, I cannot remember looking forward to a vacation as much as this one. Maybe it is because we are going in our new minivan. :-) However, I think it has more to do with the fact that I am looking forward to getting away and a change of scenery. We have done some day trips and fun activities locally, but it will be great to get out of town and away for an extended period.

Our final destination is Mitchell, South Dakota because Mark is in a wedding there. However, we are going to take our time getting there. We are hoping to stop at Wisconsin Dells, WI and Walnut Grove, MN...as well as some other places along the way. I am so excited! It will be fun to see some new places and get away from Indiana!

If you have any suggestions of two year old friendly activities in these locations, I'd love to hear them!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pulling the Trigger

Hello All! I know some of you may be disappointed to find out that this post is not all about guns (because I am so into that. Ha-Ha!) :-) Anyway, it is actually about something completely different.

The trigger I am talking about here concerns my employment situation. As most people know, I spent the first 17 years of my professional career teaching Special Education (a job that I enjoyed.) Last school year, I took a leave of absence from my job with the the South Bend School Corporation for a number of reasons, but one of them was so I could pursue the job of Children's Minister at Living Stones Church. So I spent the year away from the public school setting working in Children's Ministry knowing that this spring/summer I would have to make a decision as to whether I wanted to go back to teaching or continue with the ministry job.

I have spent a lot of time thinking, praying and evaluating and have discovered a few things. I discovered that I missed several things about teaching: the school environment, comraderie with my colleagues, summers off and the kids. However, the thing I did not miss was the actual teaching part. Considering my job title is Special Education TEACHER that poses a bit of a problem. :-) So, I have decided that, at least for now, that I am not going to be returning to my position in the schools and continuing to work as the LSC Children's Minister. This does not mean that I won't return to teaching at some point in the future, but for now this is where I am supposed to be.

In many ways this is a huge step of faith for me, but I know it is the right one. I really like what I am doing at the church. It is challenging and fun at the same time. It has been a refreshing change while still being able to use my skills and education.

SBCSC Peeps...I will miss seeing you regularly, but feel free to stop by Living Stones Church. You will typically find me in the Kids Kanyon area. :-) Or, Anna will be in school in a couple years so maybe I will see you then. :-)

LSC Peeps...You are stuck with me! :-)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Adventures in Babysitting-Resolved

Before I started this daily blog challenge, my last post was dated on May 13 and it talked about the babysitting issue that we have had for Anna. You can read that post here http://mickeyfan3.blogspot.com/2011/05/adventures-in-babysitting.html.

After much searching and prayer, our adventures have come to an end. Anna will be attending East Bank Learning Center beginning in August. It is a daycare and preschool program combined. It is nationally accredited and is a Level 4 on the Indiana Paths to Quality so we feel confident that it will be a great place for Anna. In the meantime, Anna is having a Daddy summer and they are both loving it. I think it will be a big adjustment for both of them when Mark goes back to school. :-)

Kind of a short post tonight, but I am pretty tired. More exciting posts tomorrow!! :-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

See the USA in a Chevrolet...or a Honda

Hello Everyone! Welcome to Day 4 of my weekly blogging challenge! If you are a fan of GLEE or if you were alive in the 50's then you will recognize the title of the ad in my blog. Chevy had some ads in the 50's where Dinah Shore sang this song "See the USA in a Chevrolet" and it was reprised by the GLEE cast for the Super Bowl this year. You can watch the GLEE version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JD7EsyYlqlU

Anyway...we were inspired by the Glee commercial and thought that we should do what the song says and see the USA in a Chevrolet and started the search for a new car. OK...so we really don't do things just because Glee suggests them (although as obsessed as I am with that show that is not all that unlikely.) :-) In reality, we knew that our 2001 Saturn with 100,000 miles was nearing the end of it's life and we also were hoping for something a little larger now that we have Anna. We started casually looking knowing that we were in no hurry to buy something, but that if we found what we wanted we would consider buying it. Well, about 1 month ago, we found a great deal on a minivan. However, instead of it being a Chevrolet, it is a Honda...a 2008 Odyssey to be exact. I knew it was meant to be because I have always aspired to be a soccer mom who drives a minvan. :-) We really like it and in the month that we have had it we have taken the see the USA line in the song to heart. The van has already been on short 4 road trips to West Lafayette, De Motte, Holland, and Chicago. We also have a couple of other longer trips planned this summer (more on that later) so we are definitely seeing the USA in our Honda!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

This One Time at Church Camp

So this blog post is a little overdue, but better late than never! Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, we accompanied some kids from our high school youth group to church camp. Let me say, that I love going to camp. I started going to camp in 1985 and have basically been to some sort of camp almost every summer since then. I know you make think that I am insane for wanting to spend a week of my life hanging out with kids (especially middle schoolers) but I love it!! It is a great time for me.

Anyway...this year our high schoolers from Living Stones Church went to a CIY (Christ in Youth) Camp that was held on the campus of Hope College in Holland, MI. This was our first time attending this camp so we were not sure what to expect. However, It was an AMAZING week! I think I can say that it was the BEST WEEK OF CAMP I have ever attended. There are lots of reasons:

  • There was AMAZING food (which typically doesn't happen at camp.)

  • The campus and facilities were great.

  • Anna did really well at the camp, even on the night when we had the fire alarm in our dorm go off 3 time in the middle of the night and had to evacuate the building each time.

  • The worship band was Amazing. You should check out the Jordan Howerton Band on Facebook, Twitter or I-Tunes if you are into that kind of stuff.

  • There were some amazing Living Stoners praying specifically for our kids. (Thanks Carl, Heather, Jeff, Jim, Lowell, Katie, Kathy and Greg)

  • The other adults on the trip were incredible (my hubby Mark and Ann L.)

However, the biggest reason that camp was so amazing was our kids. We had a wonderful group of kids who were amazing. SO.... Ashlynn, Julia, Lena, Mary, Sarah, Haley, Andrew and Isaac...YOU ROCK! Check out the picture of these amazing kids!

Can't wait until next year!!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Big Challenge

Yesterday was the day to begin some challenges in my life. If you read my post yesterday, you will see that I have pledged to blog everyday this week. However, our family started another challenge yesterday as well.

We LOVE to go out to eat and do it very frequently! It is probably one my favorite things to do. Quite often there are special occasions that warrant it: birthdays, anniversaries, date nights, friends or family that are visiting, etc. However, lately we have used reasons like "It's Tuesday" or "I am wearing clean clothes" or "The Sky is blue" as a reason to go out. Really, who can blame us....who doesn't like having someone else cook exactly what you want and then deliver it to your table. :-) It is especially good for me because I am not the most skilled when it comes to being in the kitchen. More often that I care to admit, I have made something that was so disgusting that it was thrown completely in the trash. So eating out is just easier and more convenient.

Yesterday afternoon, I approached Mark about a challenge for us to not go out to eat for the next 3 weeks unless it was absolutely warranted (in a travel situation, a legitimate celebration, etc.) He immediately pulled out his phone and started to call 911 because he was certain that I must be having a stroke or some other neurological crisis because I would never suggest such a thing. :-) However, I was of sound mind when I suggested it and Mark agreed. I know this will be a challenge for both of us, but hopefully we can do it. We will save money, eat healthier and be proud of our accomplishment. If we don't meet the challenge, there will be some shame involved, but at least we will have eaten some delicious food. :-)

ON A TOTALLY UNRELATED NOTE....I had already written most of this post when we had to leave to go to Mark's softball game so I saved the draft. When we came home, we were all sweaty and gross from the disgusting heat so we turned on the water to give Anna a bath before she went to bed. Once we turned on the water, we discovered that we did not have any hot water. I started thinking about how inconvenient it was going to be to have to take a cold shower and how miserable that would be. I started getting really irritated and upset at the prospect of that. Then I was struck by the fact of how self-centered and spoiled I am...there are people all over the world for whom a cold shower would be a great luxury. So, I have no idea how long we will be without hot water, but if I have to take cold showers for a week I will try to remember how incredibly blessed I am. Anyway, I know this has nothing to do with our eating out challenge, but it was on my mind as I finished the blog post.

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

I'm Back

So...it has been almost two months since I have posted on here. So much for my New Year's Resolution of blogging more (unfortunately that is not the only New Year's Resolution that I have been slacking on...but there is still half of 2011 so I have time to get back on the wagon.) :-) Anyway, back to blogging thing...we have been really busy and enjoying the summer and blogging has taken a back seat. However, to get back in the saddle of blogging I am going to attempt to blog everyday over the next week. Here is a teaser of some titles to look forward to:

  • Pulling the Trigger

  • Adventures in Babysitting-Resolved

  • This One time at Church Camp

  • The Big Challenge

  • I Need a Vacation

  • See the USA in a Chevrolet...Or a Honda
See you tomorrow for another exciting episode of Amy 4.0! :-)