Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Addition remodel update -- week 17

All the trim is up, columns built, nail holes filled, caulking done, and lots and lots of sanding finished.
Everything looks great now, but I can't wait to see it with paint in just a few days!

This is what my kitchen counter looks like every day--covered with tools, sawdust, etc.
I am trying to be patient, but I am sick of living in a construction site.  I will be so glad to have things clean, even if everything isn't finished yet. We will love the extra space when it is all finished, but it is a challenge right now to keep a good attitude about the living conditions.  Praying for perseverance!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Night Football

There has been a chill in the air this week. Everyone has noticed it and talked about it.
What a refreshing feeling it has been, after the lousy weather this summer has brought us.

It came just in time for football. I can't wait to grab a sweatshirt for the football game tonight!

Brandon is playing his last season of football. Have I really sat at games for five years, plus two years of flag football? I am a little shocked that it is coming to an end this year. (I'm guessing I will experience similar emotions many times this year as "mom-of-a-senior".)

Ellyn is a manager for the team again this year.
Friday nights mean football around our house in the fall.

A friend and I took pictures of the team and made this poster. It is for sale from the athletic boosters--it's fun to see it hanging in the hallway at the school!

Go Bombers!

Kenny Chesney - The Boys of Fall

Try to watch this without crying:

Monday, August 23, 2010

Addition/Remodel update -- weeks 15-16

New deck...much smaller than before.
More of a walkway to the patio, which is how we always used the deck anyway.

 looking toward the front porch and new piano room:

hallway with the wood floor getting removed:

Friday, August 20, 2010

School Days, School Days

Brandon's senior year, Ellyn's sophomore year:

Ryan's sixth grade year:

Meggan's fifth grade year:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

With thoughts of Jane and all who are suffering...

Saint John says that even in heaven there will be a song that can only be sung by those "who had been redeemed from the earth." Doubtless it is a song of triumph, a hymn of victory to the Christ who made us free. But the sense of triumph must come from the memory of the chain.

No angel, no archangel can sing it so sweetly as I can.  To sing it as I sing it, 
they must pass through my exile, and this they cannot do.
None can learn it but the children of the cross.

The Father is training thee for the part the angels cannot sing; and the school is sorrow.

In the darkest night He is composing your song.
 In the valley He is tuning your voice.
In the storm clouds He is deepening your range. 
In the rain showers He is sweetening your melody.
In the cold He is giving your notes expression.
And as you pass at times from hope to fear,
He is perfecting the message of your lyrics.

by George Matheson (1842-1906)
 Scottish theologian and pastor who wrote the hymn "O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go"

Friday, August 13, 2010

Too much rain!

Earlier this week, central Iowa got way too much rain. My rain guage had 12 inches over three nights of thunderstorms. This was on top of a record breaking summer for rainfall. I am so sad for friends who are dealing with wet basements and loss of property.

Ames turned into an island on Tuesday and Wednesday, with barely any way in or out of town. The Skunk River and Squaw Creek crested at totals higher than the record crests during the 1993 floods. I-35 was closed just south of Ames, as well as U.S. highway 30. Many other routes in and out and around the city were impassable. 

The final blow came when Ames had eight water main breaks and the city lost their water supply. Electricity was lost around the city too.

Hilton Coliseum on Iowa State University campus filled with water causing the basketball floor to float. We drove through Ames last night, since the flood waters have receded, and there is flood damage everywhere. The water supply is still very precarious. There is a boil order and residents are being asked to conserve--no laundry, minimal toilet flushing, short showers, etc.

Click here to see an arial view of the flooding in Ames.

We live in Huxley, south of Ames. Many of our neighbors and friends here have flooded basements, but our basement is dry--so thankful. The City of Huxley has asked all residents to conserve water, because if there is any more flooding we will likely lose our water supply. They also asked residents to prepare for a water emergency by having a two day supply on hand.

I am praying for some dry weather, but more rain is forecast for tonight.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Maybe Church Camp isn't Heaven...

I know I said that church camp is practically like Heaven to me. I might have to reconsider that statement.
This year, church camp just didn't go very well for us. Meggan broke her foot while jumping into the pool during the first full day of camp.  

Imagine jumping high into the air off a diving board, stiffening your body like a pencil, pointing your toes as they enter the water...  
This is what Meggan did, only she was jumping from the edge of the pool into five feet deep water. Her foot hit the bottom of the pool much harder and much more quickly than she expected. The toes on her right foot rolled under and a bone broke in her foot, bulging out on the side. 

We propped her foot and iced it for a while, not exactly realizing that it was broken. The camp nurse took a look and encouraged us to get an x-ray. We drove 40 miles back to Ames on Monday evening and spent a couple of hours in the emergency room. The foot was broken and a temporary cast was put on. We spent the night at home, to give us a good night of sleep and some time to process it all--not fully knowing how or where to have her sleep at camp.

The only tears she shed were those of concern over missing camp, so the next morning we headed back to Hidden Acres. Since I was a staff member, it worked fairly well for her to stay in my room with me. I drove her to the buildings for crafts, meals, and chapel services. She missed swimming and recreation.

Some of you may remember that she got the stomach flu while we were at camp last year. I think she may have to stay home next year!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Remodel/addition update weeks 12-14

 Things are moving along with our addition, although not nearly as quickly as we would like! We are basically done tearing things out (still some wood floor left to remove), which means we've turned a corner. Now most of the time is spent building the new. The house is the most torn up that it has been during this whole process. We are trying to be patient!
week 12-13: demolition of walls, new walls framed; all light switches, electrical outlets, canned lights installed
tearing out my old kitchen--it used to be blue...then red

week 14: Foam insulation finished in new family room, fireplace installed, heating/cooling finished, deck built, ready to begin drywall

new family room:

new piano room:

new dining room:

We have no furniture in the main living area now. When you walk in the door, you have to go downstairs to have a place to sit down. Our table is squeezed into the kitchen, so we don't all sit down around it. I am pretty sure that it will be about a week until we can get it back into a normal location. We will still have plywood floors, but at least then we will be able sit down at the table to eat as a family.

My new kitchen is fully functioning, except it has no flooring or under cabinet lighting. I love the abundant cabinet storage and counter space. I am still planning to add a small island, but I haven't decided what I want yet.
I love my new appliances and how they function; I hate the stainless steel and how dirty or smeared it looks almost all the time. I am still learning how to clean it and have been surprised that spraying and wiping don't seem to be enough! I do think the stainless appliances look nice with my cream cabinets (when they are clean!).

I LOVE the Electrolux duel fuel/double oven range. The two ovens are electric (each controlled separately) and the cook top is gas. It is an amazing work horse! One night I baked salmon, asparagus, and two pans of brownies in less than an hour. I have not had any trouble transitioning from electric to gas for the cook top. It has been a pleasure to use my iron skillets again!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

A Time to Mourn

It is so hard to understand why some people experience so much loss and pain in this world. In recent years my family has been hit hard. When my brother Jason and cousin Tanner died in a house fire four years ago, we were rocked to the core. Click here to read the story. It happened April 15, 2006.

A year and a half later, on December 13, 2008, Jason's special friend Jackie died of cancer that was found after Jason and Tanner died. She was only 29 when she died and was loved by so many. She would have probably become my sister-in-law. We couldn't believe that in such a short time, both Jason and Jackie were gone. Everything had happened so quickly. We gathered with the same group of people to grieve her death and try to cling to each other for comfort. Their absence in our lives screamed out at me every time we got together with family and friends.

Last Saturday, July 31, a tragic accident took the life of Tanner's younger sister Tegan, who was 24. She was beautiful and full of life. She will be greatly missed by so many. It is almost beyond comprehension that Tanner and Tegan are both gone. Please pray for their mother Jane, who is such a wonderful, loving person. My heart is broken for her. This is a picture of Tegan with her boyfriend Brad, who is hurting terribly. Please pray for him as well.

It says in the Bible, "He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain."
I know there is a place being prepared for those who call out to Jesus. 
It is a place where we won't experience loss or hurt or pain anymore. 
It is the place where we can fellowship with the One who created us. 
The place where we will never say goodbye.

God longs for us to join Him in that place.

He knows this world brings so much suffering.
"Be patient," He says.
"I have so much more for you."
"Rest in Me. Let me carry you through this pain,
until you join me in Heaven."

I am trying to be patient for that day. 

 I repeat these words to myself over and over:
"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."

The promise of overflowing with hope...overflowing...gets me through tough times.

Friday, August 6, 2010

My baby is going bye-bye...

my baby grand piano, that is.

When I was 16, I used the money I had saved for a car to buy a baby grand piano. I found this piano in a music store in Independence, Missouri. I loved the stained wood and the unique double legs. It looked like an antique, which I preferred over a glossy, black, modern look. It had been owned by a little old lady, and I knew I would likely never see another one like it.

I used it to teach piano lessons through high school, college, and after I quit teaching and became a stay-at-home mom. It has been moved from my parents' home in northern Missouri to our tiny apartment on the campus of Iowa State University, then to an old farm house we rented, next to our first home purchased in Ames, and finally to this house in Huxley. Sometimes we moved it ourselves, but as we got smarter and had a little more money to spare, we hired someone to move it.

Due to our remodeling project, the piano needed a safer place to stay for a few weeks. Some very nice men came to get it today. They treated it very carefully and had all the right equipment to move it appropriately. It will stay in an air conditioned office until it is safe to come back home. I was so sad to see it go.

Dear piano... we will miss you. When you come back home, we will dust you and tune you and tickle your ivory keys. I hope the time that you are away from us goes very quickly. Our home won't be the same without your beautiful music.

Almost Heaven...

that's what I think about church camp.

I love camp. I have loved camp since I was 9 years old and went to 4-H camp for the first time. I attended 4-H camps or church camps every summer until I finished high school.  I used to pack in the winter (in spite of my mother's pleading), because I was so excited about the idea of camp later in the year.  I would put the suitcase under my bed and dig the summer clothes out of it for months, until the camp date finally arrived.

It was at church camp when I was in junior high, that I decided to give my life to Christ. I understood for the first time that I was separated from a perfect and holy God, because I was born a sinner. I was shown in the Bible that we are all sinners and that Jesus paid for our sin, so that we can have eternal life in Heaven. His death on the cross bought me eternal life. It was around a campfire one night that I asked Him to be Lord of my life forever. No wonder I love camp. My life was changed forever while I was at camp almost 30 years ago.

Last year, I had the privilege of attending our church's camp with all four of my children. My two teenagers were counselors, my younger two were campers, and I was the craft lady/photographer. It was one of my favorite things to ever do.

Camp is a retreat for me.
I love worshipping together with a bunch of people every morning and evening. I love hearing a message from God's word twice a day. I love being encouraged to memorize scripture.
I love the deep relationships that are built within a few days, because we are all spending so much time together.
I love the fun of camp: games, crafts, parties, swimming, the crud war (see pic below), campfires, tie dye.

the crud war is a giant food fight--then everyone jumps in the lake to clean up:

This year we are returning to camp the first week of August, minus one teenage boy. Brandon is not going with us, because he just returned from a mission trip to Panama and has football starting soon. We will miss him, but he will help keep Byron and Mandie our dog company while we are gone.