"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I just read BLINK by Ted Dekker yesterday, whose books I thoroughly enjoy. Great, fast paced, can’t stop reading story. What was so interesting to me in this story was that a question I have often thought/wondered about was basically the spiritual theme running behind the story. I will butcher it, but this is the jest of it:
--There are 1000 things I could say; and for each one of those, you could have 1000 responses, each. That’s 1,000,000 possible futures at any given second. And every decision of each second brings on the next myriad of choices. So Seth, the character of the book, deduces that because of all the possibilities there could be, there cannot be an all-knowing God who knows the future.

My question has been a little different:
--If God knows what I am going to chose and already has plans made for it, how does prayer affect anything? Won’t I make the choice regardless of praying or not? And God knows if I will pray about it or not anyway, so He’s already made plans for that. (And on and on I could go spinning webs)

In the book, Dekker looks to something that C.S. Lewis wrote about (I guess) in THE GREAT DIVORCE. His summary of it as Seth is explaining it to another character:
“Time. Time and the natures of God. God had to have created time. By definition that would put him outside time. So the future, which is an element of time, doesn’t work for him like it does for us. That nature of him that is with us in time doesn’t necessarily know the future. But that nature of him that is in the future, so to speak, knows it as a matter of history. He’s already been there.”
…(lots of back and forth)
“I know a few things. I know that everything we do changes the future. I know that God changed my future in the desert. As I can see, the only reality that can accommodate both of those is at least similar to the one I’m suggesting. Do you realize the implications of this, Clive?”

“Tell me.”

“Prayer may just be the most powerful tool mankind has.”

So, anyone out there read THE GREAT DIVORCE or have any thoughts on this (Professor H?)?

In the book Seth was given the ability to see things that would happen before they did and could they chose the path he needed to follow to be safe. He slowly began to lose his gift. Then the question became, could he believe that God would still changed the future when he prayed even when Seth could no longer see the results of his prayers or choices?

Friday, February 25, 2011


I went ahead and did it. And boy I am relieved.

Last week from Thursday night to about Monday I was feeling "things". What kind of things, I don't know. I suppose round ligament pain, growing pains, maybe Braxton Hicks, lots of indigestion...just things. Nothing severe, I knew it wasn't contractions. And so as I tried to think these all mean good things.
Now I am around 16 weeks pregnant, but due to my tilted uterus, I won't feel movement until somewhere between 18 and 20 weeks. So I knew they weren't baby movements, which really would have gone a long way in assuring me!
But truthfully I was very nervous. Not two weeks before had I heard the baby's heartbeat; but well, that was two weeks ago. Let me just say how annoyed I am that I still get all fearful so easily. Really, I mean it's not like this isn't my 10th pregnancy or anything (6 live births, just so no one is confused). But every one really is different. And since I just proved to myself that I can't remember part of a conversation from 15 minutes earlier, why in the world would I think that I could remember how I usually feel during pregnancy?!

In traveling around the baby world online trying to figure out what I was feeling, I saw someone make mention renting a fetal doppler. I didn't think much of it again until later that night as I looked around some more. So I found www.babybeat.com. They rent dopplers monthly or on three and six month plans and even sell them. Brian told me that if it was what I needed right now to have some peace to go ahead and do it. I got this one and began waiting not so patiently for it to arrive. I rented it just for a few months, figuring once the baby was active I wouldn't need it.
Arrive it finally did. I listened to the instructions and read the manual. Locked myself in the bedroom and very nervously gave it a try.
You can not imagine the.relief.I.felt. as that heartbeat rang out loud, clear, and strong.

I have no idea how many times I will use it in the next few months, but just knowing I can whenever I need to, for me, is priceless right now. I'll probably end up using it more than I think because the kids enjoy it too.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Sunday, February 20, 2011


So what brings me joy? Honestly, I don’t know anymore. I am such a melancholy person as it is; I just don’t get really excited about anything. Did you have a good time at coffee? Yeah, it was fine. Did you have fun at the retreat? Yeah, I guess so. Really, I just don’t seem to feel one way or the other about a lot of the things. (Brian says I have always been like this, since we started dating.) Maybe it is because I don’t take the time to think about (whatever I did) because that would take reflecting and well, thinking. In the moment I am probably enjoying it, but when I think about it later, I just don’t seem to feel one way or another. I wonder if it is partly because I just rarely seem to do anything-except live life in the daily, so I view everything through the daily. Are there enough good things happening, and some bad things that have to be dealt with that there isn’t time for the great things? I doubt many would believe me or understand this, but by 2-3 pm at the latest, I am done with my day-school, housework, etc, -I somewhat shut down. There are plenty of things I could do, maybe should, but by that time, I have done all the dailys, so it feels like the day is done. I really don’t even like to leave the house that much in the evening. If I have things to do, I prefer to do them right away in the morning and just be home for the rest of the day. I get up an hour earlier than the kids to have alone time before the noise of the day begins, then it’s right on to breakfast, school and lunch. And if we don’t have school done by lunch, it’s a battle to get everyone back to work afterwards. (I cannot imagine my kids at a public school-they would have such a hard time sitting for that long of a day!)
Anyway. I suppose I should think about it some. I suppose I should first try to get what “joy” is. Because I know it isn’t just a happy feeling. Do I like to read? Yes. Does that give me joy? I don’t know. I love to talk to Brian about just about anything. Is that joy? I’ll enjoy playing a few songs on the piano or singing some songs, is that joy?
What gives you joy and how do you know it brings you joy?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

15 years

Wow. 15 years. Only 15 years or already 15 years? :-) I think back to some of the funny things that weekend and how much we didn’t know or think about. We got married in my home church but I didn’t even know the pastor who married us and he really didn’t know much about how the church worked-the sound was awful. I remember going to get Brian fitted for his tux and they asked me if I had my dress altered-well, the thought never occurred to me. The dress fit, wasn’t that all that mattered? Yes, I was the first wedding in the family and I was only 19 at the time, so what did I know?! I always had to wear my watch, so they practically had to pry it off my wrist that day. The people in our wedding were an interesting mix. A lot of Brian’s lifelong friends, and a lot of “period in time” friends for me. Probably the best comment from our video-“Someone forgot to tell them this was a RE-ception” (we were late for the reception, I am sure you can feel in the blank as to what he was thinking of! But we were running around dropping some things off. Really. We were. I promise!)
Well, needless to say we got’ter done and had our 2 days off from milking cows in the big hubbub of Fargo, ND and it was back to life. We lived with Brian’s parents for six months after the wedding before we got our own apartment. I tell you, marrying a dairy farm is not an easy business! The weekend we moved in I took that first pregnancy test and baby #1 was on its way. Three years later we moved into our first home with two little girls.
And then there was life--milking cows, buying and selling cows, moving my parents closer to the grandkids, more babies, homeschooling, life changes, faith changes, adoption, Zambia, relationship changes. Lots of life in 15 years. Some really great, some really, really hard. But we’ve made it so far-together, and only because we are together. I can’t imagine life without this man of mine. Sometimes we joke that if I die, Brian will be married before I am cold in the ground because he can’t live without me. I honestly don’t think I could ever find someone who is all that he is for me and all that I need. I just don’t think it’s possible, so I can’t imagine doing life with someone else. No one could ever replace all that he is for and to me-husband, father (to this crazy klan-that says a lot!) friend, lover, mentor, pray-er, teacher. I cry at the possible thought of ever losing him.

(I am loving looking at the photos-oh the hairstyles, oh how young we were, oh the fashion! If I had time and energy I would post all of them, some are just.so.hilarious!!)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

happy (way late) birthday joe

Yes, this is a couple weeks late. We didn't forget; we did the cake, ice cream, presents and all that. But we were staying at the farm that week and I didn't have any up-to-date photos to post. And every time I have thought about doing this, I wasn't at home or was in the middle of things.
So, here's a late birthday photo of Joe (his b-day is January 26th). He's been with our family for a little over five years now. Sometimes it's wow-five years already! other times it's-what? only five years? We weren't sure what God was doing when He called us to adopt, and it's been quite a ride-the process of getting ready to adopt, then choosing Joe and getting him here, and now the continued family adjustments. I sometimes often times wonder if God thinks more of me than He should!
But he is here with us now, and try as I might I can't imagine what it would be like without him and the journey that he brought about in our lives.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

For most of us, being pregnant is one of the most wonderful things in the world! I LOVE being pregnant, feeling the little life in me. Then the joy of nursing the child and snuggling and marveling at the gift we’ve been given.

One of the worst times to be pregnant though, is after a miscarriage. There is just so. much. fear. Every stomach twinge, anything that feels like bodily fluid leaking out (sorry), every pain. What is it? What does it mean? Is it gas, is it nerves, am I having another miscarriage? How many times a day can you go to the bathroom to check things out?
The fear can be consuming. On one hand you just want to know something definite, so a miscarriage would almost feel a relief-to stop the worrying. Because there is no definite that everything will be okay. You of course don’t ultimately want that, but on that other hand you don’t want to trust that all is well, because you think that as soon as you believe everything will be okay, then it will happen and you don’t know if you can handle it. Better to keep your nerves of steel up.
I’ve had three miscarriages. The first due to an illness I had, the second and third unknown causes. There is a desire to know why? Just so that you know what to look for, what kind of markers to get yourself past. But there is no knowing. I don’t doubt I can get pregnant-but how do I make sure I can stay pregnant this time? What did I do different last time? Does anything feel different? Questions, questions, that I can’t answer.

After the first two miscarriages, I went on to deliver two more beautiful boys. I am praying that will happen again this time (although a girl would be fine too!).

That was written a week or so after I found out I was pregnant. About a week or so later I really had a hard day. I asked a few people to pray about it. It was very hard to choose to trust that things were going to be okay. But I am glad I did (or at least trusted a little more). There are still questioning days though. I went from worrying all the time to realizing I hadn’t even thought about the baby for awhile so was I still pregnant? Do I look pregnant yet? Am I gaining weight, is it starting to show at all? The mind (and the devil!) will play tricks on you.

And now 14 weeks into it, I feel a little relief. Neither of us has really been able to get excited about this pregnancy yet. I think with everything else over the last few years and the last miscarriage...we just don’t want to get excited-about anything really. We hadn’t even told the kids yet. They were so hurt and sad last time, we didn’t want to see that again. I made Brian go with me to my check up so he would be there, just in case…I was so anxious about it. Now that we’ve heard the heartbeat, hit the mark past the last miscarriage…will we be able to enjoy it now? I really hope so. As always, we’d really appreciate your prayers!

And to all our friends and family-yup, this really is how we are telling everybody this time around-gotta love social media! It’s just easier this way-the word gets around faster, we don’t have to worry about missing someone, no awkward moments when/if you aren’t sure what to say-and we don’t have to be asked if we are Catholic or if we know how these things happen…

Saturday, February 5, 2011

I am in the middle of a bible study, “Anointed, Transformed, Redeemed.” Priscilla Shirer, Beth Moore and Kay Arthur each present two of the six weeks of study. It’s going fine, nothing spectacular I guess; but with the way things have been feeling, God would probably have to audibly speak for me to feel anything is spectacular lately. Anyway, at the end of session three, B. M. talked about getting over your “devastation with God.” I obviously perked my ears up and listened and waited and had my pen ready for her to tell me how to do that, how to really, fully, completely do that. Well, she didn’t. So I figured we’d cover it in the homework you know, the 1-2-3 of how to do that. Guess what, it wasn’t in there either. I was sorta bummed.
See the thing is, you just kind of have to do it. Or you can be stuck. For days, weeks, years. I guess you have to pull up the boot straps, make the choice and do it. If it were only that simple.
Here’s her context-2 Samuel 6 where newly King David is dancing and celebrating while bringing the Ark of the Covenant back from the Philistines. Uzzah steadies it with his hand when the cart is bumped and is killed instantly-party dies then and there as well of course. David is angry at God, and then a few verses later he is afraid of God. I would venture not just afraid of the power and holiness of God that he saw, but probably also afraid to ever do anything again that seems like a God idea. I think he was probably wondering how he would ever know what God really wanted for him and what was just him. How could he really know? And then, even if God asked him to do something, how could it be sure it would turn out okay?
B.M. then goes on to say we have to accept the challenge of working through it with God, and we do. I just wish she didn’t move on so quickly to 1 Chronicles 16:34 where David praised God, not long after Uzzah’s death. She says, “He found his heart, healed and restored, at home again with God…” Yes, he did. But I really wish we could see more of that process.
1 Chronicles 15:13 tells us what happened that first time, “because you (the Levites) did not carry it at the first, the LORD our God made an outburst on us, for we did not seek Him according to the ordinance.” It seems David found out/got to see/figured out why the “devastation” happened. How much harder it is when you can’t see the full picture of the why. Bits and pieces are helpful and all, but the big why still is out there. The words, the verses people give you to encourage you-there are all valid-intellectually they made sense; but when it is the heart that is hurt, how do you make that knowledge not just understood, but felt? And it is and has to be a personal choice to “get over it.” You can’t choose it for someone else.