Thursday, February 26, 2009


A lot of my posts are entitled "Thursday", I have noticed. I just give them a day of the week title when I don't have anything specific I intend to write about. I'm usually home on Thursdays, so that must be why I end up writing then!

Well, I am painting again today - you all know how much I love doing that! This time it is the stairway and upstairs hallway. The last time I did this Paul was able to borrow one of those special ladders that you can use on steps from his boss. He isn't working for him any longer so now we're going to have rig up something using our own regular ladders and some planks. I will surely be grateful if I don't end up with a broken neck out of this. I have to get way, way up high. It would be nice if I were a little taller! I am using the same colors I did in the living room - cream and barn red. Then, I will never paint again, for as long as I live.

We're still trying to decide what to do with the house. Paul has come up with a brainstorm that involves completely redoing the downstairs bathroom and building a laundry room that would be accessible from the new bathroom. But, first we need to get our realtor out here to look at the place and to give us an estimate on what he thinks we could sell this place, as is, for. And, I told Paul that before he starts any more projects, first he has to finish up all the existing projects! I want only confined unfinished work and messes from now on! And before we have the realtor come out I need to sit down with our bill list and figure out exactly what it is we would need to make on the house in order to be able to afford a larger, Warren county one. We're interested in the possibility of a foreclosure, which might give us more house for less money. My good friend Kathy and her husband just bought one of those for a really, really reasonable price. They had 5 children in a cramped ranch house they had purchased as newlyweds. Now they have 5 bedrooms! So - lots of unknowns at this point! I'm still pretty neutral, I guess.

Ben's psychiatrist appt. is two weeks from yesterday. It can't come soon enough! On one hand, a lot of my fibers are still protesting the fact that I am actually taking my own child to shrink. It makes it sound like he's riddled with mental problems. On the other hand...not two seconds ago Will informed me that Ben licked the furniture again. This has been an on again, off again, problem for years now. It's totally sensory, but Ben gets some thrill out of licking things that are not food. It's embarrassing, it's disgusting, it's unsanitary! He swiped his tongue across the van window the other night. I made him clean the window when we got home. I don't know what else to do beyond that. Yesterday he decided to pour his pop down the sink. Instead, he poured it all over the counter beside the sink. I watched him toss a drink container in the drawer as he unloaded the dishwasher. It landed on the floor beside the drawer and he would have left it there if I hadn't pointed it out to him. At therapy yesterday, his therapist mentioned to me that she is really working with him on hand washing, that his mind is so far away that he isn't even paying attention when he does that. Argh! So is he a daydreamer, lazy, or is this just one more manifestation of the autistic mind? At the rate he is going he'll never be able to hold down a job for someone else. And I'm not sure how to approach this - should I discipline for his inattention, should I just continually correct, or is it even something he cannot help? Don't know - hoping to get some answers in a couple weeks!

I'm mulling over some thoughts on Psalm 92 (I think that's the chapter) and a conversation I had with my sister in law, Kirsti, a couple of weeks ago. If I get them to come together in my head, I may have a post in a few days.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sweet Sixteen

Last Friday was our 16th wedding anniversary and we got away! We had not done this since our 10th anniversary. That was so much fun then that we vowed we would go away every 5 years from then on. Well, last year was #15. I was still nursing Sam and hated the thought of foisting the other boys on grandparents or friends, so Paul suggested we just take them all with us. We went back to Minneapolis where we had honeymooned and spent the extra money and got a suite so we would have our own bedroom. But while it was a nice family trip, it just wasn't all that romantic. I was still pretty much a walking zombie at that point from the stroke and getting up multiple times a night with Sam. And just having the kids there really lessened the romance factor. So anyway, I had thrown out the idea to Paul awhile ago about getting away - just the two of us - this year, to kind of make up for last year. He just laughed so I figured that was the end of it. But then, about a month ago he said he'd like for us to go away.

Paul made most of the childcare arrangements (thank you Tammy and Melissa!) and decided what it was we would do. We got tickets to the Boone Scenic Valley and Railroad dinner train. We dropped the kids off Friday afternoon and got up to the station in Boone. Oh, that was fun, seeing people come in, all dressed up as we waited. Although some wore jeans - apparently they didn't read the part of the confirmation letter that specified "business casual" for dress. But there were some couples in suits and high heels, as well (not us!). We boarded and found that our table companions were fellow Christians and involved in a local camp ministry. I thought, "Oh, isn't God good! Now we have someone we can really talk to!" Well, they weren't all that talkative. We had to keep trying to think of things to keep the conversation going and I finally gave up. They spent most of their time murmuring to each other about their new campground (they didn't know I can read lips!) and Paul and I just sat. I was very much enjoying the steady rhythm of the train, as well as the darkness. And our food was wonderful! We noticed Hy-Vee catering trucks at the depot, but that's fine. Hy-Vee catering is always good! I couldn't even finish all my dinner.

Afterwards we went to our hotel and never left our room that night. It was SO wonderful to not have boys fighting over the remote and which cable channel they were going to watch - sports or cartoons - or to have demands that we accompany them to the pool! We could just do what we wanted! I even got to watch Lifetime, which is a treat for me because I'm too cheap and too poor to get cable service at home! We found an hour long special on wedding videos - funny ones, interesting ones, disastrous ones - and it was really appropriate because it was our anniversary.

I figured we'd sleep in the next morning but we were up by 7:15! What is wrong with us?! We ate a wonderful breakfast at the hotel and went in the hot tub for awhile. Then we went back to the room for awhile. I had a survey on intimate issues that I had clipped out of a magazine awhile back and I had asked Paul to fill out his half in anticipation of this weekend. I had too, and we spent some time on Sat. comparing our answers and discovering things about each other that we still didn't know, after all this time. That was really special.

We eventually checked out and then we went and bought a couch. Wha -a-a-at?!? I'll back up about 24 hours here. Friday morning Paul took a nap in our lazy boy chair in the living room. When he woke up, he looked around the room, and declared, "We need to rearrange the furniture in here." Never mind that things have been exactly the same for four years and have worked that way! No, actually, his ideas made sense and soon we were all moving things around. Then, once we were done, Paul commented, "You know, what we really need to do is get rid of some of these chairs in here and get a couch with a recliner in it." I thought that was a really good idea and said so, adding that well, maybe we could start looking around, but we probably wouldn't be able to buy until this summer. And we left it at that. When we dropped Will off at Melissa's, I was admiring her new couch cover and ended up telling her what Paul had just said, about us needing to get a new couch. She told me we ought to check out Redekers, a furniture store, that is located right there in Boone. To my surprise, Paul brought that up later and said he really wanted to go there. He has heard their ads on the radio and was curious.

Now, we have only ever had hand me down furniture, with the exception of our beds and my glider rocker. It just hasn't been in the budget to afford new stuff. So, we have never even priced anything. But we went to Redekers and found several couches - with recliners! - on clearance. It didn't take long to realize that we probably could afford to do this now instead of later. So we thought and thought and asked some questions of the salesman. Then, we went to lunch and talked it over some more. And then we went back and bought a really, really nice couch! It's tan and looks great with my new brown curtains behind it. It's made out of the microfiber material, so it actually kind of looks like leather (which has been a secret desire of mine for some time - leather furniture - very elegant, I think!). We actually hauled it home on the roof of our minivan. The salesman was dubious when Paul told him what he wanted to do, but it worked. We bought some straps and periodically pulled over to make sure it wasn't about to fall off. We took the back roads home so we could go more slowly and we got it home, all in one piece! Our neighbor helped us bring in it Sat. night. We got the kids to bed, sat on our new couch together, and asked each other, "Did we really do this?!"

So that was my wonderful, short, weekend get-away with my Sweetheart of Sixteen plus years. Oh, and then yesterday morning in SS we wrapped up our video series on marriage. This last video was excellent and dealt with seriousness of the vows we took. Coming off the little excursion we had just had, it seemed extra applicable to us. There was a time when I didn't know if we'd make it to five years, let alone sixteen! But I have complete confidence now that these 16 years we have just celebrated are only the beginning of a lifetime of loving and living together.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Romance and Short Men

Usually it's wives that tend to be more romantic, but in our marriage, that's reversed. I like romance when it's directed towards me but I rarely do anything romantic for Paul. I just don't think of it. I have bought him cards over the years and I never get around to giving them to him. When I do give him a card, like for his birthday, I usually just write something short and sweet like "All my love, Sarah." When he gives me a card, he writes me a letter! I really need to get better at this. Today the mailman brought me a card from Paul and inside it was a poem he wrote me about how much he is anticipating this weekend (we're going away overnight for our 16th anniversary) and what our marriage means to him. Then, when I went out to the van, there was another card from him with yet another poem for me! I will never understand why this man loves me so much. But anyway, that was a very nice surprise in the midst of a busy Tuesday. Added to that is the knowledge is that Paul hasn't had much sleep lately. He worked all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Monday morning he had to leave at 2am to do a job. He said he slept for maybe 2 hours in his van in the Walmart parking lot before going into work. Then, last night he was home before 8, but at 11pm that cell phone started ringing and he had to go up to Des Moines and do another job. He got home around 2, I think. He was off by 3 this afternoon, though. I am blessed!
I had to take Ben in for a physical today, even though we just saw Dr. Steinmann last Wed! He has to have this for the Child Health people who arrange his waiver (for his respite services). The dr. said that Ben will be of average height topping out around 5'10", he thinks, based on his current growth charts. 5'10" is average? That sounds kind of short to me. Maybe I'm just used to tall men. My dad is 6'2" and my brothers are pretty tall. I think Paul is average at just 6' . So I would not consider 5'10" to be "average" at all. But, the dr. could be wrong. And it could be that all those steroids Ben was on when he was little have stunted his growth. I have noticed that he is shorter than the other 12 year olds at church. The dr. says he will always be skinny, too. Well, no kidding! I then asked him if it was even possible for people with cerebral palsy to be anything but skinny. He said no, that when you have cp, you cannot consume enough calories to make up for what the body burns. I have always suspected that was the case, but never had it confirmed before today. Ben has always eaten a tremendous amount of food, but I always reasoned that it takes him so much more energy to move his body than it does the rest of us. Turns out I was right in my thinking! Of course, if I had been taking him to the dr. regularly all these years, maybe I would have known that before now. But I got really burned out on drs. after Ben's early years when we practically lived in the drs. offices. And then once we quit vaccinating, I found it irritating and stressful to go the drs because of the flack I usually got when they found out my kids were not only unvaccinated, but that I wanted them to remain that way. But maybe, now that we have found Dr. Steinmann, who doesn't even bat an eye at my vaccination decision, I'll take the boys in for yearly exams.
Well, it smells like supper is ready - better go check before the smoke alarm goes off. For some reason this post is justifying on the right side. It is driving me crazy! But I can't get it to switch to the left! Better quit, then! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Warts and Heavenly Pigeons

Sunday afternoon... Paul has been working non-stop since Friday noon on furnace calls. He's on call right now, which is why he is getting all the work. Not complaining - we definitely need those hours this slower time of the year! So I took the kids to church myself this morning.

Ben walked into my SS class complaining that his heel hurt. Why he had to come tell me right then, I have no idea. Well, he has mentioned that before in recent weeks and I assumed that it was just bruised. He's done that before. I don't know why I never looked at it. So, in SS class, in front of all my friends, I peeled off his sock and discovered a hole in his heel. I assumed it was a broken blister, took him back to his own SS class, and didn't think any more of it. When we got home this afternoon I went to put a band aid on his heel and I got to looking at it and then I saw another hard spot. He has plantar warts! I got those for the first time 2 years ago and suffered forever with them on my right foot until I finally went to the dr. a year ago. I saw that horrible Dr. G___ (who is currently being sued for malpractice - not by me - I didn't know he was being sued until later) who wanted to cut them all out of my foot! Fortunately, my friend Luanne pointed me in the direction of Dr. Groen, who happens to be a Christian, and he got rid of all mine in just 3 office visits. Paul has one now that he and Dr. Groen have been dealing with for several months. His is being a little bit more stubborn. So it looks like I'll be calling Dr. Groen in the morning for Ben. I don't know how that's going to work. Some of those treatments are kind of painful when he uses the laser and Ben is so jumpy and ticklish anyway. I'm going to have to sit on top of him to get him to stay still! Obviously, we are sharing this virus amongst ourselves. I suspect the shower is the culprit and we're probably going to have to start wearing shoes in the shower, which will be a pain. But I plan to ask Dr. Groen if he has any other ideas to stop this from spreading any further. Softball starts in 2 months and I know this won't be taken care of by then - Ben has enough trouble with running without having this added on. And he's moving up into the Major league this year, which is a little more competitive than what he has been used to.

On the way home today David was relating his SS story. I was only half listening. He said, "...and John the Baptist baptized Jesus and then a pigeon came down from Heaven and a voice said, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." I said "umm, hmm" and then what he had said suddenly registered. Pigeon? I asked David to tell me the story again and he repeated it the same way. He was quite upset when I began laughing uncontrollably! Now I'll never be able to hear this story again without thinking of David and the Heavenly Pigeon!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Male Predominance

I suppose I could also entitle this, "Testosterone Poisening." I had a professor at UNI in my "Women, Men, and Society" class who loved that expression. It didn't take long to figure out that she had a huge beef with the male population in general. If I have, indeed, been "poisened" then I will die most happily!

Most of you know that I am Mom to four boys and not a single daughter. From time to time I am asked, "What's that like?" Well, I don't know! It's like being asked what it's like to have blue eyes or troublesome hair - it's all I have ever known! Probably in many ways, I am very well suited for the job God gave me. I grew up with only brothers (two younger) and had mostly male cousins. I have always had a strong stomach, so that helps, too!

Over the last few days, though, I have jotted down some thoughts on what my life is like, mothering a tribe of little men. I'll try to present them here in a hopefully understandable fashion.

Boys are out to "get" you. I could claim this started from the moment their little embryos started developing because I had horrible morning sickness with all 4 and then later on they were all quite rambunctious in the womb, flying, twisting, and rolling from one side to the other - usually when I was trying to sleep. But I have heard some stories of little girl babies being kind of mean to their expectant moms, too, so I don't think I can say that is just a male thing. But what is definately a male thing is that these little guys come equipped with a "squirter" that they let fire when you change their diapers. I can't tell you the number of times I have wiped urine out of my eyeballs! Later this progresses to biting and then when they are older it's putting a rubber snake or spider where you're sure to see it and shriek. Or it's turning on the hose and "accidentally" letting it get away so that it sprays you as you walk around the corner of the house. Just today Sam walked into the kitchen and threw a hard rubber ball at me, hitting me square in the back!

Having boys means living with constant - and I mean constant - noise! Even when they are sleeping, the boys are making noise. They can't do anything without having accompanying male noises. I've been deaf in one ear since infancy. A few years ago I had my other ear tested and found out that I am slowly losing hearing there, as well. Is this mere cooincidence? I think not!

Having boys means living on the edge of impending disaster at all times. Usually this just involves the boys themselves, but not always. I have never stepped on a Barbie shoe, ever, but I have plenty of permanent indentions in my feet from legos! With boys, something is always getting broken and this isn't limited to inanimate objects! I try to watch out and shoo them off roofs, but they get up there anyway. For awhile they thought it was great fun to spray down the trampoline with water and then jump. Paul put a stop to that one! But despite our interventions, accidents have happened. Ben almost had a room at our local ER named after him, he visited so many times. If you ever look at his chin you'll see it is white, not pink, because it has been stitched together so often. I lost count after six times. When Will was 6 he was climbing on some storage tubs in our basement, which wasn't a huge deal until he lost his balance. Unfortunately for him, he grabbed the unfinished sheetmetal from our new furnace ductwork and pushed a chunk of skin from his palm clear up to the base of his fingers. That took 14 stitches and some dermabonding to fix. David fell through a window propped against our porch railing when a kitten scratched him - that was several stitches in his arm. Ben has fractured his foot twice on the trampoline. One day when he was 7, he decided to play Superman and jumped off the top bunk. It was 5 days before we knew he had broken his shoulder. And we only discovered that when we took him in to have stitches out from an accident the previous week! It would be nice if this were the sum total of our accidents, but with another boy now and the others only half grown, I'm sure our list will be more than twice as long before it's all over!

Boys have a preoccupation with really disgusting things - like bugs. Oh, I hate those things! And they know it and, as a result, are quick to bring me specimins to inspect! They also gain an inordinate amount of pleasure from talking about body functions best left in private and making all kinds of corrosponding rude noises. Do you know they make a "fart" machine? You know a male thought of and designed that thing! And yes, my boys have one. And the sad thing is is that this delight in all things gross doesn't necessarily end with childhood!

In our house, having boys has meant having a houseful of sports enthusiasts, bordering on obsessed! The boys play softball in the spring, football in the fall, and if I didn't mind spending every waking moment in my van, they'd play basketball and soccer, too. They watch every major and minor televised sporting event. David knows all the NFL teams and can give you player stats and all kinds of what I would consider irrevelent information about each one.

As the boys get older having them around means having spider killers, battery installers, wood choppers, trash removers, lawn mowers, snow shovelers, and now, even a driver! Now, this is nice! When I had my kids, I never even thought about the reality of how much of a help they would be to me down the road. I can handle this part of having boys!

Having boys makes for some bittersweet moments as they grow. Each one of the older ones has come to a point where he began to pull away from me and gravitate towards his dad. More and more time was spent outdoors, following after Paul as he puttered around doing yard or vehicle work. The boys all seem more concerned with what Dad will think about things than what I do and now that Will is a teen it's not terribly uncommon to find him deep in conversation with his dad, talking about things that he hasn't with me. It's natural and it's what I want for them, but it kind of pricks the heart at the same time. But, at least I still have Sam, who is more baby than boy and I can cuddle him for a few more years - or not! Paul has been working on the house quite a bit in recent works and Sam has been right there behind him, picking up tools, pretending to "work" alongside his dad. He loves to climb the stepladder, waving a crowbar or a screwdriver with one hand. Actually, this could lead to our next ER trip!

Having boys is knowing that I have a huge responsibility because I am the only real female influence in their lives. They don't have any sisters to gain any bit of female knowledge about. I'm it! It's also knowing that after having held this role their entire lives, someday I'll have to step back and let a young wife take my place. Boy, will that be an exercise in humility and grace!

Having boys means I have the priviledge of watching them grow into men - seeing just who they are going to become. That's exciting to me! As it says in Luke 2:40, "And the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him." Now my boys are a long way from being able to compare with the child Jesus, but like His mother, I rejoice to see those things beginning to show in my boys' lives.

Having boys means loving them so much I physically ache. It's laughing with (and sometimes at) them. It's soothing them with a smile when someone hurts them, but fuming on the inside. It's kissing their owies one day and being told, "Someday I'm going to marry you, Mommy!" to another day having them only want me to kiss them good bye if their friends aren't around to see. And then one day it's "See ya, Mom!" as they hop out of my van. And one day it will be waving good-bye as they drive out of the driveway for the last time. I'll be waving until their car is just a speck and then turning to face my empty house. It might be empty of the boys but the walls will forever ring with the echoes of who they were.

"Mommy! See how high I can jump!"

"He tooted, Mom! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!!"

"Ple-e-e-ase play Monopoloy one more time with me?!"

"Don't forget to tuck me in, Mom!"

"Hey - he's bleeding all over the carpet!"

"Can I drive this time?"

"Dad, help me with my tie?"

"Don't wait up for me too late, Mom!"

What's it's like to have boys is nothing short of an honor and a privilege. It's to know I am blessed far beyond what I deserve. For my beautiful, darling boys, William, Benjamin, David, and Samuel:

Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

John Lennon

Close your eyes,

Have no fear,

The monster's gone,

He's on the run and your daddy's here,


Beautiful, beautiful

Beautiful Boy

Before you go to sleep,

Say a little prayer,

Every day in every way,

it's getting better and better


Beautiful, Beautiful

Beautiful Boy

Out on the ocean, sailing away

I can hardly wait

To see you come of age

But I guess we'll both,

just have to be patient

yes, it's a long way to go,

but in the meantime,

Before you cross the street,

Take my hand,

Life is just what happens to you,

while you're busy making other plans,


Beautiful, Beautiful
Beautiful Boy,
Darling, Darling

Thursday, February 12, 2009


I'm a bit fuzzy headed, today, thanks to the Advil pm I took last night...that, and getting awakened by Paul 3 times in the night, having seizures. He is making it harder on me to intervene. He used to just lie there when he would start seizing and I could grab his hand and pull him out of it. Now, he flips over onto his belly when he starts and I have to pull his right arm out from underneath him and try to separate his thumb from his fingers, all the while trying not to get clawed by his spasmodically opening and closing hand. So I could use a nap today!

I have had sick kiddos all week long. Well, actually, it's just been Will and Sam. Will has been lying around for several days now, with no energy. This is how he gets sick. It doesn't happen very often, but when it does, it just wipes him out. Sam still has the runs. This is day 6 of that. He's been sleeping a lot more and not eating much - kind of clingy. Last night my stomach started hurting and I started getting panicky - I do NOT have time for the flu! But I'm feeling fine today, I think.

I'm going to head to town this afternoon and pick up Valentine stuff for the boys, Paul, and my Secret Saint from church. Then, I am meeting a new friend for dinner at Culvers. We have been meeting with our pastor as we have had some new issues with Ben crop up since last fall and he put in a call to a local pastor in our association, who happens to have a family in their church with an autistic son. So, the mom and I have been chatting for the past week and we're going to meet face to face tonight. I'm looking forward to it!

I did take Ben in to Dr. Steinmann yesterday about his constant allergies. I'm trying to avoid allergy shots with him, but I may have no choice. This has been going on for years now and is just ridiculous. So, he's putting him on a daily regimen of Claritin and some nose spray. If that doesn't work - and I have my doubts - then it will have to be the shots. We have already had his adenoids removed, been to umpteen allergists - I don't know what else to do.

I went to the bank yesterday over in the Drake neighborhood, which is always a scary situation, even in daylight! But there was this lady in there, obviously a foreigner, and she was very upset that her account was overdrawn. She was quite vocal about this and Ben just started laughing like crazy. The woman had probably a Jamaican accent and was excited and it was just too much for Ben. I managed to shush him by telling him to put his hands over his mouth. Afterwards, in the van, I was trying to point out why it's not nice to laugh at people and he kept assuring me he wasn't laughing at the lady, but at the way she sounded. I'm sure that's true, but people aren't going to understand that. Ben went on to wonder out loud why she spoke English so funny, so I explained that, most likely, she had been born in a different country. Ben said, "Oh, so only people who get made here sound right?" Something like that! I ought to take him down South or to New England and let him hear how some people sound, even people who got "made here"!

Oh, I have drapes in my living room now! That just seems so incredibly grown up to me. I have never lived anywhere before where I needed actual drapes. I bought rods on Monday and Paul hung them that night. He also hung up all my wall decorations for that wall. Just 4 months ago we had no wall there. He took the whole thing out the first weekend in October. Now he's working on the trim for the stairway and our bedroom.

Well, I am mentally working on another post for this blog - this time about what it is like to have all boys. I suppose, with Valentine's coming this weekend, and our anniversary in another week, I should write about marriage. But I have this one on the boys already half composed. So you'll have to wait to hear my thoughts on marriage until later.

Oh, speaking of our anniversary: Paul did some research and found out that the Boone Scenic Railroad offers Valentine dinner train rides. He called them and the only night they openings left was on Feb. 20 - our anniversary! So, we bought tickets and will be riding the train next Friday. Sounds romantic! We rode on a dinner train once before, but I was in my first trimester with David and so sick. I remember thinking, as the train lurched, and my stomach heaved, that there was no way I was going to survive the trip. I did, but it definitely dampened my enjoyment! So I am looking forward to this. Now I just need to book a hotel room - a train, a hot tub, a room to ourselves - what more could we want? Well, ok, some tropical breezes, a whole week away, and maybe a suitcase full of money would work too!

Well, it sounds like Sam needs to be rocked and I am going to see if I can lay down for a few minutes without mayhem occurring in other parts of the house.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


In my last blog I stated repeatedly that both Darwin and Lincoln were born on Feb. 9th. They weren't. And I even knew that. Those boys didn't arrive until 3 days later, Feb. 12th. Although, knowing what it is like to be in the last days of pregnancy myself, I'm sure both their mothers would have been thrilled if they had arrived on the 9th.

This is what happens when I try to be intellectual on only 6 hours of sleep. I went to Ladies Nite at church Friday night and when I got home, Paul was the only one up so we ended up sitting and talking until after midnight - solving all the world's problems, you know. And it was no big deal because we had absolutely no where we needed to go Saturday. But then about 6:30 Sat. morning Paul came into our bedroom totally waking me up, holding Sam gingerly by his armpits and asking, "Do you think he needs a bath?" The kid had diarrhea all the way up to his arms. So we both bathed him and then it was too late to go back to bed.

I think Sam is on the mend, although he's definitely not himself yet. Some sort of stomach bug, I guess. He was feverish all day long yesterday and wouldn't eat. Fortunately, we have plenty of people around to rock him. Paul stayed home this morning from church with him and I'll do it this evening. I'm just really hoping he doesn't share this sickness!

As I type, Paul is putting the trim around the new living room windows. Oh, this makes me so happy! Tomorrow I'm going to buy the curtain rods. And I noticed when I got home today that Paul had put trim on the corners of the outside of the mudroom that he built a couple of years ago. Now I need to find where I put the exterior gray paint...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Darwin, Lincoln, and Racism

Posted by PicasaIn just two days we will observe the 200th birthdays of two men who, both, unarguably, shaped history forever. Both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on February 9, 1809. Both are still remembered today. But one inconvenient truth seems to have been covered up today.

We know about both men, certainly. Abraham Lincoln was our 16th president. He is credited with ending the horrible practice of human slavery in the United States. He had to have had the hardest presidency, ever, presiding when the country was engaged in a bitter civil war. From all accounts, he had a difficult marriage as well. But he also had a very strong faith in God, which is, what no doubt, sustained him during those difficult years. Charles Darwin, by all accounts, started out his life having some sort of faith in God. But when his beloved daughter, Annie, died he blamed God and eventually became an atheist. He would go on to publish "On the Origin of the Species" which introduced his theory of the beginning of humankind - what we call "evolution" today.

Since 2009 also marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Darwin's book, many celebrations are being planned throughout the world to honor Darwin this year. Evolution is taught as fact in schools in many countries around the world and as a equitable theory in others. Those who dare to present the supposition of an "intelligent designer" are ridiculed, harassed, and even fired from teaching positions. Never mind the fact that it actually takes more faith to believe in evolution than Creation! Facts like that don't seem to matter to those intent on removing any traces of God from our schools and nations.

What I find interesting is this: our country has come a long way since its slavery days. Lincoln himself wrote that "...all men are created equal..." but it took a lot of struggle and more than 100 more years for that to become a true reality. As a white person, I can't really speak for the black, but from my observations, they appear to have the same opportunities now that any of us have. In fact, when the subject of racism comes up, I don't really hear it from whites, but rather, from non-whites. White people seem to trip all over themselves, trying to point out that they aren't prejudiced. In fact, during this most recent presidential election I can't tell you the number of times I heard white people offer a criticism of the Democratic candidate, but felt they had to preface it with, "Now, I'm not a racist, but..." Shouldn't we be beyond skin color today?

Our schools have bent over backwards to promote anti-racist, multi-culturalistic teachings. And that's fine. I'm not a big fan of multi-culturalism, actually, but I can save that for another post. Obviously, we need to teach children, though, that skin color doesn't matter. We see many minorities heading corporations, having high ranking government jobs, and now, being the leader of the Super Power of the world. It doesn't make me bat an eye and I'm sure I am speaking for most people who would agree.

These same school, corporations, and civic groups will be promoting and celebrating Charles Darwin in 2009. But Charles Darwin was a racist. In fact, the subtitle of "On the Origin of the Species" was "The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life." And in his later work entitled "The Descent of Man" Darwin called those with dark skin "degraded" and wrote that he would rather be descended from a monkey than such a "savage."*

Never mind your convictions about Creationism vs evolution. We can save that for another debate. My question today is simply this: should we be celebrating the life of a man who obviously held such extreme racist beliefs? Perhaps we should be putting our energies and time into observing the life and works of a man who honored both God and ALL men by his life's work. Something to think about this February 9th...

This information was taken from Vol 16 of 1:1 Answers Update, a publication of Answers in Genesis.

Thursday, February 5, 2009


Almost to the end of another week!...sun is shining today, soaking into my soul - or something like that. Actually, what it is doing is creating a big mud hole of a backyard, which the boys track in bit by bit every time they come in. This morning, at 8 am Will gleefully commented, "It's so warm I can go outside in a t-shirt, Mom!" It was about 33 degrees at that point.

I have a city council meeting tonight which means date night afterwards. We had thought about cancelling it since we are going on a BIG date in a couple of weeks but when I woke up today I knew I wasn't going to feel like cooking this afternoon - not that that is an unusual occurrence!

I got quite a bit of school done with the boys. It's amazing how much I can accomplish when I don't have to go anywhere during that day. Paul was home by 3:30 - hours are definitely getting tighter right now! But we have a little cushion in savings. I remember last year at this times some paychecks were only about $600 for two weeks, and yet we somehow managed. Paul's concern is the economy - that there will be less work because people will be reluctant to have things done on their furnaces and air conditioners because of uncertain times. God is in control...God is in control...God is in control...

Will was giving me grief earlier about my spending because I bought a new love seat cushion yesterday and spent $60 which he thought was ridiculous. Well, I do, too - how much can it cost to produce foam? But, as Paul said, it's got to be cheaper than replacing the whole love seat. And those existing cushions are so thin now you can practically feel the springs poking you. Also, I'm bidding on an ebay item for my hair (the bane of my existence and subject of a future blog). Will said, "Mom, you know we need to buy a new van and a house and you think you can spend this money?" Kid has a point. But I have it under control and I really don't need this from a 14 year old. It's all budgeted! I think I liked him better when he was ignorant about things.

I connected yesterday with a local, Christian mom who has a son with autism. Our pastor had called her pastor and that's how we got the name. Anyway, I'm hopeful we will be able to meet soon and I can pick her brain about a couple of different things in relation to this. She mentioned a local dr. that I am really, really interested in meeting. I never realize just how isolated I am with Ben - mentally, anyway - until I meet somebody who is dealing with the same thing. At this very moment Ben is bouncing from room to room, trying to watch a forbidden game show on tv, and pretending he's on an overhead store speaker (recording his voice making announcements into a tape recorder and then playing them back super-loud). He's also obsessing over the fact that Paul might go to the city council meeting with me which means he could then watch "Wheel of Fortune" tonight. Normally he only gets to do that on Tues. and Sat. nights, unless there is no adult in the house. Then, he can watch it in order to give Will a break, who is watching him. So, therefore, Ben connives to create situations that will get both Paul and I out of the house at 6:30! Sigh....

Oh, Sam fell down the steps last night at church - twice! It just cracked me up the second time. Paul has this thing about the kids falling - panics him, I think. He doesn't seem to mind them doing other dangerous things, like using shotguns or climbing on roofs, but steps get to him. It doesn't worry me quite as much. We were early to church because Will likes to get there for youth group games and we were sitting on the couch in the foyer and Sam toddled over to the steps and lost his balance and fell down to the first landing - about 4 steps. He got a goose - egg on his forehead. I picked him, we fussed over him, and then he scrambled down off of us - straight for the steps again. He turned around to look at us - and fell down the same flight of steps!

I just remembered that I made a cheesecake the other day and stuck it in the fridge. I hear it calling my name...

Monday, February 2, 2009


Monday night, 8 pm. I'm guaranteed an hour of computer time (not that I can afford to be on here that long) because it's time for "24" and Paul and Will are glued to the tv set. I think David is starting to get into that show, too. I just can't.

Went to a new dentist today. I had seen this beautiful brick building going up all last spring and summer down in Pleasantville, right off Hwy 5. It soon became a dental office and I thought I'd give it a shot. My last dentist was a nice guy, but his hygienist was a sadist with a Russian accent. I'd leave feeling like she had flossed my teeth with baling rope, all the while scolding me (less than half of which I actually understood) about how I needed to floss better and demanding to know just how it often it was I was flossing! This place is 5 minutes away, which is wonderful. Anyway, the interior was just as beautiful as the outside and I was really impressed with the dentist and the staff. Best of all, I don't have to go back until next August!

Made a new cookie recipe tonight - cashew crisps. They're ok, but nothing special. I'm not going to make them again. I got the recipe out of a Hannah Swenson murder mystery (series of books written by Joanne Fluke). Hannah is a cookie store owner and she's always finding dead bodies. They're fun books. I'm being deliberately vague to the rest of the family about what is in the cookies. If they know there are ground up cashews in them, they won't touch them. David already suspiciously asked me what this little piece was he pulled out of his! I also made a smore cheesecake. I'm going to have to get another spring form pan. This is the second time that I have had a leaking problem with that thing. The last time I set the floor of the oven on fire. This time I was smart and put the pan on top of a foil lined cookie sheet.

Well, it looks like we are going to go away overnight for our anniversary. Paul set it up with a family at church to take the 3 younger ones overnight (they already have 7 of their own - I guess 3 more isn't that big of a deal!) and got his on-call dates switched. I just need to check with the family of one of Will's friends and see if he can spend the night and Sat. with them. The youth group is going skiing that Friday so both boys would be busy with that. I sure hope Will doesn't break a leg doing that. He's never skied before. And we have to figure out just what it is we're going to do with our time away from the kiddos.

Sam has been throwing potatoes this evening. He calls them "balls" and gleefully pitches them onto the floor. I told Paul that we'll have to tell him someday that we were so poor we couldn't afford to buy him toys and he had to play with potatoes instead. Paul muttered something about him bruising food but I noticed he didn't make him stop.

I think I'm going to go ahead and wind down towards bedtime. Tomorrow is Sam's 15 month check-up. I wonder what he weighs now - something close to a ton, I'm sure. They'll be lucky if they can get him to sit still long enough to be weighed. The insurance thing didn't work out with that chiropractor in Ankeny so I may ask Dr. Steinmann if he has any recommendations for us - maybe we could find another chiropractor that could help Ben with his allergies and maybe it would be closer than Ankeny! All I can do is try.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Music to My Ears

The enjoyment of music is probably nearly universal, from newborn babies to the very elderly. Its existence is as old as mankind and some theologians would argue it even pre-dates that, having been part of the Heavenly realm before Creation.

So I am claiming no uniqueness when I state that I enjoy music very much. I greatly appreciate the old hymns of the faith and frequently turn the van radio to a local station that has an all-hymn play format. I could probably do an entire blog on hymns alone. The older I get, the more I appreciate the deep theology found in some of these songs. As a word-lover I enjoy the old English phrasing in many of them as well.

I do listen to some current Christian music, but, to be honest, I don't care for much of what currently makes it onto the contemporary Christian music charts. Every so often, a really great song is released, like "Everlasting" by Lincoln Brewster, "Held" by Natalie Grant, or "Praise You in the Storm" by Casting Crowns. I pretty much live in the past. Nothing can get me dancing around the kitchen faster than the Glenn Miller Orchestra playing "Chattanooga Choo-Choo", as well as a host of other big band performances. I like to croon along with Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. Elvis leaves me feeling "All Shook Up" and wanting someone to "Love Me Tender"! If I could find a radio station that played only 70s and 80s love songs I'd never change the channel. Who isn't moved by Kenny Rogers singing "She Believes in Me" or Chicago crooning, "If You Leave Me Now"? Or what about Stephen Bishop's "It Might Be You" or one of my all-time favorites "Nothing's Going to Stop Us Now" by Starship? It doesn't get better than that!

And you know, there's a few songs that just make me happy. I think of "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins and "Old Time Rock n Roll" by Bruce Springsteen. I know it's the beat, but when I hear those songs, I can feel the happiness just furling up out of my stomach. I have to turn the radio up louder and soon I'm wiggling in my seat. If I'm driving, my the speedometer will start to edge up!

I know some fellow Christians will find fault with me for admitting that I enjoy some secular music. If the Lord ever convicts me the same way, I'll have to make some changes, I know. And, to be honest, I have wondered if I am doing my children a disservice by having this stuff play around them. Even though my musical choices are fairly benign, might I be pointing them in a direction that would ultimately lead them to listening to bat-eating, guitar smashing heavy metal performers? Or worse yet, have them develop a liking for nasty rap music that promotes immorality and lawlessness? Knowing my kids, though, I doubt it. Whenever we get in the van and I punch on my "lite listening" station I am generally commanded by them to switch it to our local Christian radio station. They like current contemporary Christian music, even if I don't.

Some songs are portals to the past. To this day I love the song "Bop" by Dan Seals because it brings back a happy memory from my senior year of high school. The songs that were played at my wedding still make me misty eyed. I love Mark Lowry's ""Mary, Did You Know" because the first time I heard it was the Christmas season that Will was a newborn. I would sit rocking him, listening to the radio, and when this song was played it made me really think about Mary and for the first time, I could really empathize with her, as a fellow mother. Whenever I hear the theme music to Veggie Tales I immediately flash back to the days when Will, Ben, and David were just little guys and so excited by the antics of Bob and Larry.

And then there are some sounds that weren't music necessarily to my ears, but just to my heart. Ben's development was significantly delayed and he didn't speak for a long time. I remember looking at him and just wishing so often that he could talk to me. I'll never forget the first time he wrapped his skinny little arms around my neck and said, "Wub U, Ma." The times my sons have come to me and wanted to talk about spiritual matters have been music to my heart. Hearing the cry of our long-awaited son, Sam, in the delivery room, after a harrowing pregnancy, was one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard. My heart sings when my husband wraps his arms around me and whispers, "You're still the only one for me." Life has been full of these music-filled moments and I know there are many more to come.

Luke 15:7 paints a beautiful picture of what happens when a sinner comes to Christ. "I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance." Now I don't know if there is actual singing in Heaven or not. I guess I'll have to wait until I get there to find out. But I love this verse because I can just imagine the scene - the angels and saints rejoicing, God smiling - oh how wonderful it must be! The prayer of that sinner is surely the most beautiful sound that God has ever heard. It leaves a challenge on my heart, too, to endeavor to hear that same "music" during my days here, as I seek to lead others to Christ.

Happy listening!
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