Wednesday, January 06, 2010

New Chances

The TREE is down, the gifts are mostly put away, and life ebbs on, and I am more pensive than ever. There are milestones you hit during your life that have a way of not only slapping you in the face but knocking you painfully down on your backside, leaving you stunned, hurting, and somewhat embarrassed, in a metaphorical way.

As 2009 ended, and 2010 quietly slipped in, finding us doing virtually the same thing we typically do every December 31, I was startled with the realization that a full 10 years had passed since Tim and I passed our first married New Years Eve in Tennessee. Back then, I was heavy "with child," the female child that would rock our worlds and change the course of all our lives. In 1999, not only did we have 3 male children that were "mine" by birth, but now, we were going to add an "ours," an act that would forever change everything. Sarah's birth in March of 2000 was one of those life-altering events that forever impacted not only 3 little boys who had never imagined adding a female component to the sibling pool, but also the mother and step-father of said children.

We became parents in the summer of our lives, when legs don't run as fast to chase little ones that are only outrun by mice and cougars. We committed to raise a female of the species, so different from the males I had become accustomed to herding. Three years later, we got another of those life-changing moments when we added Hannah to the female side of the tick sheet. Four and three. I was no longer the only hormonal entity in the house. I nearly gave my life to bear Hannah, and the experience changed me in ways that still send shivers up my spine.

So when I go back and think about what life was like 10 years ago, I can scarcely believe that I am really here--right here!-- in 2010. I don't know how 10 full years passed so much more quickly than 10 years have ever passed for me before. I do the math, and I realize that I have about 2 blinks before I am "three-score and ten." It's sobering--so sobering that I've been sitting on my metaphoric backside reflecting since New Years Eve!

Then, there are two truths that have more meaning to me each and every day. There are two men who have sacrificed their lives in different ways for me, and I am awed by their selflessness, not fully understanding why either chose to be a part of my life.

The first is obviously Jesus Christ, and I cannot even comprehend what led Him to lay down His life for mine. I like to think that, as I come to understand more and more about sacrifice because of the aforementioned sobriety that accompanies maturity, I do a little better at appreciating His love, His plan, and His sacrifice, and that I do more all the time to make myself the kind of ground that "drinks the rain which often falls on (me) and brings forth vegetation useful to (Him) for whose sake it is also tilled." Hebrews 6:7

The second man is my second husband. Having had a first husband who was not what he should have been, I appreciate the second so much more! Had Tim not entered my life when he did, my present would be so much different than it is now. I sincerely doubt that I would have had the life I have if he had not been giving enough to not only take on three little boys who could frighten the bravest of warriors but also to give me two more daughters for a grand total of 5 little indians! He and I have had to circle the wagons a few times, but we have gotten through some challenging moments of child-rearing together and come out the other side stronger for it.

There is no more wonderful place to be than secure in your love for someone. To be able to trust both my Saviour and my husband implicitly is more of a blessing than words in the English language can convey. I'm walking, safely holding one hand tight in the spiritual realm and one in the here-and-now with my husband.

Are things in my life perfect? No--far from it. Parts of my house need serious attention because the promised moth and rust are doing their work. My newer van has a newly-crumpled bumper, and both my dogs are badly-behaved. We deal with our share of scares in health, jobs, and loss of family and dear friends on this earth. My children sometimes fall down. We've worked to raise them right, but sometimes they try their wings prematurely and crash. Sometimes it is I who falls down. I try my best to pray from that prone position and move on. I have not perfected time-management. Truly, there's a long list of things I have not perfected.

Yet, somehow, when the day winds down, and all the members of this family crawl home at night, hungry, cold, and weary, we find strength in one another and in the faith we share--the faith we have tried so hard through the years not to compromise, even when that was very, very hard. And we still hold hands, and we pray, and occasionally, we still break out in song together or laugh at something silly til the tears stream down our faces. And when the bad days come, we still hold hands, and we pray, and while the tears stream down our faces, we try to remind each other what we do this all for. We've crawled in beside one another on hospital beds and sick beds and just lay there, because it was all that could be done at the time. When one of us gets weak or weary, the other six hold up his hands until the battle's won.

And at the helm of our ship is that dear man I am proud to call my man, guiding us into eternity with his eyes fixed on the goal, watching for his Lord to come back and take us all to real perfection! No one is going down on his watch, he often says in different ways on different days.

So what's happened to me in the last ten years? Well, the short answer is, "A lot." What's coming up this year? I haven't a clue! Yet, I know that I am in the best hands possible, here and beyond here. What do I wish for? I hope men will learn to be better to each other. I hope that people who have others to love will love them and not take them for granted. I hope that friends and family members will learn to not always be looking for the "bigger, better deal" where friends and family members are concerned. You have who you have. Love them. I hope that people will not waste a lot of time finding reasons not to love. I hope that people who know they are doing something wrong will just find a way to step out of that and do the right thing, no matter what consequences may come here, because the eternal consequences are far more severe. I hope that I have some more good time with those I love until it is time to move on into eternity. I hope some that have recently passed and some who have been gone a long time by my clock are so happy where they are now. And I hope to do a better job this year of getting ready to join them, because even if I have 50 more years, and the Lord delays, 2060 is just a few blinks away.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hannah is Six!

Hannah's Birth Announcement

My little Hannah "Bee" is having a birthday! It does not seem possible that this journey with my youngest began six years ago today! Her birth produced a series of events which would change my life forever, not the least of which is having Hannah in our lives.

"Baby Hannah"

Hannah was a sweet, quiet baby. She was very good during her first few weeks of life, which we spent with my mother because I had a rough time of it after her cesarean birth. After we came home, Hannah bonded with Sam, who cared for her so tenderly when he wasn't in school. She grew and developed very normally, and her siblings all loved her very much. She was a Daddy's girl, too, especially enjoying time with her daddy when he got in from work every day. To this day, she and Sarah greet their dad at the door every day with "Daddy, Daddy!"

"Hannah and Daddy"

"Hannah's First Birthday"

As Hannah grew, she was a serious child. She warmed to strangers very slowly, sometimes putting her Bible class teachers through about 6 or 8 weeks of her icy cold stare before warming and cracking a smile. Her deep-set brown eyes added to her mysterious persona!

"Hannah's Second Birthday" (with sister, Sarah)

When Hannah started to develop her own personality, it became apparent that we were going to have a little tigress on our hands. She was much more temperamental than her older sister. Little fits were not uncommon. Sam was the best at quieting her moments of frustration. Their bond has endured through the years, and she still idolizes him.

"Hannah and Sam"

"Hannah's Fourth Birthday"

Hannah proved to be multi-faceted. She is artistic, kind-hearted, comical, creative, and prone to lead. She is domestic, and she takes great joy in bringing order to disorder! She is competitive, yet she is kind and loves to see others excel as well. She loves games, group activities, and seeing beautiful sites.
"Hannah at Five, 2008"

I love her compassion. She is often the one who comes to me and asks if she can do something special for me. I love to see her putting others first, which she does with such joy! When she gets angry, she usually goes off by herself, and in a while, she will return and seek reconciliation with us. Her emotions run deep. She is always laughing, those dimples deep and precious. And when she cries, it is heart-breaking, because it comes from the depth of her soul.

"A letter to her grandmother"

At age 6, she is just learning to read and write. She's doing all this a little later than her siblings, but Hannah will not be hurried. She works at her own pace, and when she really is ready to accomplish something, she will not be deterred. She's a lefty, like her sister Sarah, her grandfather Ron, and her great-grandfather R. R. She is enjoying her kindergarten year and is eager to learn new things every day.

Having Hannah changed my life. My body will never be the same, but more importantly, my heart is forever altered by having her in my life. I would gladly go through all the pain again just to experience life with my little Hannah "Bee!" She is my baby, my sweetheart, my precious lover-of-life. She has the potential to be the most like me; it will be very interesting to see what roads she takes. I am sure that if God grants her life into adulthood that she will do great things! Happy 6th Birthday, Hannah Faith!
"Hannah and her siblings"

"My beautiful brown-eyed girl"

"Hannah at Easter, 2009"

"Dolling up for a party, 2009"

"I'm talkin' 'bout My Girl!"

Friday, July 24, 2009

Baylee, the Laughing Chihuahua

Check out the newest member of our family, who has quite a comical talent. Our Chihuahua Baylee laughs! If you need a smile today, this is the video for you!

Just click on the title above, or go to:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

21 years later....

The father of a righteous man has great joy;
he who has a wise son delights in him.
--Proverbs 23:24

A good man obtains favor from the LORD.... --Proverbs 12:2

Happy Birthday to my son, Sam, who "maketh his mother glad" (most of the time!) He always has been and continues to be my sweetheart! He came into the world in a dramatic way on Father's Day weekend, 1988, and he has been the pride and joy of our family every since. When you have a child that is easy to raise, it is refreshing to your spirit, and you have one more great reason to thank the Lord! I thank God every day for giving me Sam. I did not understand back then why I could not get a daughter for anything, but now, I may see the Lord's Providence in giving us a son, as I reflect on what this precious soul has meant to everyone. From the outside looking in, Sam looks like a good kid. Let me tell you from the inside looking out, he really is! Happy 21st, Drummerboy!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Do May Showers bring June Flowers?

I know that it has been a terribly long time since I have updated. So go get a cup of coffee, come back, and make yourself comfortable. (You can turn the music off at the bottom by pressing the round button with two lines on the player, if you like.) I know that I am getting slower all the time, or else the time-space continuum has sped up so much that I can no longer keep pace. The days turn into weeks, and the weeks to months before I can find time to sit and blog anymore.

Since the last update, Sarah has turned 9 and Micah turned 15! Sam finished Tech School and has his first job! Daniel turned 22 and finished his 3rd year of college. He won two Sociology Scholarships for next year and found out he'll be doing his internship at NHC, the nursing home near the college. Micah decided to rededicate his life to the Lord and make his calling and election sure. He was baptized on February 5th. (He was outside. It was cold!) :)

We've had a blessed year, despite some unexpected twists and turns. Our little family is constantly amazed by God's Providence in our lives and the lives of those around us. Who could have ever predicted the events of the past several months, with the economic downturn, Obama's stunning election, those that have been born, and those who have passed from this many sobering events, yet so many glimmers of light cutting through a lot of darkness.

Like so many others, we have always felt that Tim's job was pretty stable, and that as long as he did what he was supposed to, we would always have that security. This year we have come to believe that nothing is that sure anymore, and he, like so many others who thought they would always work somewhere, we could be out in the cold with little notice. We have come to trust God so much more for our daily bread, and that is about as far as we look down the by day. But isn't that as it should be?

Riding to church the other day, I told Tim that I am still rather in shock that Obama is our president now! I think we are long past due to have had an African American president; it is a shame that it did not happen before now. But I guess that deep down, I really wondered if we would ever get past race in this country and judge a man on his merits rather than his skin tone. From that standpoint, I was glad he overcame all the prejudices that have plagued our country for too long.

My greatest concerns have been for the moral decline going on in the nation, much of which has blossomed under the liberal policies of the new president and the current Congress. It has been rather sad to watch abortion proponents get some strongholds on the slippery slope which leads to national deterioration and possibly the final decline of the nation. I've always said that God really became irate in the Old Testament over the killing of children and homosexuality, and if you want to get Divine Ire poured out on this country, just keep promoting (or lending silent assent to) the agendas of both abortionists and homosexuals. I'm so tired of hearing that I cannot have an opinion or be vocal on this. The opinion of a Christian is just as valid as anyone else's opinion, and it is my hope that more Christians will be bold enough to speak up for the values which made this nation great in the first place.

Which reminds me....Our family has followed American Idol this season. We don't always get into every season; it has been hit and miss over the years. So it was quite interesting when it came down to the religious country boy from Arkansas and the flamboyant, homosexual contestant who was loaded with natural talent. Like nearly everyone else, we assumed that Adam would unquestionably win! We watched all the other contestants fall one by one, until week before last when Danny was cut. All hope was seemingly lost. But we decided that even if our puny little votes were only a drop in the bucket, we would vote for Kris and his values as the person who should represent America as an "idol!" We dialed our home phone and cell phones and sent text messages for nearly the whole time voting was allowed. Apparently, many, many people felt the same way. They say the vote wasn't even close. I have not heard the totals. I thought it was highly interesting that a guy who could sing his lungs out so beautifully (Adam) and obviously was head and shoulders above Kris in natural talent and stage presence DID NOT WIN! Maybe those who have been silent and let the supposed 1 to 3% of our population that is gay set a new definition of marriage and parade their bedroom behavior through the streets, into television shows once reserved for an audience who still knew how to blush, and into our very homes through all types of media are finally seeing where all of this is going and are deciding enough is enough! I suspect that the next group to get that message may be the Pepsi people, who decided to sponsor the Gay Pride Parade in NYC! We drink lots of Pepsi around our house, but we don't plan to buy any more if they go through with this. Coke works just as well! Let the Pepsi people note Adam's fate and be forewarned!

Well, I did not get on an update to rant! Let's see! What have you missed out on in 5 months from us? Well, in brief, we had lots of viruses in the second half of winter. It was extremely cold for Tennessee this winter, but it did not seem to affect the bug population. They are out in full force, with a few new varieties thrown in this year. We've had a LOT of rain. The Spring started out tornadic, but it has calmed down.

Daniel got mono just as we were getting over the worst stomach virus this family has ever seen. Daniel is living in his condo in Murfreesboro, and we are about 30 miles south, so he did not have the stomach thing, and we did not get mono. He got so sick, he had to take a couple of weeks out of school and come home for some Mommy-care! He was one sick "little" boy, but he is doing great now and still managed to pull out a good g.p.a. for the semester. He is trying to have a couple of B's changed to A's because of a whacky professor who apparently does not grade papers and just assigns arbitrary grades. This is the same professor who showed up for final exams with not enough copies of the test and had to go make more. While he was gone, those who were left with tests were busily copying the answers out of the books! But it may not have even mattered if he did not grade them anyway. One girl who thought she had done o.k. got a "D" in the class.

Daniel's condo was about a mile away from both tornadoes that struck Murfreesboro last month. The second tornado was the biggie, and it tore up our church yard, taking down probably 10 or 12 trees and overturning portables, etc. Fortunately, it did not touch our building or Daniel's condo. One of our members was actually in a building that was completely destroyed. Every employee got out alive, and that was quite a blessing. When you think that you could have easily lost a son and a brother in Christ (or several of them) in an F-4 tornado that was on the ground for something like 22 miles...well, you can see why we are praising God for his protection!

I keep having people ask me, "Are you still home schooling?" and the answer is still a resounding "YES!" We've never been more proud to have this right, and you can bet we are exercising it to the fullest extent! I asked the kids the other day if they wanted to just try continuing lessons through the summer, and they think that is a good idea. They agreed that if they keep studying, without the summer break, it is not as hard to start up again in the fall. We won't go at a breakneck pace, but it will be nice to have some extra time to do some special studies! Tennessee is a wonderful state for home schooling, and we thank God often for the opportunity to have more time with the kids to train them. I only wish sometimes that I was allowed to take in other people's kids and home school them, so that they did not have to brave some of these public schools. The sadness in some kids' eyes...when you ask them about will rip your heart out!

I had a big round of tests on my heart last month! I had been dreading having it done, but I got hold of an old report from 2007 that said I had a couple of leaking heart valves, so we had to look into it. I was given a clean bill of health. The doctor (who is my dad's cardiologist at Vanderbilt) said that if the numbers on the test results were true, I had one of the strongest hearts he had ever seen. While I think there is a slight possibility that the numbers are just a little off, I think it is also possible that I have developed a super-strong heart by raising Dan, Sam and Micah. Any of you who knew them as children will vouch for that! :)

I can't think of any more earth-shattering news. My little niece Kelsey had her appendix out a couple of weeks ago and is fine now. All the little chihuahuas in our family are going through spaying and neutering now, except for the Mom of the pack who is having her second litter at the end of the month. My mother says it will be her last litter, but we will see. They are just so stinking cute! We got Baylee fixed a couple of weeks ago, so she never saw a heat. Now maybe there will not be dogs hanging out everywhere outside, since our outside and inside females won't be fruitful and multiplying anymore.

The tan one is ours. The white one, Rascal, belongs to my nephew, Ben. The large black one is Babe, the mother chihuahua! Koko is the redish-colored father, and the tiny black one is Sweeney, also a girl. Baylee, Koko, Sweeney, and Rascal are all getting "surgery" so that my parents don't have 101 chihuahuas!

Mom has her hands full of pups and grandpups!

I never thought I would see my dad in overalls, much less with chihuahuas in the pockets!

Some of you have asked me how my Uncle Fred and Aunt Fran are doing! They are in Illinois living with middle daughter Mary Ann and her husband Bill, and they are just doing great! They have actually made some vast improvements since moving back north again, and both are more mentally acute than they have been in some time. This is a picture of them that was made recently up there! Not bad for mid-80's, huh?

I've been profoundly affected by some very emotional losses over the past few months, and that depth of emotion continues tonight. Some of these losses have been deaths, and some have been relationships/friendships. I'm a very naive person by nature, and most of the time, I don't see these things coming, so I think it affects me more than it does some people. Kelsey Harris' life and death has opened so much dialogue in our family, and she has caused us to reevaluate our priorities and our values and our spiritual lives. What a wonderful example this young lady set with her positive attitude (what an understatement) in all things! I know God has been glorified because of her life and her family's faith! I know that I will not soon forget her, if ever!

Now, as I finish this post, I have heard the terrible news that little Nathan Ing, age 7, is slipping away tonight. He has battled cancer since December 2006. He was playing yesterday, and he just went downhill really fast. His parents had prayed for a merciful end to his life. Yet, none of us are ever ready to let go. I ache for his dear family tonight.

Well, this is long enough. I am going to add a slideshow of some pics since the last post, and in the tradition of my firstborn, who posts now on Facebook exclusively, I may take up his "song of the post" tradition, at least for a while. There are a lot of people hurting tonight for a lot of different reasons. Some have been betrayed by a "good" friend. Some have lost love. Some are aching from the deepest lost of all--death. We'll let another guy who would have made a great "Idol," Danny Gokey, sing this one......

Monday, January 26, 2009

It's a New Year!

I am so way overdue for a new post! It has been one thing after another since early December, and as usual, the time has just been a blur. Christmas has become such a busy time for me, because I still have little ones, yet my parents are getting to the age where they are not able to host as many of the festivities. So much of the work falls on me, simply because there is no one else to do it. I don't mind it, because I have always loved Christmas and everything around it. But when your family grows to the size that mine has, you get to the point where you have to start scaling back a little! So, we all agreed to downsize a little this year, and it made for an enjoyable holiday!

Tim has gotten extremely busy at work. He is currently dealing with some of the greatest challenges of his career, and he loves it, but it takes a toll on him and the family. He is not around to do as much, so others have to carry his load. During Christmas, he got very sick. He had scheduled two weeks off to help me with Christmas plans, and the first day of his vacation, he came down with something like the flu. He was sick the entire two weeks of vacation. He did get some rest, but I was so disappointed that his only vacation of the year had to be spent like that. The up side was that he HAD to sit and rest, so he did get some relaxation out of it after all.

I just tried not to stress over the whole thing, because I wanted all the kids to just have a good time with Christmas. We all kind of rolled with the punches and got what needed to be done accomplished. I remember thinking as we drove to Lawrenceburg on Christmas Day to be with my parents that I was just so grateful that they are still alive and alert and able to enjoy the day with us. I was painfully aware as we drove through Columbia where my grandmother, who embodied the spirit of Christmas, lived all her life that she is gone now, as are my other grandparents. I miss them all so much during Thanksgiving and Christmas, for those were the times we loved to get together and eat and laugh.

We spent the day with my parents, two of my brothers, my sister-in-law, my precious nieces and nephew, and a litter of brand new puppies! My parents' beloved chihuahuas gave birth to four adorable puppies! They were about a month old on Christmas! We ended up bringing one home with us after New Year's, to see how we would like having a small dog for the first time in our family history! We have always had huge outdoor dogs, and we thought the girls would really enjoy having one of these sweet little indoor types! We named her Baylee, and she has really been a sweetheart. She is so good about listening and tries really hard to please us.

Well, after Christmas, we came back and tried to get back into our routine here. However, Mr. Flubug hit with a vengeance. Hannah, Micah and Sam got sick first. Sam and Micah seemed to be able to fight it off somewhat, but Hannah was awfully sick. Three days later, Sarah came down with it, and I started to feel awful three days after that. We had Sarah tested, and it was not strep, but she did test positive for flu. This has been with us for about 2 weeks now, and we are just beginning to finally pull out of it. The expensive Tamiflu did not seem to help a bit. That was just a big waste, in my opinion.

I am trying to get better, but nothing I do seems to hurry it up any. My dad is finally going to have his gall bladder out this Thursday, Lord willing, and I would like to be there if I could. I will just have to see if being there would be detrimental for him. He surely does not need the flu! Hopefully, I will be past all this by then!

The kids have had a ball running here and there of late with all the young Christians. Daniel has been to West Virginia and Indiana, and Sam and Micah went along to Indiana, too. There was a big weekend of activities, including singings, a talent show, and Bible studies. Several kids we worship with went along as well, and all reported having a wonderful time! The hosts were very gracious and generous, and the kids all had a memorable time!

Another chapter in our life story seems to have begun. My little "eagle/phoenix" has found a "hawk" and they are happily flying through the skies! It is good to see him smile! A lot of good young people have lifted him up when he did not feel much like flying, and he has glided past times of sorrow and loss and is confidently flying on his own again.

I have to say that I am quite aware of all those right now who are struggling with very serious situations. You don't have to read far on Pleonast to find those who are having the fights of their lives with so many discouraging battles. I read your stories and I pray for you often. We talk about you in our home and we pray for you often. God knows each of your cares, and He is there to help you, and we, your brethren love you and are pulling for you! We hope these things will turn around for you and that you will be shortly blessed with a long season of peace.

Well, that is the update. I look forward to catching up with everyone!

Friday, December 05, 2008

This time 22 years ago...

...I woke up with water going everywhere. I slept in a waterbed at the time, so my first thought was that the bed had popped. The second thought was, "Oh my, I am going to have a baby today!"

In the next 17 hours, I had many surprises. I lost 49 pounds of water (the janitor at the hospital followed me with a mop for hours) and gained a six pound son. Son was supposed to be a girl. They had not perfected ultrasounds back then. Guess who had to send her mom to buy all new clothes so we could take him home?

I labored all day to no avail. He was face-up, making it harder to get out, and I could not get past 7 cm. A dear lady that many of you know, Cindy Granke, stood in as my "mother" that day, while my real mother paced the floor in Tennessee and prepared to come to South Carolina the next day. Things were so tense, and there were no cellphones much back then, and everyone forgot to call Mom and Dad and give them updates. Cindy, who worked for the Red Cross surely had a lot of love and patience with me that day! We tried our best to push him out, but it was not meant to be. She got up on the table with me and coached me all day in efforts to keep a c-section from happening. A little after 10 that night, they wheeled me off to the operating room, and a bit later, I awakened from surgery to be told that my expected little "girl" was actually a bouncing baby boy!

I know that God knew best that I would need strong sons. Daniel Evin has given meaning to the words "pride and joy." He has made us all proud, and he is the joy of my life, along with his siblings. He holds a special place in my heart for the courage he has shown in his life, when life could have knocked him down and out, but he rose above it all.

He just found out that he has been admitted to the Social Work program at M.T.S.U.! This is something he has worked for for a long time. This has not been an easy first semester for him, but like everything else he does, he has climbed this mountain successfully. Hopefully, he is going to get his Bachelor's on time and move right into his Masters work.

Sarah has been working on some drawings for Daniel. She did one about him teaching the adult class at church. He is teaching his favorite book of the New Testament, Hebrews! This is one of her drawings:

Psalm 40:4 says, "Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust...." Daniel continues to make us all proud, and he has brought me great joy! (Proverbs 10:1)
I want to wish him the happiest of birthdays!