Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Now I Have Three Cars.....

Feast or Famine.....that's what we always say.  Turns out that when Chelsea and Chadd decided not to keep the car which Chelsea has been driving since she was 16 and find something else instead, Warren decided that we should keep the old one.  Now, we had just purchased the Kia...I can't drive it so it probably doesn't count, and we still have the van.  Of course it is very old and burns oil so who knows how much longer it will run dependably.  So I had to agree that barring trading the two old ones for something different we should just give the kids the trade in value and keep it around for a loaner for all of our kids should any of their cars need service and a spare for us for the same reason.

This guy is very happy with the 2002 RAV 4..... because it works.

Chelsea is very happy with it as well.  She actually loved it first.  They test drove it on Monday of last week
and then did the smart thing and decided to look a bit more before making a decision.
In the meanwhile there was a ONE day sale on used vehicles at the dealership and it was marked down an additional $1,300.
Warren and I went on the day of the sale since both Chelsea and Chadd had 10-11 hour work shifts that day.
We kept them up to date and spoke with the previous owner to find out as much history as possible.
Warren became convinced this was a great vehicle for them and so we got Chelsea and Chadd's go ahead to reserve it.

Monday morning, one week after they did their first test drive we went back
 for one last test drive and they purchased the car.
If you are counting this was the third sale I have brought the salesman named Andy.

Jonathan - New Jeep Renegade.
Mom - New Toyota Corolla.
Chelsea and Chadd - Used RAV 4.

He is pretty cool and said I am his number one customer.
I told him he probably says that to all of his customers.
Tee-hee!

This was the longest we have spent on the actual car buying process...maybe ever....since Warren and I were at the dealership for hours on Saturday...in two visits that day... but it was worth it for the savings!!
The first time we were there someone else had staked their claim on the car but when we came back later it was still for sale.  Must have been meant for Chelsea and Chadd.

So...for a while I will have my choice of two cars to drive.

2001 Mazda Protege
2003 Mazda MPV

Most likely it will be decided by which one is running OR which one is easiest to get
out of the driveway.

First world problems!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Temporarily Without a Car

What was I thinking?  We bought a car that has a manual transmission.  I can't drive it.  Part of me wants to learn.  Part of me would rather not.  I really need to.....so that when something comes up I have options.

I had a rather quiet week scheduled but Chelsea and Chadd have their regular full week so when their car broke down this week I let them use the van.  What this means is that I've been home a lot more than I would have been normally.  This also means that the laundry is almost all done.  Woo-hoo!!  I think Warren will be tempted to take my car away a few days a week on a regular basis.  He likes it when I do the laundry during the week and he doesn't have to say anything or do it himself.

It did work out that I could drive Jonathan's new Jeep to teach music lessons yesterday.  It was the first time I've driven it.  There was such a sense of responsibility and worry that I would be the one to make the first bump or dent in this beautiful vehicle that I'm not in a hurry to drive it again.  However, I have to say it is sweet!!

I'm up to four music students now.  Three for voice and one on piano.  What a joy!!  It still boggles my mind that I have something to offer them that is worthwhile...and yet...I know we are seeing progress and so it must be true.  It is all about the teaching for me!  I will never get over the thrill of seeing it click in their eyes and their joy in mastering a new skill.  I am not the best vocalist in the world...by far....but I have a decent ear and can communicate techniques which are helpful.  So...it's great as long as it lasts.

My Bandit has been healing from the loss of Chloe.  We cuddle a lot.  She goes pretty much wherever I go...even on short errands around town.  She especially liked the drive-through pharmacy because they give dog treats.

There is an overall sense of sadness and heaviness due to the important things happening all around us.  The wretched shooting in Orlando...well...make that two.  Christian Voice contestant Christina Grimmie was killed first by a man who was bothered by her stand for Christ on her social media. Then in an act of terror 49 mostly young people were slaughtered by an Islamic Radical.  And there you have it.  The hated.  Those in the gay community and those who follow Christ.  Interesting how these things "happened" in the same weekend, in the same city.  I'm praying that God will overrule the intended outcomes and instead use these horrible happenings to further the spread of His gospel of peace.  I know that the Word of God tells us that there will be war, hate and fighting as long as we are on this earth until He returns to make all things new.  I just don't want to be a part of the hate.  I want to continue to show love to those in my life who disagree with me.  I want to point them to Jesus.  Nothing I can say or do in my own strength will change anyone's mind about how they live....but His Word does not return void.  It lives and breathes.  I want to spend more time in the Word so that my life can be changed and brought closer to His will all of the time.  I'm so thankful for the precious love of our Heavenly Father.  For the comfort that comes in sweet communion with Him.

No word yet on Chadd's case....please just keep praying.  It is so hard, on all of us, really, but especially on Chelsea and Chadd.  I can see the toll the stress is taking.  I do also see how these two are amazingly strong and so deeply in love with each other.  It is a joy to see them learn to make decisions, live together, figure out how she can be warm enough without him being hot.  LOL  Welcome to my world, Chadd.  And that of most other grooms of the world.    They will laugh about it some day,  I hope.  But in the meanwhile....keep those prayers headed heavenward.

It is time to go switch the last loads of laundry and pop some chicken in the oven to roast for dinner.  Woo-hoo!  The domestic life..."forced" on me this week.  :-)










Thursday, June 9, 2016

Temp Kid, Saying Goodbye and The Joy of the Lord

We are borrowing a fifteen year old boy for the summer.  His name is Jared and he is pretty great.  Jared is one of those tech genius types that Warren can totally relate to.  They have a good time together over dinner and traveling back and forth to work.  Work? You say?  Yes.  Jared scored a summer internship at the theater.  That is how he came to stay with us for the summer.  You see, his parents used to live here and his dad now works for the Branson branch of the theater.  We love this family dearly and were so happy to say yes when Jared needed a place to stay.  On his first evening here Jared was online chatting with some friends and I overheard him refer to me as "Temp Mom"...I looked up and he said, "I don't know what I'm supposed to call you".  Melt my heart.  I told him to just call me Becky...he's here doing adult work so I'm planning to treat him mostly as an adult. Although I did try to put butter and syrup on his pancake this morning....he told me he could do that. lol  So......things are going great with our Temp Kid!!

Over the weekend our Chloe went downhill very quickly. Her respiratory rate was more than twice the normal count.   Monday morning I called and set a time to say our goodbyes.  It was hard, hard, hard.  But Georgia was available to go with me and so it happened.  I immediately felt a weight lifted off my chest once she was out of her distress.  In hindsight I wish we had either taken Bandit with us for the appointment or brought Chloe's body home so that she would have known what happened.  As it was Bandit spent the first 24 hours searching for Chloe.  In the approximately eight years we have had Bandit, Chloe was like a mom to her.  She has never been alone.  Poor baby.  I have shed more tears for her distress than my own pain.  But each day she is a bit better and I know that she will be fine.  I've been trying to figure out benefits to having just one dog and I'm coming up short at the moment.....but we won't rush into anything.

Through all of the challenges of this past year the JOY of the Lord remains.  Last evening I spent time with some ladies and this theme came up over and over again.  I know that sometimes we don't feel happy.  Sometimes we feel pretty stinkin' awful.  But the foundation of His Joy remains.  It is very resilient.  Before you think it would be possible.... you begin to know that peace.  And quickly following the peace come the bubbles of joy.  Like the bottom of the pot of hot water....slowly and just a couple at first....and then it comes to a boil.  Because the Love of God and the way He shows His intimate involvement in our lives can not leave us in a constant state of despair.  We must respond in gratitude and that brings the Joy.

I am holding on to this truth as we come closer to knowing how things will go for Chadd.  These are important days in the process.  Your prayers are so appreciated.  Thank you, so much!!

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Mystery of Friendship, Episode One

Immediately following Chelsea's wedding I shared photos of the wedding, talked a bit about the prep but held off on some details.  I knew that in the right timing those words would come as well.  Well here is a bit more from the heart about something that meant so very much to us over the wedding weekend.

You see, yesterday morning I was wrapping meat and cheese.  I KNOW!  Natural connection, right?  Just bear with me.  You may remember my mentioning that the appetizer tent held all kinds of Italian Meats, Cheeses and Grapes.  Well, Saturday late afternoon before the wedding found some of us over at our church working at the long counter wrapping meat and cheese, cutting cheese and chatting away.  These were not just any old bodies that were doing this.  It was myself and a family of four who came all the way from Michigan to attend the wedding....and offer their services in any way they could to help up set up...and tear down.

Karen and I became blog buddies when she sent me bread recipes.  Really, really good recipes!  In fact the one recipe became our church communion bread recipe for a few years.  During those years it was common to notice people trying to get a nice hunk of bread rather than a little pinch.  :-)  I didn't bake it during those years.  Our friend, Rachel Rabe, took that on as her ministry for a while.  She and other young ladies in the church covered it for quite some time.  Gotta love that.  I also love that when it became too much with their busy schedules we reverted back to store bought bread.  As an aside, it is better to only do a ministry for a season....from the heart.

Anyway, once Karen offered those bread recipes I became more tuned in to her blog, Blue Barn Bulletin, and found a like minded homeschool mom with daughters around Chelsea's age.  Before long Chelsea and Julianne were pen pals and they really hit it off.  We planned a surprise meet up around the girls' birthday....I'm trying to remember if it was 15 or 16th birthdays.  Karen?  I'm thinking 16th.  Chelsea found out by accident a day or so before Julianne and family arrived.  Nonetheless it was a fabulous first real life meeting and our families enjoyed being together so much.  Like we had been friends forever, really.  I'll never forget our final breakfast together that visit when Clarence had us all laughing until we couldn't breathe with his goat stories.  I love goats and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about his former pets.

Over the years we have vacationed with this family twice up in the mountains.  So much fun even as the first year found us all crammed in one cabin, instead of the two we had reserved, when a tree had taken out the power on their cabin.  It was unbelievable to me how well we all got along in such tight quarters and with just one bathroom for so many.  Add to that the fact that it rained like crazy and we were all stuck inside most days.  We bonded.  We played a lot of games, chatted a lot and laughed like crazy.
These were taken that year!

Pastor Mike and Clarence did dishes....


The girls "brought" their friend Emma along in the form of a picture.
They wished she had been there for real.

The following pictures were taken just before we hopped into our cars 
and headed to our respective homes.



There were 11 of us and three dogs in the cabin.




I think we were pretty tired....but happy.

So, with this history Chelsea invited Clarence, Karen, Julianne and Allison to the wedding.  I thought there was no way they would come from Michigan for it.  Chelsea thought otherwise.  She was right. When we got word that they were hoping to come I was ecstatic!  Chelsea was very happy but totally calm.  She had just known.  Oh Mom of little faith.  These aren't your average friends.

And so, Karen asked about the agenda.  I told her when we were planning to set up and that they were welcome to participate as much or as little as they would like.  Well, they participated.  BIG time.  There was so very much to do.  And we had those four extra sets of hands all day long.  From setting up the tables....yes, they measured the distance between each table...to putting the under cloth on and then lace on each and every table.  Setting up chairs for the ceremony.  Helping me put together the head table and decor.  I'm very sure they did things I have no idea about.  When we needed a pair of scissors a pair appeared from their van.  And then after all of that we found ourselves wrapping meat and cheese before they left to go enjoy Samson at Sight and Sound.  Pretty sure they deserved that treat.  ;-)

On Sunday they went to our church with Georgia even as Chelsea, Warren, Shelley and I went to the venue to finish preparations for the 3:00 pm wedding.  And so the next time we saw them was just before the wedding.  It was fantastic to know that they were going to enjoy the work of their hands.  I think they did.  At the reception they were seated with the crew from Creekside Cottage.  They are also blog friends over the years.  We felt very good about that seating arrangement.  There would be no boredom or discomfort there.

Now, it would have been perfectly understandable if that had been the end of the helpfulness our friends had to offer.  But would you believe they got up early Monday morning and came with us to finish loading and cleaning up the wedding site before driving back to Michigan?  I'll bet they needed a week to recuperate, as we did, after all of that physical labor and excitement.

We will forever be in their debt.  When their girls get married they can call on us to help them as much as they like.  Oh.my.goodness!

I don't really know what it is that makes friendships happen or grow.   I only know that it happens from time to time that way.  I'm so thankful for this connection that came because Karen reached out with some recipes.  Now if only she wasn't so many miles away......

Coming soon....the story of Shelley.  Another amazing friend!

.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

My Head Is Mostly Mine Again

The past two weeks were rough, rough, rough!  I strongly dislike having a head that feels like it has a mind of its own and is very rebellious in attitude!  And add to that the need for a million naps a day and you really have a recipe for an unhappy me.  I like to move, groove and do stuff.  We have so much stuff that needs our attention and yet it was all I could do to get up and started every day.  It started with extreme vertigo and is ending with mostly just weird pressure in my head and tiring easily still.

I think it was allergies.  To the extreme.  But it is possible that it was a virus.  Slightly possible.

Anyway....enough about that.  I'm counting on continuing to feel better with each and every day.

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This morning I went to pick up candle supplies from my favorite local jar company....Fillmore Container.  Apparently they enjoyed the moms, who went there while I was sick to pick up an order for me.  They were quite impressed at how much fun the ladies were having running my errands.  Gotta love those moms.  They do just make fun wherever they go.

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I got sad news on Saturday evening.  It turns out that a blogging friend's husband passed away Saturday morning.  This was not some distant husband who was rarely mentioned.  This man was the subject of many a post.  The blogging community who read this blog is going to be as sad as I am and I know that many are praying for this dear friend and that those prayers are much appreciated!

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Mom and I went car shopping last week.
It wasn't a whim, exactly, since we had been thinking about it but we hadn't planned to go that day.  However, we do have a tendency to fly by the seat of our pants more than Warren would prefer.  It all worked out great though since we went back to a trusted sales person at the dealership where Georgia and Jonathan have both purchased vehicles now.  Mom chose this Toyota.


Isn't she adorable??
The tall guy is Andy.  If you are local and in the market for a car, new or used, 
you might want to ask me for his contact info.  
Full disclosure....there is a referral fee in it for me
AND he is a really great guy!  
I like his easy going style.

*********
Our friend Nick graduated at church on Sunday afternoon.


It was a great service.  Nick's speech was fantastic...and made me weep a bit.
We've known Nick and his family for eight years and have watched him 
grow into a very special young man.
Many, many of his friends and family came which filled up our little sanctuary.

*********
Memorial Day started out to be a quiet affair and grew into a bit of a party.  I thought it was going to be just Warren, Jonathan, Georgia and I.  Turned out it was us - plus Mikey and Emily, Chelsea and Chadd and friends Xavier and Karly.  My mom even showed up for a few minutes upon her return from a visit to my brother's house in Central PA before she headed out to a picnic with friends.  Made my heart very happy to see all of those faces in one place.  :-)  We grilled chicken, burgers and a few hot dogs.  I made pasta salad and baked beans.  Chelsea brought herbed potatoes and Georgia made veggie stirfry.  We finished the meal with strawberry pie (berries picked that morning) and ice cream!  Summertime!!
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I have just returned from taking Chloe back to the vet for her first check up since we found out she is in heart failure.  She is showing some improvement on the medication and so I'm very happy we chose this path...  Minus all of the vet bills in our future.   It is good to see her perky little face each morning as she tries to get me to play with her.  Dr. Olsen says I can play gently with her.  So I will throw her toys with less gusto so she doesn't have to run so far to get them but that she can still feel the thrill of the hunt.  That Fox Terrier in her loves to hunt!  We are going to increase one of her medications and hope that it continues to help get the fluid out of her lungs.  As I was driving home from the vet with her I had to chuckle....kids grow up and go out on their own and the dogs start needing time and care.  What can I say?  It's just how it is....and as long as Chloe is happy and not in pain it is how it will be.  I am officially an old dog lady.  Read that last title however you like.  "Old dog" lady.  "Old dog lady".  :-)
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This morning's other fun....besides running my errand to Fillmore Container....was starting a new voice student.  It is a young man who is just dripping with talent.  I was a bit concerned that he would be well beyond me but after chatting with him this morning I think we have found some areas to work in.  He is interested in being stretched out of his comfort zone.  Oooh....Exciting!  That makes for a fantastic teaching opportunity.  And I do LOVE to teach!  So color me happy once again with another voice student.
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Our house guest, Jared, will be moving in this weekend.  He has accepted a position for the summer at the theater that this entire family works for...except me.   Since his permanent home is quite far away he needed a place to stay and as it happened we had a room available.  We are very excited to host this young man over the summer months.  It will be fun to get to know him better and maybe even do some fun trips around the area with him.  Last we spent much time with Jared he was quite young.  So we will have to get to know him all over again.  I'm pretty sure he will fit in very well here.

**********

It is time to go figure out what to make for dinner.  There are options....but I'll just have to settle on something and make it.  Hmmm....I'm hungry. Jonathan is hungry.  Warren will be coming home any minute....hungry.  I'd better get moving on that.

Chat with you later!







Monday, May 23, 2016

Sad News Today

This is my first day to resume normal activity since I've been sick.  Well, sort of normal.  I went to a doctor's appointment for me first thing and then an emergency appointment for our Chloe.  She is about ten now and has been having some coughing episodes for a little while.  I knew if she was still coughing after we got through the wedding I would have to face the music and take her to the vet.  Even so, it has taken me until now to do so because I was afraid of where this visit would take us.  Finally over the weekend I could see that she was struggling to breathe.  I did some research and kind of figured that she would either be diagnosed with congestive heart failure or cancer. I slept in the living room beside her crate last night and she actually woke me up a couple of times with her breathing.  And so this morning I called our veterinarian's office.  We have gone to them for 16 years.  They have put three of our fur babies to sleep and have taken care of the rest of them very well over the years.  It was Dr. Young at this office who diagnosed Bandit's slipped vertebrae not long ago.  We were super impressed at his tenderness and thorough exam that caught the source of her pain.

Today it was Dr. Olsen who was seeing patients.  He had the unpleasant duty of putting our Sally to sleep many years ago.  What this means is that he has seen me in tears before.  It took him about two seconds to grab the tissue box and slide it across the metal table to me today.  I was teary.  After all I've been dreading this for a while now.

Today.  She was begging to leave...."Please Mom???"

After a considerable amount of time examining and listening to Chloe he confirmed that she had a heart murmur as well as fluid in her lungs.  Then he proceeded to tell me all of the tests he wanted to run and gave me a quote that made my heart sink.  We couldn't afford all of this.  And then to treat her as well?  We would have to say goodbye.

But something made me ask if we really had to do ALL of those things at one time or could we take smaller steps to find out what was going on.  He was agreeable and we decided on the x-rays to start.  They confirmed fluid in both lungs and a very enlarged heart.  My poor baby.  I thought that was the end.  At best he thought we would get weeks to months with her.  He could maybe see a year at which he reminded me that in dog years that was really three.  I kind of didn't think that should play into the equation....one year or three "dog years".

Just a few weeks ago....

Now, I'm known around here for not letting any animal suffer.  The family all warns the animals to look strong NO MATTER WHAT because Mommy will take you to the vet and that is BAD.  But I looked at our Chloe and saw life.  Lots and lots of life still in her.  There she was with such a challenge just to get air and she has been begging with me to "play toys" with her as recently as yesterday.  I would always cut our play time short because she would start coughing.  But she was so willing and eager to play, play, play.   Today when I asked if she wanted to go for a ride in the car she jumped right up and tail wagging came eagerly.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that she wasn't ready to give up and so I could NOT give up on her either.

With "her" kitties.

And so, for now, our baby is home and on medication.  We will love her to pieces while we have her.
I'm praying that she gets a nice relief from the medication and gets to continue playing with her toys for a good bit of time yet.  It is her second favorite thing to do....second to eating.  That girl LOVES to eat!  Must run in the family.  :-)

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Sick Week!

Exhaustion, vertigo and nausea have been the themes of the week.  I have spent hours and hours in the recliner in the living room.  If you know me, you know this is highly irregular.  I don't sit still for long.  But this week I've slept for hours and hours on end.

Whether this is the fall out from nearly a year of stress or a viral attack doesn't really matter at this point.  It just was.  And to some extent, still is.  At least this morning I woke up at 3:30 am bright eyed and clear headed fretting about an order that had to be made and shipped today...by 11am.  There was no more resting until it was done and so I got up and did it.  By now, 9:13 am I feel like taking my third nap of the day.  And I just might.  But the order is made, boxed and I just have to put the label on it and take it to the post office.  Since I haven't had vertigo this morning I think I am fine to drive it there.  However, if Warren happens to be ready to leave the house by 10:30 I will let him drive me.  Just to be on the safe side. :-)

I did go to the doctor yesterday with the help of Georgia.  I'm not sure we accomplished much but some tests were run and we will see if they show anything.  I'm stepping up my water drinking in case I was dehydrated.

If you wanted to whisper a prayer that my strength would return that would be great.  I have a couple of orders that really need to go out on Monday and Tuesday.  It is all I can do to spend an hour down in the candle workshop right now.

Blessings on your week.

Catch you soon!