Thursday, August 28, 2008

My First Meme!

That is meme that rhymes with "dream" or could be said like "mem" from the word memory. The term and concept of meme is from the 1976 book by Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene. Though Dawkins defined the meme as "a unit of cultural transmission, or a unit of imitation," memeticists vary in their definitions of meme. The lack of a consistent, rigorous definition of what precisely a meme is remains one of the principal criticisms leveled at memetics, the study of memes. (from the Wikipedia) (Of course this was an education for me because I saw the word and thought immediately of my mother-in-law.....the kids call her Meme ("") and spells it that way too!)

Anyway, as you will soon find out I have to research everything to death. SO, my new friend over at Every Day Simple Abundance has kindly "tagged" me and it is my turn to state 6 "quirky" facts about me. I will do my best! I'm sure those of you who know me can think of 6 easily!

1. (Disclaimer, I am getting so much better now) Things have to match (not my clothing just random items needed to match) When my twin boys use to use "sippy" cups, I had a very very difficult time when the lid did not match the cup. Case in point: I moved to FL and met a new friend. She watched my boys one afternoon. She gave me my sippy cups and "carelessly" placed one of her lids on my cup and it didn't match. I could not sleep that entire night. I tossed and turned, knowing that the purple cup had a yellow lid! Insane, I know, but I think it comes with having multiples, things just matched and I feel better when things are "in order".

2. I'm a little naive. (or can I just say, I'm always learning new things). For example I was out with some girls tonight and they were talking about this thing called Dip that their husbands use. The first thought that came to my mind was French Dip, you know on French Bread and dipped in au jus! No not quite! After all the chuckling I found out it is some form of chewing tobacco. Don't laugh, I came home and asked my husband of 18 years what he thought Dip was and he said, "You mean French Dip, you know with the au jus?" Yea, two peas in a pod we are!!

3. I can't stand a messy face on my children. UGH! Since they were babies, I have been the "Wipey Queen"! Ask me why I still have Baby Wipes in my car - and no babies? To make sure faces are clean. Ironically enough, my Kyle only eats PBJs for lunch. All last year, the boy came home with jelly on his face - every day - it just killed me that he sat through the rest of his school day and had jelly on his face! I shudder just thinking about it!

4. I have bug phobia! True - I hate to admit that, but I do. My boys love bugs! Thank you Lord for that small gift! I really didn't want to pass on my fears. (Seriously, my son Kyle is the bug whisperer!)

5. I'm somewhat notorious (again getting better in my old age) for putting things away in the strangest places. ie. Deodorant in the refrigerator, Milk in the cabinet with the cereal...

6. I like to research things to death (I think this is directly or indirectly related to 2 on my list) or perhaps it comes from being a high school teacher for 9 years and not always knowing all of the answers to the questions my students had. I am dedicated to finding out the truth.

Ok so here is where I tag someone else (I think)! So I'm going to go ahead and choose from those who know me and hopefully won't ignore me. If you ignore this I'm still going to totally love you girls! I am only going to go with 3 because my predecessor did (Everyday Simple Abundance)!

Thus Far With God

Just Another Ordinary Miracle

The Reynolds Nation

(Here are the official rules:1. Link the person who tagged you.2. Mention the rules on your blog.3. Tell about 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger’s blogs letting them know they’ve been tagged. )

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Day In The Life Of...

Come on inside to our home, our school, our workplace. Just thought I'd give you a little glimpse of life under the Engel home on a normal school day. Since we are so blessed to be using Sonlight Curriculum, my children get a very rich History/Literature education starting at a very young age. This week (and a little of last week) we studied the various forms of currency, writing, clothing, food and hair/jewelery/makeup used in different countries. It has been fun spotting so many countries on our maps and then have a chance to make up our own language, ie. the Brendooli Language from my last post. We have also snacked on foods from China, Mexico, Italy and India. (Below is a picture of my boys trying an Indian drink called lassi. It was delicious!) Today we learned that people from just about every country arrange their hair, paint their faces and wear jewellery, and some do it for different reasons. My kids were amazed to learn that men of the Nuba people, from Sudan, paint their bodies to make them look strong and healthy. We learned about various Nuba face patterns and gave them a try at home. Brendan is what the Nuba people call "masked bird" and Shane is the "antelope". (of course Shane just thought it was better to be thought of as the black power ranger!)
That is a day in the life of a homeschooler. Here are a few pics of what we do during tropical storms:

This would be my husband with our children and our best buddies watching Tom & Jerry on TV!
Here are my children wanting oh so badly to get a job and drink coffee from a commuter mug - Just Like Dad!
This would be me and my humble attempt to get some of "Fay"!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Bench

I love benches. Especially small ones that only two or three people can sit on. So much communication can happen when you sit on a bench. I think God created benches. I know that man created them, but I think that if you ask the Lord for opportunities to minister - a lot can happen on a bench.

I had the opportunity to sit on a bench this past week and it was awesome. People walk by and smile. Some people sit for a second, shift their feet and then get up. Some people won't sit on a bench when someone else is sitting there, even if there is enough room. When someone sits down, it is fascinating to watch their body language. How are their legs crossed? Are their arms crossed? Are they looking in the complete opposite direction or are you sharing the same view? When I was in college (oooh--22 years ago-UGH), I took a communications class and we talked about non-verbal communication. So I am very aware of how my body communicates. So here I sit on the end of this bench with my legs crossed in the direction of the other end of the bench (in so letting someone know I am open and willing to receive communication). A few people sat next to me on this bench in the short time I was there. It was a small bench so you could only really sit two people comfortably. I had a conversation with each one, but this one touched me the most.

It was an elderly woman holding a 5 month old baby who took the seat next to me. I told her how adorable that little cherub was and asked if it was her granddaughter. She said, no, it was her "great granddaughter". I smiled and told her congratulations. I said that I think is such a rare blessing for children to get to know their "great grandparents" and that my children get to live with their "great grandfather" and it is sure a treat for them. She shook her head as she spoke and she said that the circumstances surrounding the conception and birth of this baby was not so good. She proceeded to tell me that his child was the child of her very young teenage grand daughter. Her granddaughter was indeed a child herself. She went into the details of her granddaughter's story and how painful it was for their entire family. As she spoke, I could see some of the shame seeping out. Times are different now. It is hard to be a teenager these days. She said that her granddaughter knew Jesus as her Savior, but....and her voice got lost as she placed her lips on the head of the baby she was holding. This woman proceeded to tell me that she had lived a long life, enduring many of life's struggles, including one of surviving cancer, yet this family circumstance was more difficult to bear in some respects.

I told her that I would not want to be a teenager in today's world. The spirit and the flesh are in constant battle. The enemy of our souls is constantly on the prowl, seeking whom he may devour. I reminded this woman whom, it was clear that she was a strong believer, that even Paul struggled with his flesh. Paul said, in Romans 7:15 "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Don't you just love Paul. He makes you feel "all better" -- this is not something new! The woman gently nodded her head. I reminded her again of how big Jesus' hands are and that even though 6 years had passed since her granddaughter gave her heart to Jesus, and a lot (this baby included) has happened in the 6 years, that the Lord still has both of these children in his hands. She may have wandered, but the most important thing now is to demonstrate God's love to her.

As I sat there it dawned on me that at this moment, demonstrated grace was far more effective than judgment would ever be. (So of course while we spoke I mentioned this.) She explained that that was indeed how this family was handling it. Full of grace. This little baby is so loved and her young Mommy is a wonderful, responsible Mommy who is also loved. I gave this woman a hug and told her that I was so blessed to share this bench with her, and as we hugged, her hug spoke to me as she held on a little longer. She encouraged me, to see the faith and love of a family always ministers to me, and I am guessing by that hug, that the Lord encouraged her too. I love to sit on benches. You might give it a try and just see what happens.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Florida - You gotta love it!

I got this email from a friend and it made me smile. I thought, if my friends and family from up north read my blog, they may just get a glimpse of what it is like here, what it is like to be a Floridian from June through November (our hurricane season). I do actually have video footage of yesterday (which was the worst of the whole week, but still nothing like we've been through in the past)...I'll post it eventually! Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

School Days = Tropical Storms = Hurricanes = Tornados!

Well, we made it through the first day of school....and now we "hunker-down" for a hurricane. Yup, two days off for "what could be" a hurricane, but is right now a tropical storm. I get the reasons for cancelling school, because one never knows, but clearly, today there were some major down pours and some gusty winds, but we could have had school. Anyway, I digress.

So, here are a few "first day of school pics" I thought I'd share.
Here is Kyle more than ready to conquer Day 1 of 1st grade! We couldn't be more proud (and quite frankly, he couldn't either!)
Brendan and Shane completing their morning "Critical Thinking" exercises. Shane is thrilled not to be sitting down. (Oh this child doesn't sit well at all!)
I purchased special pencils for Shane - $4.50 special - they are extra thick for little hands -- you know to help with writing his letters. Those would not do -- nope, you know why? They wouldn't fit behind his ears--that's why!! So we'll stick with the old cheap skinny pencils - cuz they look "cool"! UGH!
Ok, so the writing thing didn't go over so well on the first day of school. Writing in lines was just frustrating my kindergartner. So today we tried shaving cream. OH what a difference. So, I'm thinking of just printing this picture out for his portfolio.
Brendan is my Mr. Education - the kid could read and do school all day long. In this picture he is working hard at developing the 4001st language in our world, "Brendooli". (We learned in history today, that there are over 4000 languages in our world today - so now for sure there are over 4001.) Ok - the kid just turned 7 years old - he is so his parents' child - Mike and I both did this (but I don't think it was this good) It is a very cool language with symbols for letters and of course a special pronunciation for each symbol.
This is Shane's new favorite activity. Really, I don't need to cover P.E. for this child! He has got it covered!

Here is sample of the "Brendooli Language" in action:

I promise this is the final video of my boy finally getting the letter "h" actually the sound of "Sh". That would be shaving cream....funny thing...we kept smelling Daddy all day (that shaving cream sticks with you!)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Voice Heard

I have been told things like "You need to fight for your child!", "You are his only voice!", "You are his best advocate!" I do believe that is true, especially when there are special circumstances surrounding your child. Kyle as you know has been diagnosed with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder). He is high functioning, but then there are those things that we see that stick out like a sore thumb.

I homeschool two of my three children. I love all of my children equally and immensely. We pray about and for Kyle's schooling situation all the time. He went to a special Pre-K for kids with special needs. He really overcame so much in the two years he was with this teacher. Then two years ago he entered kindergarten. It was so adorable, Brendan was also in kindergarten and the cafeteria people would tell me that Brendan would cry a lot and Kyle always needed to give him a hug every time he saw his brother. It was special, seeing Kyle take care of Brendan. Then Kyle staying in Kindergarten another year, with the same teacher, by her request. We loved his kindergarten teacher. We felt like she really "got" Kyle, and the very fact that she wanted him another year, totally blessed my heart. She did care about him and he just loved her!! Kyle learned a lot in Kindergarten, however, he just missed the mark at the end of last year. He has been administratively assigned (a professional way of saying "pushed through") to first grade this year. We are excited, but nervous at the same time. As a side note, I am responsible for doing what is right by each of my children individually. I choose to keep Kyle where I know he is in a structured environment, which is what he thrives on right now in his development. (for any of you wanting to know why I don't homeschool him - also Kyle absolutely loves his school - the faculty and children seem to love him too!)

He still does not really read or write just yet, but he certainly has a lot more words and can express himself so much more confidently. Well, this summer Kyle was convinced he would have a certain teacher for 1st grade. He just assumed, because she was the only 1st grade teacher he knew, that in fact she would be his. Well, he absolutely loves this lady, let me tell you. She and her family are very dear to us, they are very special friends of our family, so Kyle knows this woman very well and she just makes him light up. Unfortunately, even though we (meaning the child study team, his Kindergarten teacher and we his parents) recommended her for his first grade experience, there was no guarantee she would be chosen by the powers that be.

We went to "meet the teacher" yesterday and Kyle found out that he did not have who he thought he would have in 1st grade. I was a nervous wreck. When I found out, I was mad, sad, scared, mad, oh I said that already didn't I?! I was more nervous for his reaction. Was he going to understand? Well, he didn't understand at the beginning. He told this nice new teacher, "It's nice to meet you, but I have "Mrs. SoandSo" for 1st grade". No Kyle, this is your teacher. This went on for hours. It was about 5:00pm that I was sitting at the table and mentioned that we are going to have to show this new teacher what a great student he is, he is going to have to do his homework. He looks at me and says, "after I am with this teacher, then I go to Mrs. SoandSo for 1st grade?" No honey, no, you do not have Mrs. SoandSo! Hours of this until finally the true test. Mrs. SoandSo called our home at about 5:30pm and I put her on the phone with Kyle to see if he really understood, and he did! Finally! He will be ok with this new teacher. He does surprise us all the time!

Then we found out that it is not listed in his new IEP that he gets a special bus. He has gotten a special bus every year since he was three. He does not know his address, or how to get home, if he is dropped off and for some reason I am late, he will be left alone on the street. (three streets away, I might add). This is not acceptable.

I was on the phone with the principal of the school, the head of the transportation department for our county and the school's transportation office, all afternoon! I will not put my child on a bus that is not picked up and dropped off in front of my home. The end! They tried to convince me to give this new bus a try, they spit my words back into my face "Well, you said yourself that Kyle is always surprising you", they explained how tedious it would be to change what needs to be changed in order for him to get a special bus. All I kept saying was "Ok, so what has to take place in order for us to reconvene and get this changed?" I must have said that 5 times to the same person yesterday because she was not wanting to hear what I was saying.

I have felt that way quite a bit! I am the only voice my child has, I have to fight for my child's education and services, I am his best advocate. I did not get angry, I was just firm. Often times, I feel like my voice gets lost in the wind. No one wants to hear it! I felt like no one listened to our recommendation (after a 2 hour meeting with the team that is supposed to be Kyle's supporters and his kindergarten teacher who was wanting the best for Kyle too). UGH! After a night to sleep on all of this and some information that made things more clear, I realize this: I give my child to the Lord every single day. He is a gift to me (as are all of my boys). I do have a voice and it may not be heard on his behalf here on this planted earth, but it is heard every single day, several times a day in Heaven. My Heavenly Father is his very best advocate! He is mine too! When I cry out for my son, my Jesus hears me every single time and meets me where I am, reminding me that Kyle is special to him too! He's got it covered. It is all part of His divine plan. He has Kyle placed in the palm of His hand (just like I pray for)! I do have a voice and it is heard! Thank you Lord for taking such great care of "our" boy! Thank you Mrs. SoandSo, you know who you are, for keeping a physical eye on "our" boy too! I feel confident that Kyle is in a good place and will be well taken care of. There will be no bus however until it shows up at my front door. That is for sure!

"The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and He delivers them."
Psalm 34:7

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Dangerous Thing Boys Do

I wish I could spell all of the things that come out of my mouth when I watch my boys play. "Ahhhhh" or "Please Dear Lord, let them not hang themselves", "Ay yei yei", "OH MY", "Please please please be careful". I could go on. My boys are crazy. Or are all boys just crazy? My friend Michelle has told me on a few occasions that I should buy the book below. I'm thinking I should. At least in this book there might be some constructive "dangerous" things boys can do, like make a battery, make a periscope....

Because here is what my boys are doing lately....
That is their friend Chase, he is more than likely the mastermind, but my boys are quick learners. They were having a blast making a "tree fort" without any wood! Those are cheap plastic chairs, just sitting on a tree branch!
Below is Chase's little brother. Here is the problem, he sits there looking all adorable, but really, I believe he is just learning the ropes. Yup! He is watching the big boys do dangerous things, so that in a few years he'll be doing dangerous things and the cycle keeps going.
So, here again are my wild animals. Crazy boys, but I love them. I am thankful for their imagination. I know that there will be more "dangerous" things ahead. I mean if you haven't caught my friend's Michelle's website her boys blew up a car not too long ago (an old car just sitting on their property). These are the things I have to look forward to. My boys love going to Ms. Michelle's house because they are completely free (and encouraged I think) to release all that testosterone that might be sometimes quenched by my always saying "Can you just sit down and read for a little bit?" or "How about some play dough?" or how about this one.....I know you have said the same thing....."Ok, so who wants to play the silent game!?"
Seriously, I am so glad my boys play hard. They need to! So, Lord just keep that hedge of protection around my boys. I am sure the angels that the Lord has in charge over my boys are very capable at doing what they are called to do.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Catching Up, Getting Ready, Having Fun!

So this is Mr. Incredible's birthday cake (just Catching you Up on this tidbit of info.). I use to make him one (homemade, you know, like, from scratch) every year for the first 12 years of our marriage. For the last 6, it has been quite the challenge (we have been blessed to be close to some good bakeries). So this year, I really worked hard. I was determined to make this the best. This was some labor intensive cake boy, let me tell you. Hershey's Chocolate Fudge Cake with Chocolate Fudge Icing. (Even the icing was unusually time consuming, but the reward was amazing)! Are you drooling?
So then there is the Getting Ready. You got it! School! For us it begins on August 18th and we couldn't be more excited. I have been over my lessons for the first week, about 15 times (I'm teaching a 2nd grader and a Kindergartner). Kyle meets his new teacher on Friday, we are a little nervous, but also a little excited. Sound familiar? I always felt this way the first day as a student (now I feel this way as a Mom for my boy).
But, we are still Having Fun. This is an afternoon storm. It was a deluge! Raining huge drops, fast and hard! We had a blast getting soaked. Kyle joined in after I went out - so he is not pictured here. There is nothing quite like jumping on the trampoline in the middle of a storm (no lighting don't worry)!
Yea, that was great fun! We will have to do that again. I have to say however, when we got back inside the house, it was as if we entered Antarctica. We got on our flannels and long sleeved sweatshirts and had some popcorn minus the hot cocoa. (If I had hot cocoa to make, I would have made it!) Fun times!

A Clean Heart

Psalm 51:10 says "Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me." This is also a favorite praise and worship song as well. I was humming it yesterday as I hung up our new family chart (you know, chores, behavior checks...):

The reason why I was humming this familiar scripture was because as I was about to hang this chart on this door I noticed something around the rim of the frame of the door. Dust! Yes! This door just houses our air conditioner/heater unit. We never go in here but maybe twice a year to vacuum the dust when the guy comes to check on our unit once in the winter and once in the summer. (Well, we never had the guy come this summer).

Caution: What you are about to see may not be suitable for all audiences. ::wink-wink:: (I'm so embarrassed)

Do you see that dust? It is sad when you can actually see the color of the dust and it is not just this sprinkle that covers your furniture. We worked on that little vent (using approximately 48 Q-tips) for about an hour. Despite Shane's face in this picture, we had tons of fun.

No seriously! We had fun. You know why? Because after the first swiping of the Q-tip, it was very rewarding. "Ooh Mom check it out?!" All of this dust just poured right out of little vent and then we moved down to the next little dent in the vent and more rewards just poured right out. To see the pile of Q-tips and dust was just the best feeling ever. (well maybe not ever) I am sure the whole family may even feel the benefits from this clean vent.

I thought about how it feels when our hearts are cleaned out. When we have all of this crud (dust) in our hearts and then we go to the Lord and ask him to cleanse us, it feels like a fresh clean start. With forgiveness from sin, the reward is instant because if we repent, He forgives us and that is it. Sometimes we have things in our lives that we are holding onto for whatever reason, and it weighs us down. When we go to our Father in Heaven and ask him to remove the junk from our lives, it is some times a process that may actually cause us to sweat or even hurt. Our flesh does not want to give up those things that tickle it. Removing the dross from our lives is a work of the Lord, but oh if we can stand it, the reward is amazing. You feel lighter, cleaner, and stronger.

So I say, "Create in me a clean heart, Oh God, and renew a right spirit within me." Do your work in my life Father, "refine me like silver and test me like gold. when I call on your name, you will answer me; You will say, 'she is my daughter,' and I will say, 'The Lord is my God.' Zechariah 13:9"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

How God Can Use A Pen

Anyone who knows me knows my passion for reading. I am addicted to a few things, reading is one of those things, my kids/husband (family) and this computer are the other things. So, I have handed many a book to share with others. I just couldn't imagine someone not knowing about my favorite authors. I have been to Book Teas and have brought books from this particular author and have had many people thank me for handing them these books. So here are a few of my favorite authors, Randy Alcorn, C.S. Lewis, Gene Edwards, Frank Peretti, Francine Rivers, Bodie & Brock Thoene, and the list could go on, but lets keep it at my top 6. Each author brings something different to my reading pleasure. Today I want to share a story of how one author ministered through the written word in a fiction book. Randy Alcorn. I have read almost everyone of his books. He has never written a fiction book that I haven't purchase right away. I have read everyone of of those. I have also read many of his non-fiction books as well.

The first book I found on a sale rack in our Christian Book store in New Jersey. It was Deadline. For the first time I got a real glimpse of what Heaven and Hell just might be like. Randy Alcorn's ministry is called Eternal Perspectives Ministry and if you read any of his books, you will begin to think as you should - eternally! Many years ago, I would say probably 10 or 11 years ago, as was my tradition, I purchased a Randy Alcorn Book to go on vacation with me to Vermont. This time it was Dominion the second in a series of three using the same core character. As many of you know my husband and I had to fight the fertility battle for many years. We tried to get pregnant and lost so many babies along the way. I had a condition, that made it very difficult to produce healthy eggs. So, until I had sought the help of a fertility specialist and had surgery on my ovaries, I was unable to hold a pregnancy longer than 3 months. In the middle of those 10 years of trying to get pregnant, was when I picked up this book. At first glance I would never had thought it would minister to me the way it did, other than getting my mind off of trying to get pregnant.

I sat pool side looking at the amazing beauty of Vermont's mountains as I read the words of a character in this book who is seeing Jesus for the first time face to face. She is noticing the hands of her Savior, marred and disfigured, hands of a Carpenter and Creator. This character had suffered a wound that scarred her on earth. A wound that came from violence that literally and emotionally scarred her. The following is the quote that brought new understand to a me, a woman who was scarred by infertility and feeling all alone.

" She wept again, dropping to his mangled feet and caressing them with her hands. He put his fingers under her chin and turned her eyes up toward his. "For you," he said to her, "I would do it all again." She could not stop weeping. She was surprised she could cry here, one of the first surprises in an eternity that would bring endless ones. If some tears would never be cried again, she thought, then tears of love and joy and fulfillment were among heaven's pleasures.

She searched the Carpenter's face as one searches a face she has yearned for, which she has seen in her dreams as long as she can remember. On the right side of his throat, she saw another scar, a mark of discoloration, not prominent, only an inch long. The scar looked remarkably like....She reached suddenly to the side of her neck to feel the scar from the broken beer bottle. She couldn't feel it. Gone. He smiled at her, rubbing his finger on his scar, which used to be hers, just as she had so often done on earth. That quickly the scar on his neck disappeared. But the scars on his hands and feet remained. She knew they always would."

For the first time, I got it! I had been saved and serving my Savior for many years, and I understood healing and I understood that He has already taken our wounds to the cross. I knew that He understood my pain. However, I didn't really believe that the Lord could bear the scar of infertility. I don't know why I didn't believe that, after all He is my Creator. But I was a woman and I didn't think even the son of God could truly understand. I know that sounds limiting and shallow of me, but it is not that I thought that out loud. I didn't really say those words, they weren't even conscious to me at that stage in my juncture. However, I totally identified at that moment, to that character, as I sat poolside weeping. Weeping and thanking Jesus for truly understanding my pain. I knew then and there that He understood the pain and anguish of infertility and the loss of so many babies, so many dreams. I felt loved all over again. I remember it clearly, as if it were yesterday, sitting there with my towel wiping the tears, and almost feeling my sweet heavenly father holding me as he revealed yet another truth to me, his daughter.

The Lord took two little paragraphs of a non-fiction book to minister to me, his daughter, and to again reveal another facet of His love to me. I love the word of God. His word is truth. I am one to always find scripture to back up what I say to people when giving counsel or advice. I don't want to go outside the Word of God, because His word is true and the Truth will set you free!

Last night I went to the emergency room for cluster headache pain. It is so severe that even my hair hurts. Someone comment on my blog yesterday that shares my same love for this author and it prompted the memory of this book and the ministry of the truth in my life at that time. It couldn't have been more timely. I am blessed to know that my Jesus understand the pain I am in right now and I will rest in His loving care until He lifts my head (pain free) from my pillow.

Thank you Randy Alcorn for blessing me as you did then, and as you continue to do, through your pen. I am thankful for God inspired men and women who write for His pleasure and ours!

Gifts continued from previous posts....(thankful for...)

116. The words penned by many of my favorite authors.

117. The truth spoken, just they way I could understand it.

118. A Heavenly Father who longs to be that real and that close!

119. Being reminded today that he knows intimately all about the pain we suffer.

120. Eternal hope that I have in someday going home and seeing my "sweet Jesus" face to face!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happy Birthday Mr. Incredible

This blog is about the journey of a superhero Mom. Not a super Mom by any means, just a Mom of superheros. I hope that is well understood. However, I do have a super family and the head of this family is Michael, my Mr. Incredible. Today is his birthday!
I met Mike in September of 1989, we started dating in February 1990 and we were married that December of 1990. When you have a good thing, you just know it! About 9 or 10 years into our marriage I sent flowers to my mother-in-law on August 5th to thank her for her son. I consider myself one of the most fortunate women to be married to Michael.He is my very best friend on this earth. He knows me like no other, he loves me like no other, and he cares about me like no one else could. He watches over me, protects me, encourages me and makes it a priority to bless me. He honors me with his words and actions. He teaches our boys to love a wife the way the Lord has intented! I could not ask for more in a man. When we were getting married my pastor told him to "Treat her like the precious jewel that she is.." and that is what he has done for the past 18 years.
Before we had children, I knew Mike would be an amazing Dad. When we lost our first child, I realized I had no idea of the capacity of love in this man. After losing 14 babies, and then giving birth to our twins, I knew that God had given me an amazing undescribable gift in this husband of mine. He is a phenominal father to our three sons. His love and adoration for our boys goes beyond description of the written word. Here is a man who would choose his family over anything.
Since the time my twins were born and I was in and out of a coma, my husband was an absolute hands on Daddy! As a matter of fact, when I was finally home with my babies, my husband went back to work and it was I who called him with questions like "How do I do this thermometer thing? I put it where?!" yes indeed, he educated me at first.
Well we are in this parenting thing together and I have to say, I couldn't ask for a better partner to parent with. My boys are so blessed to have Michael as their hero!
What attracted me to Mike 19 years ago is what still attracts me today. His heart for the Lord, his compassion for people and his passion and love for his family. I tell eveyone that when I first met Mike Engel, I told my dad that I wanted to marry someone just like Mike Engel. I just never thought that he would pick me. He had all of the qualities in a man that I had ever hoped of having one day. He encourages me in my faith, he loves the Lord and desires to be the best husband, son, father, friend that he can be. Is he perfect NO WAY - no one is, but as far as I'm concerned he is my super hero! I am blessed to call him friend, I am blessed to call him love and I am blessed to call him the father of my three sons. Below is a picture that I hold dear to my heart. Here is the man I married and who we celebrate today, teaching my boys the importance of prayer. What a legacy. Happy Birthday my love!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Do You See What I See?

One of the many reasons we love Florida is the sky! Sometimes we get the best skies - stormy, sunny, sunsets, cloudy, we love to just watch the sky. A few days ago, we were on our way home from the YMCA and we were all looking at the sky. The clouds were amazing. They were puffy and white and there were some amazing shapes up there.

When we got home we laid out on our trampoline and just gazed. Then the best part happened....conversation! "I see Winnie-The-Pooh...can you see it?", "I see a race car...see the smoke!", "Oh I see a baby on his you see him?", "What do you see Mom?" If you know my children, you might be able to guess who said what. That is what tickles me so much. Oh the conversations and the attempts to see what others were seeing was making us laugh. "Just look right where my finger is pointing....!" and this made me smile, "If you squint maybe you can see some of Heaven."

The interesting thing that I realized is that each of my children saw in the clouds what is special to them. Matthew 6:21 says "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." I know this doesn't exactly relate to what we see in clouds, but I thought about what my children could have seen and I am blessed that they are seeing beautiful things that bring them joy and comfort. Anne Morrow Lindbergh once said "One can get just as much exultation in losing oneself in a little thing as in a big thing. It is nice to think how one can be recklessly lost in a daisy!" I would just replace daisy with clouds and say Amen!

Gifts continued... from previous posts:

111. The beautiful sky full of wonder and imagination.

112. The creative mind of a child.

113. The comfort of memories.

114. The unconditional love and acceptance that my boys share! May it last forever!

115. The ability to find joy in the smallest things.