Monday, February 18, 2013

Calculus, Germs, and a Birthday

I'm a bad blogger.  Since early January, I have been covered up in Calculus, germs, and a birthday. 

I'm perhaps a lunatic for trying to take my Calculus class on-line.  It's one of my FOUR (EEEK!!!!!) remaining classes on my Middle Grades Ed degree.  It's been so long since I've had a math class that is this hard--probably high school.  (That was 15 years ago!  Geez, I'm getting old...)  And to say it's hard is an understatement.  Its been brutal and eating up every spare moment of free time I have.  And, well, with two children under four--who has free time to begin with!?!

Germs, germs, and more germs have invaded our house.  Since late November, my poor Kohen has had the stomach bug 3x, pneumonia, and the flu.  Kade has managed to stay well, with the minor exception of the stomach bug that he and the rest of my family shared.  Honestly, it spread to 12 people in my family in less than 2 weeks.  (I am the lone woman standing, which is good--because who has time to get sick with Calculus looming over my head?!?)

Kade turned 4 on February 10th!  I have tons of pictures I need to upload from his party.  Maybe I'll save that for another post...

For the past few weeks, that's my life in a nut shell.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I am...

I found this paper tucked away in some bible study stuff I was going through last week.  It's called "I am..." and it gives you all of these prompts to fill in your own information into the sentence.  Since my blogging brainstorming has been so uneventful lately, I thought, "Why not?"  So here you go...

I am...
I am the second daughter born in 1980 to parents who worked for a local food distribution company.  I am the child who played with Barbies, anything Bart Simpson, and baby dolls.  I am the child who loved to climb trees, play outside, and aggravate my older sister.  I am the child who dreamed of being a police officer and never thought I'd be a suicide surviovor.

I am the teenager who learned the hard way that my parent's are much smarter than I gave them credit for being.  I am the teenager who wore hand-me-downs from an older sister, Levi's Buttonflys, and tight-rolled my jeans.  I am the teenager who hated school, reading, or anything else that had to do with learning.  I am the teenager who spent too much time at Skateland, thinking about boys, and cutting myself off from my family.  I am the teenager who wanted to be loved deeply without facing heartache, and I knew that was impossible.

I am the woman who licks her finger to clean a smudge off her children's faces.  I am a woman who loves to be encouraged, spending quiet weekends at home, and Sunday naps. 

I am the mother who loves to hear her children laugh but loses all rational if they get sick.  I am the mother whose moments of perfect bliss come when she can bathe without interruption.

I am the career student who wants to be smarter than necessary and wishes to become a Middle Grades Educator.  I am the person who craves attention, but loves my independence.  I am the person wants a clean house 24/7 and watches too much reality TV in order to make the clean house 24/7 possible.

I am the women who still loves to lick the spoon when baking a cake, who still longs to travel the world, and still lives paycheck to paycheck.  I am the person who dreams of making a difference in other people's lives and who hopes that in all she does people will see little of her and more of Jesus.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Jan 4, 1998: The Day I almost Died...

I repost this every year, because I don't want to ever forget the unseen sovereign hand of a Mighty God who saved me.

Jan 4, 1998 will forever be imprinted on my heart. It was the day before I would begin the second semester of my Senior year of high school. It was a Sunday, and I was on my lunch break from the part-time job I worked. I went home to grab a quick bite to eat. When I left my house to return to work, my mom said, "Keep it (your car) on the road and out of the ditches." I had no idea what she was talking about or why she even said that. She hadn't ever said that before. So, without much thought further I pulled out of the driveway and headed back to work.

I had driven this road countless times since getting my license almost 2 years prior. I had even made the comment "I can drive it (the road) with my eyes closed." Boy, at times we can be so foolish, can't we? The road I grew up on was very curvy--much too curvy for the 55 mph posted speed limit. As I was going around one of the curves, my pager went off (those were once the cool things to have). As I looked down, I ran off the road and over corrected. I hit another vehicle head on. Because I hit another moving vehicle, it was double impact. I hit my steering wheel at 110 mph.

This is the after math...or what I most often refer to as "the day I almost died."

Brace yourself... This picture takes my breath away every time I look at it....

This day haunts me and often makes me wonder and reflect on what God's purpose is for my life? Why was I spared?  It's partially the reason I chose my One Word for 2013 to be:

So, you may be wondering how on Earth I could survive the mangled mess that was once my car.
It's simple: God's grace and mercy. The one characteristic that I hated so much about myself--my petite size--saved my life. The space between my steering wheel and seat was just enough space for my broken, beat up body.  I was trapped in my car for two hours as rescue works called in the "jaws of life" to free me. (I met a former friend of my grandpa's who told me that he tried to pull on my car so much his hands were bleeding. That's before the rescue crews arrived. Thank you Mr. Willis!)

Once, I was finally freed, I was airlifted to Mission Memorial Hospital in Asheville where I spent about a week in ICU. I had 8 hours worth of surgery the day of the accident to implant metal rods in both of my legs. I had broken my left femur and right tibula. I also broke my pelvis, my lung was collapsed, and I had countless staples and stitches.

Finally, I was conscience and moved to a regular room.

From Left to Right:
Amber Seagle, Carrie Houston, Me, Jessica Reitzel

Me and My Grandpa

Me and my Aunt Marie

On January 30, after 25 days in the hospital, I finally was allowed to go home. Home, sweet home. It was 2 days before my 18th birthday.
Me holding my niece Kenleigh

I spent the rest of my Senior year being a home-bound student, attending physical therapy 3 times a week, and learning how to walk again.....Oh! And being so very grateful and undeserving of being alive.

So even 15 years later, I can say without reservation

"I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well."
Psalm 139:14

Happy Anniversary to me! It's good to be alive!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's okay Thursday...

Its Ok Thursdays

I'm linking up once again with Amber who hosts "It's Okay Thursdays."

It's okay that
  • My three year old out lasted me on NYE.  He made it until 11:45, and I was in bed shortly after 10pm.  To be fair, I had to work New Years Day.
Photo: Kade tried his best to stay up until the new year, but just lost. Give him credit though, he came closer than Elaine M Killian... ;)

  • I start Calculus on Monday and I'm scared!!!  I haven't had a math this hard since high school.  Y'all pray for me and my sanity.  Pray for my family too :)
  • I *thought* I lost my TI-83 calculator, so I purchased a used one...Then, guess what?! I found it.  (I'm selling one by the way if you know someone who needs one.)
  • I picked my One Word for 2013 and I'm very excited to try and determine what Gods purpose is for my life.
Photo: I have my One Word Resolution for 2013:
  • I chose to exercise my 2nd Amendment right yesterday and purchase my first pistol.
  • I'm taking a concealed weapons class later this month, and I'm very excited about it.
  • I failed at all of my 2012 New Years Resolutions.
  • Instead of making New Year's Resolutions for 2013, I have noted a few things I want to improve on: growing closer to the Lord, taking more pictures, sending more cards, and showing acts of kindness.  I'm thinking I may find my purpose somewhere along the way...
  • I found this chicken nugget smiling at me in my freezer.  It must be thinking of my inability to
Photo: Elaine M Killian and and I have been looking at the happiest frozen chicken bite everytime one of us open the freezer. Thanks Nathan Killian, this just shows what a happy place Tyson is to work and a sign of what 2013 is going to bring...

That's all for now!  Happy Thursday Friends! :)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Reflecting on 2012

I wrote this post last year on New Years Day.  It was fun (and often difficult) to reflect on 2011.  I will use the same questions to reflect on 2012.

I received an email from (in)courage concerning personal reflection... In the email, 20 questions were given as a spring board to get the reflection gears grinding. You can click here to get a free pdf. printable of the questions if you want to answer them yourself or with family. If you aren't on (in)courage's mailing list, please consider doing so. Every email is so uplifting and glorifying of the Lord.

1. What was the single best thing that happened to you this year?
Being asked to teach Sunday School--God revealed Himself to me in a big, BIG way at that time.  I was struggling with finishing some last minute classes on my Middle Grades Education degree, and I was beginning to question whether God was saying "No" or "Not now."  God opened a window into my being able to do what I'm passionate about (teach).  It's even more special that I get to teach on Who I am most passionate about:  Him.

2. What was the single most challenging thing?
I'm still challenged daily in my walk with the Lord.  I strive to live a life that is pleasing to Him, and I tend to fail more often than succeed.  The most challenging thing for me was most likely being at the hospital with my friend Shellie when her newborn son passed away.  I wanted to be there for her because I love her and her family dearly.  However, during this time I was taken aback at how ill-prepared I am to handle tragedy.  I completely froze in this moment.

3. What was an unexpected joy this year?
My job was outsourced in late 2011, so I began working for a new department within our company in late February.  It was a forced demotion for me, and I'll be the first to admit that I wasn't very happy with the transition.  However, it has been so much better than I ever imagined.  I love my co-workers, and we have blended so well together.  I get to work 4 ten hour days so I have every Wednesday off (probably my most favorite unexpected joy).  And, my boss is so great to work for. 

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
The death of my friend's son, Styles.  He was born 8 weeks premature, and he lived 28 days.  He was so tiny, but absolutely perfect.  I've never experienced anything like this so close to "home."  It's be so hard on Shellie, his mom.  Will you help me pray for her?

5. Pick 3 words to describe your year?
I said this last year, but it still fits:  Overall, I'm blessed!

6. Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe your 2012 (Don't ask them! Guess based on how your spouse sees you).
Busy, Tired, Grouchy

7. Pick 3 words your spouse would use to describe their 2012 (Again without asking them).
Busy, Tired, Grouchy :)

8. What were the best books you read this year?
I would love nothing more than to read, but I seriously don't have the time.  When I pick up any book, Kade will say "Read me the 'This Little Boy Named Kade' book."  Every book I try to read, he thinks is about him.  Instead of reading, I make up stories like, "This little boy named Kade really needs to get his sleep at night so he will grow up to be a big, strong man like Daddy."  Precious moments--and wouldn't trade them for anything!  I do plan to "try" to read more this year.

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My husband--we've had an open line of communication this year.  It's nice to know that I can go to him and talk about absolutely anything.

My mom--she goes above and beyond to take care of my children so I can work.  She has a hard job keeping my two boys and my niece Sarabeth.  I honestly have no idea how she does it... 

The Women of Grace at my church--I've developed so many friendships in 2012, and I'm thankful for the wisdom, guidance, and prayer of these women.

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
My job transition in early 2012 and still monitoring/eliminating all the trash I'm taking in...

11. In what ways did you grow emotionally?
I said this last year, but it's still relevant:  I learned to have lesser expectations of people and to expect more from myself.  The only thing I would add for 2012 is:  Some people will never be your friend no matter how much you wish/want them to be.  Move on to the people who will and appreciate every second of those friendships.

12. In what ways did you grow spiritually?
I completed the bible study "No Other Gods" by Kelly Minter with my church.  It opened my eyes to some present day idols I have in my life.  I realized that I was putting so many things before the Lord, and even though I've completed this study--I still feel like there is something I missed, so I plan to do it again sometime in 2013.

13. In what ways did you grow physically?
I trained for and completed my first 5k.  My goal wasn't to be the fastest.  My only goal was to survive.  I've had to stop running right now because with my asthma, I can not breathe in cold air.  I do plan on restarting the Couch to 5k in early spring and (hopefully) I will be able to run the entire 5k next year.

14. In what ways did you grow in your relationships with others?
The biggest growth in my relationships occurred by taking time out to appreciate the people in my life and their differences.  I have prayed about ways I can be a better friend, mother, wife, daughter, etc and I can see God working in those areas of my life.  So, although the relationships themselves may not have experienced growth, my role in those relationships did.

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally:  My co-workers.  We have a great time and work well together.
At Home: Hearing the laughter of my kids and husband.  Knowing that we are all safe, together, and happy.

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Professionally: Staying on Task =) (same as last year)
At Home: Keeping my house up (also, same as last year).  This year, I plan to accept that with two small children, there will always be something that needs to be cleaned, tossed out, or put away.  I.Will.Find.Balance.In.2013!

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Same as last year:  Probably all the time I spent on Facebook.  Shocking, I know.  A close second would be all the time I spend watching TV.

18. What was the best way you used your time in this past year?
I tried to send more cards this year.  I tried to text people more often too.  Edifying others.  (There will be more of the same in 2013!)

19. What was the biggest thing you learned this year?
Life, as unfair as it may be at times, is so precious.  We should literally approach each day having purpose.  Another biggie is that it's time to let some things go.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.
I copied this Facebook status in 2011, and it's still very relevant for my 2012 year:
"(2013) is hours away.  As I reflect on (2012), there have been highs and lows, good and bad times, tears and laughter, losses and gains, deaths and births.  Through all of it, I have been gently cradled in the Lord's arms as He carried me through the lows (and blessed me with the highs).  His footsteps were visible as He walked beside me in the good and bad times.  In (2013) I will continue to trust "His Unseen Hand" (and give Him the honor and glory that He rightly deserves.  I will commit to living my life with purpose.)
**I added anything in ( ) for 2013.

Happy 2013 Sweet Friends! May this be the year the Lord returns!  Looking for the King in 2013 =)

Monday, December 17, 2012

When the Children Cry...

Somehow this song seems entirely appropriate for the recent events...As the family and loved ones prepare to say their final goodbyes to their sweet sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, mothers, aunts...may we always remember that this did not take our Lord by surprise. He is waiting to help heal the broken hearts of so many...please continue to pray for others as you would want them to be praying for you.

The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart..." Psalm 34:1

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Gingerbread Houses with a Christian twist...

I created this lesson to share with my Sunday School Class as we build Gingerbread Houses together.  Please feel free to use this with your family and loved ones too!  I gave each child a copy of the information below to explain the parts to family and friends.

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The Gingerbread House

God can be found everywhere and in everything. Using Scripture and the Gingerbread House, I’m going to show you how you can find Christian symbolism by looking at my gingerbread house.

As you can see, everything is edible. I was tempted to eat some of the candy as I was constructing my house, but I didn’t. I also had to exercise patience while constructing the house. At times, I had to hold each piece together waiting on the icing to set. I was impatient, but the Lord helped me be patient. I took my time with each part, and I did my best work. My bible tells me:

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. My bretheren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Know this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
James 1:1-4

We used SEVEN graham crackers. God introduced the number SEVEN as a symbol of completion of His initial creative act. It is a number which represents perfection, obedience, and rest. My bible tells me:

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.
Genesis 2:1-4

Each graham cracker is divided into TWO smaller crackers. Just like SEVEN has significant meaning in the Bible, so does the number TWO. God’s word is represented by the number TWO. For example, the Bible is divided into TWO sections: The Old and New Testaments; Noah gathered TWO of every living creature to board the Ark. My bible also tells me:

“For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword.”
Hebrews 4:12

You will notice that each graham cracker is turned the same way, with the lines going up/down. When I pray, my bible reminds me from where my help comes from:

“My voice shalt thou hear in the morning,
O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.”
Psalm 5:3

There is only one DOOR, just as there is only one way to Heaven.

“Just saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life;
no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
John 14:6

There is a DOOR KNOB as to appear as if we could open the door.

“Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be
opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh
findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.
Matthew 7:7-8

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door,
I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20
There is a TREE. TREES are very symbolic in the bible as bearing fruit and deep roots. A TREE is connected with man’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden fruit of the TREE of Good and Evil. At Calvary, the Lord Jesus Christ died by crucifixion upon a wooden cross. The TREE is decorated with sprinkles to remind me how the Lord sprinkles our lives with His many blessings. My bible tells me:

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” Matthew 7:17

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, netither shall cease from yielding fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8

There is a trinity SNOWMAN.

There are THREE Windows to remind me that God is Omnipotent (all powerful), Omniscience (all knowing), and Omnipresent (always present). Just as if looking through a window, God knows everything about us. My bible tells me:

“O Lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
Psalm 139:1-5

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.”
Proverbs 15:3

The bottom part of our house is like a BOX for a Gift. I am reminded of God’s gift to me:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Romans 6:23

The ROOF is shaped like a triangle, reminding me of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It also reminds me of the process of life: Birth, Life, and Death. I am fearfully and wonderfully made with my Spirit, Soul, and Body. The ROOF being 3-sided also reminds me that the Jesus resurrected on the 3rd day. My bible tells me:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.”
Matthew 28:19

“And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again.”
Matthew 17:23

The CANDY CANES on the roof are symbolic too! The stripes that are red are like the blood shed for me. The white stripes are for the Savior who is sinless and pure.  And also, my bible tells me:

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5

There is a gum drop for the CHIMNEY.  When a CHIMNEY is working, it is the one way for smoke to bellow out.  It makes me think of the sin and ugliness (unrighteousness) leaving us when we accept Jesus as our savior and daily ask Him for the forgiveness of our sins.  My bible tells me:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

The FOUNDATION is a scarlet plate and the gingerbread house is surrounded by SNOW. My bible tells me:

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD:
 though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…”
Isaiah 1:18

Now my house is complete. As I look over every detail, I am reminded how God is my refuge. He will provide all that I need: food, water, shelter, and rest. I am also reminded of the place the Lord is preparing for me!
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so,
I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.”
John 14:2


Ingredients for each house:

7 graham cracker halves (each cracker should have 2 smaller crackers)
            *1 box of crackers should make about 6-7 houses
4 miniature candy canes
1 Red (durable) plate
1 chocolate morsel
1 gum drop
Assorted seasonal candy, cookies, etc:
   I used the following:
*snowmen cupcake candy
*miniature tree cookies
*M & M's
*shredded coconut
*Zip lock bag filled with icing
      **when you cut the hole in the bag's corner, cut it as small as possible
      **I used sandwich bags, but next time I will use larger bags because some of them opened as the
          kids were squeezing out icing!

Ingredients and Directions for the Icing:

1 pound powdered sugar
3 egg whites (at room temp) 
     **room temp can be as easy as placing eggs in a bowl of WARM water for 5 minutes
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp vanilla
***Yields 3 cups
Combine all ingredients in medium size bowl. With mixer, blend until smooth, then beat at high speed until very stiff (about 5-7 minutes). 
NOTE: Because the icing dries very quickly, make each batch just before you are ready to use it. IF you must store for a few hours or overnight, cover tightly with plastic wrap. When using, keep container covered with damp cloth or paper towel.
If icing is too thick when using add a few drops of water.
For thicker icing, beat in a little extra powdered sugar.


Make your Door and Windows

Make your roof and add candy canes
Turn over and repeat

Build the base of your house

Add the roof and gum drop chimney
After waiting about 30 minutes to allow your icing to set,
add some icing to your roof &
decorate your windows

(Outline the entire house in icing and let dry)

Transfer to a red plate and glue down the house with icing
Spread some icing and add coconut.
Let dry for 4 hours to fully harden

*This activity takes longer than the hour I attempted to complete it.  Be sure you plan for enough time.   Next year, this will be an activity we complete over 2 Sunday School hours.

I began blogging several years ago in search of new friends who, like me, were having a difficult time getting pregnant. Five years, 2 miscarriages, 4 failed IUI's, and a doctor who told us "It will never happen" later, we are the proud parents of Kade and Kohen. They are each an example of God's absolute perfection. We thank God where medical intervention stops, Divine intervention begins.