March 12: Tells a story.

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I gave this picture to my husband a decade ago?  I wanted  him to know I would do it all over again, because it hasn’t been easy.

Our pastor asked us if we would tell our story to the congregation.  I am all about sharing what God has done in our lives, because it is good to remember.  But when it comes down to it, it is difficult to shine a light on our brokenness, and consider all the people that have been affected by it.

When I was a young woman, I had my story planned out – it was a story with no attachments, a lot of money, and complete independence.  Then I met my future husband.  Then I got pregnant.  Then my story changed, and He started revealing His story to me.  I am so thankful God wrenched my plans from me, and what I thought I was giving up, wasn’t worth having.

“8Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”  Philippians 3:8-11

 

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My birthday is tomorrow, and it is a full day (my husband is having outpatient surgery; my daughter has a piano recital).  I was resigned, and not unhappily so, that there wouldn’t be a lot of birthday celebratin’.

My husband asked if we could go out tonight (we could).  I figured we’d go find some gourmet fries.  He informed me we were going out for something a little more upscale (we did).  The scallops were divine.  Thank you, my dear.  We celebrated, in spite of it all.

What-I-Love-About-You Day

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I am not sure I endorse the traditional Hallmark Valentine’s Day celebration, but I heartily support an opportunity to tell my family why I love them.  That is why we try to have a special supper (German Knephla), little gifts (Dr. Who memo pads for Maddie), and slips of paper listing reasons we love one another.  Sparkling grape juice rounds out the festivities, fondly referred to as “Bubbly”.

Unexpected flurries and a good friend of Katherine’s added to our day.  Oh, yeah.  It didn’t hurt that we became foster parents this week, and had a wonderful, sweet baby to love, too.  She really has spent the most time in front of my camera this week, but her loveliness can’t be observed here.  I hope to write about our new adventure soon.

 

75

My father-in-law’s 75th birthday was last month.  When you belong to the Hinrichs’ family, the three-fourths of a century mark doesn’t just slip by.

Ginny and Larry.

I heard rumblings about a party off and on.  I filed it in the back of my brain, only to be accessed when I thought my participation was imminent.

Uncle Larry, modeling how an old farmer really wore his overalls, with the buttons undone and his britches showing.  Whatchoo smokin’ in that fake cigar, Larry?

Luther and Angie.

The party quickly became imminent, no one else could host, and we needed to have it the coming weekend.  What?  Oh, yeah.  And the siblings decided we should dress up like we’re 75.  My first thought wasn’t how to feed this crew (I’ve done it a few times), but how I was going to line them up in the backyard for a picture.  And not just any picture, but a photograph that looked like the pictures of the families in front of their soddies in the 1880’s.  You know the ones with all the little kids and the great-grandma in the midst of them?  And then you realize that woman is the mom, not the great-grandma.

The brothers – Gene, Rodney, Larry and Arlyn.  They kept teasing Rodney that he didn’t have to dress up to look 75.

Now how was I going to dress up like I was 75 when I had a meeting before the party and I was going to church after?

Marcus in his dad’s pants from the 70’s, and yours truly.

I hate to admit it was rather easy to put on 30 years.  It only took a hairnet and an old apron.

Katherine, Marcus, me and Rebecca.

I don’t think Katherine tried very hard to look old.  If she did, it didn’t take.

Rachel and Stan.

Stan looked pretty snazzy in my hat, but I didn’t let him keep it.

Justin and Naomi.

If you have followed this blog at all, you know these two are responsible for most of the costume party themes.  Not only did have the best old-people clothes, but brought enough for everyone else!

All I can say is that we saw, we came and we conquered.  But it sure pooped out the old ladies.

Transition.

First of all, we did get Ashley and Matt all moved and tucked into their new apartment in Indiana.  We got in Friday evening, finished unpacking Saturday afternoon, and went out to The Irish Lion for dinner because we really didn’t have anymore work to do.  Hence the reason my husband is actually sitting down.

Their apartment is on the third floor, which made it a pain to carry all their belongings, but is great because they have cathedral ceilings and tall closets that allowed Ashley to stack boxes to the nth degree.  Her stacking skills left me feeling inadequate.  But I can rejoice with her.  They also have great windows, which is quite a change from their previous apartment in the cellar.  Light streams in from ALMOST every direction.

When not working her regular job, Ashley had been busting her bunnies restoring furniture for the move.  She had accumulated quite a bit of stuff, and most of it was free.  But as Ash discovered, free usually isn’t free.  Resurrecting that stacking bookcase almost did her in.  Sanding all the paint down and getting that white cabinet ready caused hair loss.  Fixing the seatless chairs that used to sit on the porch of Matt’s bachelor pad may have left her in a puddle of tears.  But it was worth it!

The best thing about Ashley growing up, getting married to Matt, and moving to Indiana has been seeing the fruit of our prayers for her.  We prayed for a godly man for her.  She married Matt, who is way above average.  We prayed God would guide Matt where he should go to graduate school.  He received a great offer from the University of Indiana.  We prayed for a community of believers for them in Bloomington.  Guess who was waiting in the parking lot when we drove up with the u-haul?  A PCA church plant pastor’s family and the Reformed University Fellowship pastor’s family.  They have connections to friends in Lincoln, and came to help.  I saw God taking care of this new part of Ash and Matt’s life before I even shut off the car.

So the obvious question is this, apparently:  How am I doing with all this moving business?

I am doing well.  As I have repeated many times, I think the hardest part of Ashley growing up was when she moved out.  I had to face the inevitable fact that the little girldom we had had for so long was over.  Would the next stage be as good?  Would Ash still NEED me?  When all the kids are gone where the heck would I get my significance?

Well, actually, my significance should have never come from my kids,  but when you are needed by them ALL THE TIME, it is easy to think being a mommy is the most important thing.  And it is incredibly important, but my only significance comes from the value Christ gave me when he died for my sins.  When I attempt to get my significance any other way, I will be deceived, and I will eventually be disappointed when circumstances change.

Matt’s sweet new office space.

As parents we strive to help our kids be independent, and develop their own relationship with the Lord.  If we continue to try to exert control over their lives after they are adults, we will be unhappy, they will be unhappy, and we will be working against all the things we have been preparing and praying for them.  We need to let go.  God is the only one who has control over their hearts at any point, anyway.  We need to be faithful in our stewardship of them.  And when we grow older, we need to figure out how to love them well from afar.  I am still figuring that out.  I think Ashley and I’s lives will still be interwoven as they always have been.  Maybe just a looser weave.

I think Ashley has a bigger transition than I do.  She isn’t working or in school.  That in itself is a huge change.  I still have all my friends, family and activities here.  In fact, I have realized that I always thought I would have more time for things as the kids grew older.  But if any free time emerges, it is quickly taken up by “something”, whether that be something the Lord is leading me to do, or not.  I am already praying God would lead me in his will in the future, and “stuff” wouldn’t just fill my time.  I want to be purposeful and seek his will more than ever when days are not automatically dictated by my children’s activities.   This gives me prayerful hope for the future, instead of dreading the empty nest.

And Ashley and Matt?  They have the Lord.  They have each other.  They are already a part of a church plant in Bloomington.  They will be just fine.  I probably only need to visit every few weeks.

DPP 2: Hamming it up.

This isn’t only the Christmas season.  It is the season for birthdays in my sister-in-law’s family.  My sister-in-law, Naomi, is sitting on her father’s lap in this picture.

She mentioned her son was turning DOUBLE DIGITS this year, and I hadn’t made him a book yet.  I have made my children and the nieces and nephews photo books from time to time, and apparently I needed to get to his before he was in college.  Could happen.

So I rifled through old photos, looking for pictures of my nephew, and the above photograph caught my attention.  Hmmmm.  I wonder which of these subdued family members could be my husband?

Hint:  All of our children are hams.