Thursday, December 31, 2009
I snuggled into my warm, cozy bed and willed the headache to leave. I tried talking myself into getting up and walking through a cold house to the downstairs bathroom for Tylenol, but didn’t want to leave my warm cocoon.
I tossed and turned and dozed in and out. I stared at the ceiling, wondering why I didn’t just get up and take care of it.
I got up this morning, headache still intact. I hoped moving around would help. Perhaps breakfast would make it subside. Not so.
Finally, after two hours, I took Tylenol.
And my headache went away.
Why didn’t I take Tylenol before bed last night? During the night? This morning? Why did I wait so long to seek relief? Since the pain wasn’t to crisis mode, I was willing to live with it. I hoped it would go away on its own. I hoped the situation would resolve itself.
I often do the same thing with God when I have a problem. I continue to carry it around when I don’t need to, hoping it will leave on its own. I hope the situation will resolve itself. And finally, when I’m tired of the pain, I go to the Pain Reliever.
Since He is the only one who can make things better, why do I wait so long to go?
I think of the many, many times God has taken care of my problems. He is so good and I am so slow to learn. May I someday learn to trust Him sooner.
“When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Thy consolations delight my soul.” –Ps. 94:19--
Monday, December 28, 2009
Welcome one and all to the Christmas tell all
I have no choice in the matter
As I am doomed by the fall
Between the cling and the clatter
It just seems too tall
For those of us who matter
This is the Christmas Tell all.
Merry Christmas Everybody, Andrew Vik here. I have had a good year and I am thankful to the Lord for many blessings, although I’m still disappointed that I cannot grow a decent beard.
I still work at Village Creek Bible Camp in Lansing Iowa. I am gainfully employed (not sure what that means) as the program director, and helped run 12 weeks of summer programming. It was a fun experience and I will do the same thing next summer.
I have also helped build a new dining hall at camp and have learned a lot about construction. The coolest part about the whole shebang is that I became pretty good friends with the guy in charge of the project. So good of friends in fact that I was in his wedding, and he will be in mine.
So last year I had started dating a pretty awesome girl and I looked forward to what the Lord had in store for us. Well, she is crazy…in love with me.
At first she didn’t want to get married til she was done with school in five years (a tad long I thought) so I didn’t take too much stock in this cause I am me and surely she would change her mind after spending time with me.
Well sure enough, in February she said we could get married In January of 2011. Then this fall she asked when I was planning to propose. (I know, a little forward - girls were not like this in my day) because she needed to line up school housing for next year. She asked if she needed housing for one semester or two. I said as a joke (albeit one with some hope behind it) “What if you didn’t have to for any semesters?”
She really liked the idea so I talked to my parents and her parents. We went ring shopping and I proposed on her birthday. I don’t have to tell you if she said yes or not, cause one alternative is amazing and the other would have been crazy. So I’m in love with the girl and we are getting married next May.
This has been the first year I have spent without my family. They live in Wisconsin so I have seen them less than any year of my life and not surprisingly (cause my momma said this would happen) I have missed them a lot. But the good news is they love Rachel, and me too.
My older sister Christina is in Spain, and will get back just in time for the wedding. Kiah plans to visit Christina in March.
Erica graduates in May which seems a little weird, about as weird as Amy becoming a teenager. Anna worked at camp with me this summer and everyone liked her more than me. Then there’s Lani, who may already be smarter than me.
My Dad (Keith, he has a beard and I don’t) enjoys his church, and I have been very grateful for his advice and leadership. My Mom is very good to me. I can always call home and get new recipes and good advice.
This year has been a great reminder of the Lord’s faithfulness. As the line from the hymn How Firm a Foundation says, “How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord is laid for your faith in His excellent word.”
And Psalms 119:9 says, “How can a young man keep his way pure, by living according to Your word.” Every day I am reminded of my reliance on the Lord, and as I get ready to start my life with Rachel next May, I am asking for prayers for a firm foundation grounded in God’s Word.
So that is out an eggshell a rundown of the general synopsis of the summary reviewing what’s going on in my life. Thank you for reading and as always,
Saturday, December 26, 2009
This was our first year without the oldest three kids home for Christmas, and we didn't like it, not one bit. I try telling myself, that I'm okay with them being gone on other days. But at Christmas, when many people are with their families, I want to be with mine. Even knowing that two of them will come home next week, didn't help. It just wasn't Christmas without them.
I felt sad too, because my parents and three siblings don't get together. It's been 20 years since we were all together.
So while I'm thankful for my kids who are still home, and thankful for friends, good health, and many blessings, I still feel sad.
I read this quote in the novel If I Gained the World by Linda Nichols that sums up how I'm feeling.
p. 176 - "What was it about Christmas that caused such a mix of beauty and pain? Maybe it was the very meaning of the holiday. The baby born to die. Maybe there was no separating the joy from the sorrow. Perhaps it was a mistake to try."
I have much to be thankful for and I am. God has been so good to us. But come next Wednesday when Andrew, Rachel, and Kiah come home, we will have a good time. Or else.
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Technically it’s Andrew’s turn to write the Christmas letter, but Keith nixed that since our one son is no longer living with us anymore. So being the head of the home and all, Keith decreed that it’s my turn. So there you have it and here I am.
When in Wisconsin, do as the Wisconsinites do. Last winter the girls took ten weeks of ski lessons which they loved. Except for Anna skiing into a tree, they caught on and we enjoyed seeing them gain skill and confidence.
Monday, December 21, 2009
How can something so fun be so fattening?
When we lived in Oregon and Colorado, Keith's Mom used to send us a box at Christmas filled with all sorts of wonderful goodies. The kids loved to set out an assortment of Grandma's cookies every night at dinner. It became a privilege to make the "assortment."
The care packages stopped when we moved to Iowa and lived 9 miles away from her. But that also meant year round access to the goodie maker. She still made delicious cookies at Christmas and our kids loved our extended family Christmas gathering when Grandma brought her assortment.
In addition to Grandma Vik's goodies, my Mom also sent goodies. Bon Bons to die for and fudge that nobody else can make the same way.
For years we took getting Christmas goodies from the Grandmas for granted. About six years ago my Mom stopped Christmas baking. Now she sends food packages from Swiss Colony which are nice but not the same.
Keith's Mom doesn't make cookies very often anymore, let alone at Christmas. At 85 she's winding down and does a little less every year. Sigh!
So here we are up in Northern Wisconsin, 470 miles from Keith's family, 1800 miles from my family. No Bon Bons, no fudge, no Lefse, no pies, no assortment, no Christmas Eve party at Aunt Karen's, no cookie exchange, no Christmas Open House at our old bank (the granddaddy of all assortments).
This week two different families gave us a plate with cookie assortments. I was touched and appreciated it so much. It's a little thing, but God knows how much we like our assortments. It's most likely not a good idea to get comfort from food, but as you can probably guess by looking at our Christmas pictures, we do.
Because we didn't gain enough weight eating the assortments that were given to us, I dug out recipes for the Grandma's traditional goodies. I have this phobia about making Keith's Mom's recipes because I can never make them as good as hers. But I have a college degree. How hard can making fat pills be?
We spent Saturday on a sentimental baking spree: Dipped Oreos, Strawberry Cake Balls, Homemade Snickers Candy, Birds Nests, Date Ritz cookies, the extra fattening Bon Bons. Of course, these recipes all need to be sampled to make sure they taste right. And it's really hard to tell with just one so alot of cookies went down our gullets.
After cooking all day, earning tired legs and a sore back, royally messing up the kitchen, feeling buzzed from consuming too much sugar, and gaining five pounds in one day, I had an epiphany. I wearily watched the clock turn midnight as I washed the last counter and put cookies in containers, and thought, "There may be a good reason the Grandmas stopped doing this."
But after a good night sleep, we were proud of our accomplishments. By golly, we had made our own assortment.
If we can keep our grubs off, hopefully there will still be some left when Andrew and Rachel get here next week. I live for moments when Andrew eats something I made that I know he'll like and he smiles and says, "Thanks, Mom."
There you have it. Messy cars, muddy shoes, and cookies in the cookie jar. Life is good.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Everyone jumped up on the wall, but since my wall jumping days are behind me I went up the steps and walked to the wall. When I tried to sit down I fell over, so Andrew was the dutiful son and helped me up.
Which wasn't a good idea because Kiah and Mark broke up six weeks later. Ever resourceful, I just cropped Mark out of the picture. But Keith said the stray hand on Kiah's shoulder looks creepy so nix on this picture.
We borrowed without asking Grandma's neighbor's lawn chair and posed in front of the neighbor's landscaping. You can do this in Iowa without getting in trouble. I thought this one was okay but someone didn't like how they looked. They wanted to try one more pose.
One of the kids suggested we take a picture on the spot where Keith proposed to me. Since we celebrated our 25th anniversary this summer, that sounded like a great idea. However he asked me underneath the kitchen window of his parent's house which isn't the most scenic background.
Keith and I weren't smart enough to just make an executive decision. Being democratic only led to a stalemate. There wasn't one picture that everyone liked.
Except that we didn't have Rachel in the picture. So I tried one more time and came up with:
I really liked how this turned out. But Keith said we should save a collage like that for a year when we can't all get together. That since we have an actual family picture we should use it.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
My Dad turns 73 today. While I'm not crazy about getting older. I really don't like it that my parents are getting older, although, we're thankful that for the most part he's in good health. My parents live on the west coast so we don't see them very often. My younger kids have only a few memories of their Grandpa.
In 2004 we met my parents and my brother's family for a week of camping in Yellowstone National Park as that was halfway for all of us. Grandpa was always the first up in the morning and he would build a fire and heat water. The grandkids all sat around the fire drinking hot chocolate. The kids enjoyed this time with their grandfather and us parents enjoyed sleeping in.
In 2006 my Mom was hospitalized for four months so we went out for a short visit. Grandpa loves to cook breakfast and specializes in eggs, pancakes and fried potatoes. In the next picture Amy is helping Grandpa cook pancakes.
When we were growing up, my Dad always cooked our eggs runny so that's how I thought I liked them. After I was married and couldn't figure out how to cook eggs without breaking a yolk, I started breaking the yolks on purpose and cooked them all the way. Hence my kids have grown up with non-runny eggs.
So when Grandpa served them runny eggs, one of my kids said, "But Grandpa, these eggs aren't cooked." My Dad looked at me, astonished that a descendant of his wouldn't like runny eggs.
When Mom was in the hospital we had to wear masks when we visited her. Kiah spent extra time at the hospital taking care of her Grandma.
2008 - As I live and breathe. I have never seen this done before. It's a little hard to see in this picture, but my Dad walks his cat on a leash at 12:00 and 6:00 every day. I made sure to get a picture since I might never run across this again.
Some day when I'm 73, my kids will blog about the quirky things I do. I wish they lived closer or we could see them more often. Maybe some year we can celebrate his birthday in person.
Happy Birthday, Grandpa.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I was irritated because the dogs shed (they do on other days, but if I'm not in a crabby mood it doesn't bother me), the girls don't hang up their wet towels, the cats keep knocking bottom ornaments off the Christmas tree, the plates didn't get clean in the dishwasher, I ran out of stamps, there's too much to do and not enough time to do it, my 70-year-old Mom was hospitalized for a respiratory infection, no one wants to walk the dogs beside me, and Tucker doesn't cooperate when I do walk him. I could keep going but you get the picture.
Some days everything bothers me. So I did what any frustrated woman would do: crabbed at Erica and Anna, the only people who were home. They were only guilty of not cleaning their rooms, not hanging up towels, and not wanting to walk the dog. But they got the full brunt of all my frustrations.
They left to run errands and I stomped out of the house to walk the dogs. By myself. Again. Hmmf!
When I got home, this was on the counter.
A & W. My favorite. I'm not a pop drinker, but for some reason, I like root beer. Why would the girls be nice to me? I had been the one to blow it. I should be making amends, not them.
I asked why they did that. Erica smiled and said, "Because we love you."
I was immediately humbled. I am so not worthy. I don't want to take my frustrations out on my children. By my age, I should know better. I don't want to be crabby. I want to take things in stride, dog hair and all. I don't want to be tiptoed around or humored.
So we hugged. And I apologized. And drank the root beer. And thanked God for the beauty of forgiveness. Not only does He forgive me, but my girls do too.
So Lord willing, with His help, we all hope tomorrow is a better day.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
We look a bit bedraggled.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
I close my eyes and pull the outside within. The muted sounds and gentle breeze nestle in my soul and the peace that has eluded me seeps into the corners of my heart.
For a precious hour there is a break in the never-ending traffic of my responsibilities and I can safely cross to a place of rest.
I lay my burdens down, wishing wish I wasn’t so fragile and needy. But could I properly appreciate His provision if I didn’t have a need?
My tears seem to come from nowhere. The tears I have no time for don’t go away. They stay somewhere in a frozen part of my soul only to thaw when I slow down long enough to let them fall.
Sweet the peace of exhausted tears. I feel soft and clean inside, almost afraid to move for fear I’ll lose this wonderful feeling.
"Behold, God is my helper; The Lord is the sustainer of my soul."