Sunday, November 29, 2009

A Love Worth Waiting For

Andrew wrote this sweet story for Rachel and gave me permission to post it on our family blog.

Once upon a time there was a young man who had a problem of monumental proportions that had weighed him down. No matter where he looked there just wasn't a girl to be found for him. Sure there were beautiful girls, but none that had a certain beauty this young man was looking for. You see he had found something more amazing than anything else. This particular young man knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, which meant not just any girl would do. He needed one that loved Jesus.

It seemed that girls were just fine with giving their heart to anyone and everyone, and this wasn't something this young man was looking for. He wanted a girl that had given her heart over to Christ, a girl who knew what true love was because she had experienced it from Jesus.

But time went on and the young man started to grow discouraged, thinking maybe girls like that didn't exist anymore - girls that are completely and utterly beautiful, not just because of how they look but because of the light that shines from having a relationship with Christ.

Right about the time he was ready to give up and become the most un-eligible bachelor in America, figuring it better to spend the rest of his days alone with his Bible and Bloom County than to spend it with a superficial token girl, something amazing happened. To be sure it was the best thing that had ever happened to him.

One day at camp, the young man was assigned to watch some kids and a certain beautiful young woman ended up helping. While she was pretty the young man didn't think much about it yet, assuming she was just like every other girl he’d met. This young man was soon to be pleasantly surprised.

A month later the young man gave the girl a ride back to college and his car broke down. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because the young woman saved the young man from having a major meltdown. They spent the day talking and walking and having a great time.

The young man was thoroughly astonished at how amazing she was. He thought she must be lying because nobody as perfect as she was could possibly exist, right? But he decided that she was worth trying to find out, and so he did.

As it turns out the girl was as beautiful and pure and amazing as she seemed to be, and as the young man continued to get to know her he realized that she had that rare beauty that comes from knowing Jesus Christ and because the light of Christ was in her, it made her beyond just beautiful. It made her radiant and by far more lovely than anyone he had ever met.

So the young man knew that this was the girl he had been waiting for, the one who was completely worth pushing all the other girls away and giving his heart to her and only her. By God's grace, he had found a love worth waiting for.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Over the Top Blog Award

Nati at I Will Praise Him gave me this blog award. Thank you so much! There's a list of questions that come with it. Apparently these are questions that are supposed to have one word answers. I had a few answers I couldn't shorten to one word.

I nominate:

Sprinkles and Wrinkles - I love this lady's perky, cheerful, humorous outlook on life
Janet at Homeward Bound - A fellow Pastor's Wife I've just started getting to know
Claudia at After His Heart - A high school senior with a sweet heart for God

1. Where is your cell phone? non-existent

2. Your hair? thinning

3. Your mother? Just moved

4. Your father? Resourceful

5. Your favorite food? soup

6. Your dream last night? camp

7. Your favorite drink? juice

8. Your goal? weight loss

9. What room are you in? Living room

10. Your hobby? scrapbooking

11. Your fear? painful death

12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? traveling

13. Where were you last night? Home

14. Something you aren’t? organized

15. Muffins? blueberry

16. Wish list item? Upstairs hardwood floors refinished

17. Where did you grow up? California

18. Last thing you did? sweep

19. What are you wearing? sweats

20. Your TV? old

21. Your pets? shedding

22. Your friends? many

23. Your life? Blessed

24. Your mood? Busy

25. Missing someone? older kids

26. Vehicle? BIG van

27. Something you’re not wearing? Shoes

28. Your favorite store? Target

29. Your favorite color? Blue

30. When was the last time you laughed? Saturday

31. Last time you cried? last week

32. Your best friend? Keith

33. A place that I go over and over? church

34. Someone who emails me regularly? Lori

35. Favorite place to eat? Ruby Tuesdays

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dad Scores a Home Run

Friday morning, Keith surprised us by doing something totally out of character. He took us on a spur-of-the-moment day trip to Ontanagon in the Upper Peninsula (UP for short) of Michigan. Normally there is lots of snow by now, but we're having a "warm" November so trips like this are possible.

Keith woke me up by holding a map of the UP in front of my blurry eyes.

"Let's Go!" he said.

I had two intelligent responses. "Who are you and what have you done with my husband?" and "Are you feeling okay?"

He said he felt fine, but the weather was beautiful and we were burning daylight so I should get up and get going.

This was my first time in Eastern Time Zone. Kind of weird how Eastern Time juts over to catch the west corner of Michigan like that.

Keith had everyone write a paragraph about the day. I'll start with his.

Keith: Sun was up. It called, I listened, and I TOOK THE DAY OFF!! There is always work to do. It never ends, while spending time with your daughters has an expiration date.

Driving away from responsibilities felt good, somehow larceny of a moment. But in the best of company. No plan, no deadline, just being together exploring a golden day.

We found a bakery, a beach, and contentment. Slowing down. Girls walking in sand and wife hand in hand. REST.

Erica: Today we plucked up the courage to visit a different world. Where everyone says things like, "Yah, sure, you betcha." The UP seems different, set apart. The waves are bigger, the trees taller, the air smells different, and the hills look like mountains. I had my first Pasty. Yum!!!

Anna: Shining sun and yet there was fog. Freezing water, but warm (ish) air. All in all a perfect day to stop everything and explore. I liked the bakery and walking by Lake Superior. Watching Erica fall in the lake was an unexpected bonus.

Amy: I thought today would be a normal day of school. But no, it's not. I woke up like normal and went downstairs this morning and started to paint when all of a sudden Dad said, "Girls, let's GO!"

"Go where," I asked.

"To a new world, that's where. To Upper Michigan to explore."

And boy did we have fun. In November of all things.

Lani: Today was really fun. For November it was great weather and NO SNOW. I really enjoyed walking on the beach, writing my name in the sand, and watching the waves, and most of all collecting glass. I didn't mind riding in the car so long because I had some old comics to read. All in all, it's been the funnest day of November.

I'm amazed at my girls' thermostats. I'm wearing a shirt, sweatshirt, jacket, hat, and gloves. They are barefoot, playing in the water.

So Keith scored a home run and got lots of way cool points. It will be hard for me to top this.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tina's Travels Pt. 2 - Ireland

In September, I (Christina) spent a week traveling around Ireland by myself. I mostly chose Ireland because of a super cheap plane ticket and a desire to check another country off my list. This being said, I went with very little idea what to expect and a week to fill.

Flying into Dublin after watching movies all night on the plane, I started questioning why I had decided to come in the first place. But after checking into a hostel and getting much needed sleep, I spent the next week constantly being impressed at God's handiwork readily on display where ever I turned.

I spent the first day in Dublin before catching a bus the next day across the country to the city of Galway, located on the western coast of Ireland.

Galway has a laid back vibe, similar to Northern Wisconsin. It's situated south of Connemara National Park and north of the Cliffs of Moher and The Burren. If you like the outdoors and beautiful landscapes, I highly recommend a visit to this part of Ireland.

After 5 days exploring Galway City and surrounding areas, I returned to Dublin and finished my week by visiting the Guinness Storehouse. I’m not a fan of beer, but Guinness seems to be synonymous with Ireland, so I decided to check it out.

The tour was fascinating, but after a few sips of Guinness I decided that I wasn’t missing out on anything and promptly found a Starbucks!!

I am really glad I went to Ireland. Traveling by myself was a bit lonely, but gave me time to reflect on my studies and life in general.

Ireland is a great place to explore, the country is gorgeous, the people super friendly, and the accent and the history are fascinating.

Custom House, Dublin

River Liffy, Dublin


Sleep Zone Hostel in Connemara

Kylemore Abbey

Sheep wander free in Connemara and are considered the equivalent of deer in the midwest...a driving hazard that one needs to watch out for

One of the many stone fences that dot the countryside

Killary Fjord

Lough Nafoeey

It is said that there are 365 islands in this lake, one for every day of the year

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Blog Hop - Favorite Book

If you're blog hopping today, welcome to my blog. If you're a regular I'm participating in McLinky's Blog Hop. This week's assignment is to share a favorite book. As a lifelong bookworm, that's an assignment I like. It's hard to pick a favorite, but I'm going with Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter.

I read a lot of Christian fiction. When I worked at a library back in Iowa, I got to help order books for our Christian fiction section. I chose this book for the library, was the first to read it, and loved every minute of it. I've read Surrender Bay three times so far.

I love this book because it is on one level a well-written love story and on another level an allegory of God's unconditional love for us.

When I first read the story, I thought it odd that a Christian fiction novel did not mention God. Denise Hunter usually has good spiritual content in her books. Then I read the author's note in back about it being an allegory. So then it was fun to go back and reread with that in mind.

A non-christian could read this as it's not overtly religious. There is a little gritty stuff which makes it realistic. Nothing graphic, but it's not a Lori Wick novel.

This is an excerpt from the author's website:Surrender Bay
A Nantucket Love Story
October 2007
From Thomas Nelson
On the beautiful island of Nantucket, salt and roses scent the air, waves sparkle over hidden currents, and a storm-tossed soul seeks safe harbor.
When Samantha Owen's estranged stepfather dies, she inherits his cottage in Nantucket--a place she left years ago, never planning to return. As a single mom, Sam can't afford to pass up on a financial windfall like ocean-front property. So she travels home to fix up the house and sell it . . . never suspecting that Landon Reed still lives two doors down. As their long-dormant romance begins to bud again, Sam must face the fact that Landon still doesn't know why she left the island. Will the secrets she's hidden all these years tear them apart . . . or is Landon's love really as unconditional as he claims?
Surrender Bay is the first book in the Nantucket Love Story Series. Each book in the series is a stand alone. The other two books are A Convenient Groom and Seaside Letters. I've read A Convenient Groom and liked it, but not as much as Surrender Bay. Seaside Letters just came out and I'm hoping to get it on interlibrary loan. Until then, maybe I'll reread Surrender Bay again.
MckLinky Blog Hop

Monday, November 16, 2009

Christina posted this on my Facebook wall.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

About Us

Saw this on Amy's blog, Just Add Walter,
and wanted to play along .

1. What are your middle names?
Mine is Louise (ick, Sorry Mom) and Keith's is Linn

2. How long have you been together?
We started dating in 1982, married in 1984. 27 years total.

3. How long did you know each other before you started dating?
A year and a half. We were good friends before that.

4. Who asked who out?
He did after I wormed out of him who he was interested in.

5. How old are each of you?
I'm 50 and Keith is 51

6. Did you go to the same school?
Yes, we met my sophomore and his freshman year at Western Bible College in Morrison (a suburb of Denver), Colorado.

7. Are you from the same home town?
Nope. I am from Sebastopol, CA and he is from Rock Rapids, IA

8. Who is the smartest?
Keith is. He's a whiz at understanding spiritual things, history, and geography. He's really good at fixing things.

9. Who majored in what?
I have a BA in Bible and Elementary Education. Keith has a Bible and Missions degree, and a Masters of Exegetical Theology.

10. Who is the most sensitive?
Keith. He is way more emotional.

11. Where is the furthest you have traveled as a couple?
Turkey and Greece in 2005

12. Who has the worst temper?
I've had my moments, but Keith has a worse temper. Sort of goes along with question #10.

13. How many children do you want?
I wanted 5. We have 7

14. Who does the cooking?
Mostly me, sometimes my daughters. Keith likes his spaghetti sauce better so prefers to cook our Italian food.

15. Who is more social?
Keith is an extrovert and usually at home in social settings. I am an introvert and prefer small groups or one on one.

16. Who is the neat freak?
Overall, Keith is neater. However he's really good at straightening things up so it looks clean. I'm much better at actually cleaning. We could spend the same amount of time cleaning and his room will look clean, while mine will have been dusted, swept, vacuumed, sorted, etc.

17. Who is the most stubborn?
We are both equally stubborn.

18. Who wakes up earlier?
He's an early bird and I'm a night owl. To meet in the middle, I stay up as late I want on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. On Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday I go to bed when he does.

19. Where was your first date?
College gym night at the YMCA and Dennys afterwards.

20. Who has the bigger family?
Me. 2 younger sisters and one brother. He has more cousins.

21. Do you get flowers often?
Nope. I like flowers but I'm practical and would rather Keith not spend money on something that is dead and will only last a few days. I do like getting flowers I can plant outside and enjoy for the growing season. It's always a treat to get a new perennial.

22. How do you spend the holidays?
Always with Keith's family. My family lives on the west coast.

23. How long did it take to get serious?
He broke up with me after dating eight months. After a month apart, he missed me and asked to get back together with the understanding that we might be heading towards marriage.

24. Who eats more?

25. What do you do for a living?
I'm a stay-at-home Mom and Keith is a Pastor.

26. Who does the laundry?
We both do. Laundry generated lots of arguments in our younger years. He didn't understand why I couldn't get it all done. After four years of laundry arguments, he stomped out of the house and came back with a nice laundry basket. He began to help more. Smart guy, he worked himself out of a job by buying all our kids their own laundry baskets and teaching them how to do their own laundry.

27. Who's better with the computer?
Me. We got our first computer in 1989. Love at first sight.

28. Who drives when you are together?
Usually Keith. Sometimes he asks me to drive so he can read.

29. What is your song?
I like "Still The One" by Orleans.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

O For Grace To Trust Him More

One Year Ago Today:

My 100th Blog Post coincides with the one year anniversary of our move to Wisconsin. The weather is beautiful today. If only it could have been this nice last year…

I dreaded moving. I was happy where I was. I liked our house, church, friends, and living by family. It’s one thing to say you’re willing to go wherever God tells you to go. It’s another thing entirely when He takes you up on it.

I was thankful for Keith’s new position and if it hadn’t meant leaving family and friends, it would have been ideal.

Moving involved A LOT of work. We spent three months fixing up our old farmhouse to sell. Our thirteen-year-old To Do list finally got done.

Then sorting and packing. Nine people living in one place for 13 years accumulate a lot of stuff. Sort, Toss, Give Away, Clean, Pack, Paint, Go to Bed Dog-tired, Repeat.

Keith left six weeks before we did. The girls and I stayed behind to finish packing and wait for the house to close.

Thursday - Keith’s return to load the moving truck was one of the lowest times in our marriage. Tempers flared and we said things we’re not proud of.

Black Friday. Snow fell all night. Why God decided a snowstorm on moving day would be good for us, I don’t know.

I saw the bleak weather forecast and the icy, windy snowstorm outside and said, “I’m not going.”

Keith had no time margin for bad weather or wimpy wives. He got mad, saying I had to go, as his installation was on Sunday.

I wasn’t trying to be difficult. I was reconciled to moving. I had said my good-byes. But I’m a weenie and driving eight hours in a blowing snowstorm with four kids, one dog, two cats, and a hamster was more than I could handle. I reasoned that I didn’t need to be there for the installation and promised to come when the weather cleared.

He left Friday morning mad and frustrated.

The weather improved a bit Friday afternoon so I decided to leave. I left our property for the last time and cried my eyes out. We had lots of good memories there and it felt like I left a part of us behind.

I picked up the girls in town and we left Iowa with heavy hearts. I summoned all my Big Girl, Be the Adult, I Can Do This molecules and got three hours down the road to Albert Lea, MN before running out of steam. After sundown, blowing snow caused visibility to deteriorate. It was cold and wet and windy and miserable. I didn’t have the emotional wherewithal to keep going.

Bless Comfort Inn Suites in Albert Lea who for a mere $20 extra allowed pets in our room. We slept good and I prayed for courage to keep going.

Saturday - I left the next morning, dreading the next five hours. The weather was still messy and unpleasant. Our big van is like a sail on windy days. The wind blows the van around and it takes extra effort and concentration.

But then I had a new worry. I had never driven through Minneapolis before. The map was confusing. I tried not to panic and resorted to labor breathing to stay calm. How do people drive that every day?

North of Minneapolis we connected with good friends, Jeff and Lori Poppinga, who were coming up for Keith’s installation. I forgot about being a big girl. I swallowed my pride and asked Jeff to drive. He recognized desperation when he saw it and suggested I ride with Lori in their car.

Oh thank-you Lord. Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you. Jeff drove the big van in the icky weather with the four kids, one dog, two cats, and a hamster while Lori drove their car and I melted into the seat and breathed four hundred sighs of relief. Riding with a sympathetic friend was incredibly therapeutic.

We finally arrived in Ashland. A new chapter had begun.

Sunday: Less than 24 hours later, I stood beside Keith during his installation service as the church leaders prayed for us. I was so conflicted. I was happy for Keith but sad for me. These were wonderful people but I wasn’t ready for them. Everything was new and overwhelming. Introverts DO NOT like being up in front of the whole church.

I felt so unworthy. If my behavior the last few days was any indication, I was not mature enough to be a Pastor’s wife.

I liked our new church. I liked it from Day One. What a neat group of people. But I was tied up in emotional knots and could not embrace them with open arms.

I didn’t deserve their kindness. So many new faces, I couldn’t keep track of everyone’s names. Someone suggested we needed name tags so they could remember our names. I thought, “You only have five names to remember. I have a hundred.”

It was God’s mercy that Lori was there with me that first weekend. She was safe and comfortable and familiar and loves me, quirks and all. But Monday morning came all too soon and they had to leave. I cried all over again.

The curse of the cautious is they can’t jump in the pool and start swimming. I poke my little toe in and then my foot, and hopefully soon my calf. When I’m comfortable I’ll go a little farther. There are no guarantees when I’ll go all the way in, and Lord, help me swim when I do.

God, I don’t understand. If moving was a good thing, why was it so hard?

One Year Later –

I like living here. I like my house, church, and friends. I like the area (lots of year round outdoor activities), the weather (easier winters and NO THUNDERSTORMS!), Lake Superior, and clean air. I’m glad we came.

I realize now God wasn’t asking me to give up my old friends. He was asking me to make new ones.

I had been so focused on the hard things, that I overlooked a multitude of good things.

God wanted me to trust Him with moving but I only half did. He knew the move would be hard. Though I still had to do it, He walked beside me, every step of the way.

I am thankful for blessings I couldn’t see a year ago. I’m thankful for a God who knows what’s best for me and cares enough to make me go where I don’t want to go.

I've shared this quote before, but it bears repeating:

The quote in essence says the same thing as: Trust in the Lord with all your hearts and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths. --Proverbs 3:5,6--

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Tina's Travels Pt. 1

My oldest daughter, Christina, is studying abroad in Malaga, Spain this school year. So far it's been a great experience and she is learning alot and thoroughly enjoying herself.

She complained her first week there about bug bites and not being able to sleep under covers at night (to prevent bug bites) because it was too hot. Guess the southern coast of Spain is warmer than Northern Wisconsin.

Christina loves to take pictures. She has a good eye and loves to experiment with her macro setting. These were taken in October.

I'm ignorant when it comes to flowers. Anybody know what kind these are?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Our Lap Dog

A dog this big shouldn't like to snuggle, but he does so we do.