Sunday, May 31, 2009

Does Jesus Care?



I've sat down to the computer more than a few times....and then I get up again, having written nothing. I simply can't think of what to say. Or how to say it.

I was all prepared to come home yesterday from our Chicago trip and share all the fun that we had there--pictures of the zoo, and of the boys fishing with Grandpa--but that whole plan changed when life itself changed in a major way yesterday morning.

If you haven't already seen on Facebook, my sister- and brother-in-law lost their sweet newborn baby girl yesterday morning. Aimee went into labor in the middle of the night; they went to the hospital pretty quickly, because her water had broken; everything was seemingly going along just fine; and then: BAM. Life changed. Something went south....and Aimee was rushed into an emergency C-section to deliver the baby. But, as God had planned it (and in Aimee's own words), by that time, she was already in His arms.

I feel so fortunate that we, by God's design, were up in Chicago visiting this week, and got a chance to see Aimee, Roger, and the baby yesterday before heading back home. It was an unbelievably difficult day; but I know that I will forever be thankful that I got to hold that sweet baby girl. Even if it was only for a few moments.

Aimee and Roger are doing incredibly well. Their faith and testimony has been so encouraging. They know that this, as hard as it is, was God's perfect design for their family.

Still....there is incredible sadness. I, for one, have been able to think of little else since we got that call yesterday morning. My heart is so, so heavy. So are the hearts of many others: our entire family, Aimee's family, and so many friends that are close with Aimee and Roger. I will grieve this loss for days and days. For months.

I can not physically imagine being in their shoes at this moment.

Yet, I can tell you one very certain thing: if I were ever in this situation, I hope and pray that God would give me the grace and strength that He is providing Roger and Aimee right now. They are just being such a light for Christ in this dark world.

God says that He will never, ever give us more than we can handle. To me, that just proves their deep strength in Christ--He knew that, as difficult that this situation would be for the two of them, that they would be able to handle it. Because their faith, their trust, their hope is in Him.

The God of all comfort.

Please, if you haven't already, be in prayer for our family. Especially for Aimee and Roger--that their hearts would heal and that Christ will draw so near to them and would comfort them. And, thank you to the ones who have already been praying. Your comments, emails, and messages mean more than you know.

This morning in church for the offering, I played the song "Does Jesus Care?" with tears streaming down my face. I don't really know, quite honestly, how I even got through it--I could barely see the notes through the blurriness of my own tears. But the chorus of this song just encourages me so much that I wanted to share it. No matter what you may be going through in your own life right now, Jesus sees. He knows. And, he cares about what is going on.

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained
too deeply for mirth and song?
As the burdens press, and the cares distress
and the way grows weary and long?

Oh yes, He cares--
I know He cares!
His heart is touched with my grief.
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary,
I know my Savior cares.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hiatus


Hey there!


Remember me?


No? Hmmmm.


My name is Devin. I regularly post here.


Except that, of course, I haven't actually done that lately.


Not because I haven't wanted to....


....but because I haven't been able to!


I'm not home right now. I'm actually about two and a half hours North of my home. In the Chi-town area, ifyoumustknow.


And, lovin' it!


If you follow me on Twitter, you'd know that we (the littles, Shane, and I) came up for an impromptu getaway with Grandma 'Nette and Grandpa. So far, we've nearly destroyed explored a children's museum, visited the Brookfield zoo, and devoured some Chicago-style beef sandwiches and some world-famous Giordano's pizza. Oh.....it's been good, let me tell you.


We'll be home in a couple of days, and I'll be back to more regular visits with you all. (And, of course, those promised wedding pictures!!)


Blast from the Past Friday will be postponed until next week.....


See you all soon, and have a wonderful weekend!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Happy Memorial Day!

Take time today and pause for just a moment to
give thanks for those who fought so hard for us.

Thank you veterans, for the freedoms you provided for me and my family.



Saturday, May 23, 2009

A wonderful day

Did I laugh?


Yes.


Did I have more than one moment of frustration/exasperation?


Uh huh.


Did I dance?


Yep.


Did I cry?


Youbetcha.


All in all, it was a wonderful, wonderful day.


I thought I would briefly share a funny moment that keeps coming back to my mind:


We were at the reception, and it was getting on to the later part of the evening. The dancing had started, and Ethan and Colin were really starting to get their groove on. All of a sudden, the DJ started the smoke machine. Ethan quickly spied the smoke, turned to me with a semi-panicked look on his face and said:


"Uh oh.....uh oh! Hot! Hot!"


It was hilarious.


I will post lots and lots of pictures very soon--and of course, some great video of my two oldest littles making that trek down the aisle as the most handsome ring bearers ever--but for now, I'm off to ice and elevate my feet go relax on the couch with my hubby, and reminisce about our wonderful day 8 1/2 years ago.


'Cause, you know.....I've not been doing that today at all.



Sneak peek: Becca's wedding, alternately titled: "Cameron's wedding"

From the rehearsal last night:



The wedding's today, and Colin and Cameron are the ring bearers! It promises to be a day full of great pictures....post to follow soon!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Blast from the past Friday: Colin's early baths at Grandma 'Nette's

Hi everyone, and welcome! You have arrived at my Friday blog carnival called "Blast from the past Fridays"--which gives me (and you!) a chance to remember what on earth life looked like before the blogosphere. Hope you've come over to join the fun!

Please remember the rules: just add your comment at the bottom to let us know you are joining in (I'm still trying to figure out Mr. Linky, so please bear with me on that), post your Blast from the Past story (click for guidelines if you're new), pictures, or video on your own blog, and then link your blog back here so others can join in the fun as well. This has been so much fun so far--I can't wait to read all of your posts today!


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This week, as I've been looking over some of my old pictures and crying about where my babies have gone enjoying all the memories, I kept coming back to these pictures of Colin and Shane's mom, "Grandma 'Nette".



When Colin was really little, Grandma 'Nette used to give him baths in the sink at her house.



Now, I realize this is not something that is out of the ordinary--many people start out giving their babies baths in the sink. Then, when they get to be a few months old and they are too big to fit in the sink anymore, you move them to the big bathtub.



Not Colin.



For the longest time, he insisted that, whenever we went to Grandma 'Nette's house, he would get a bath in her sink.



Even though he was more than two years old. Even though he had been taking 'big boy showers' since he was just a few months old at our house. Even though Grandma 'Nette had a shower and a bathtub of her own that he could easily use. Even though he was much, much too big and could barely squeeze in that crazy sink.



When Colin makes up his mind about something, he is pretty insistent about it.


He would bathe in about four inches of water, and then stand up to get washed and rinsed.


He would also be half frozen by the time he was done with his bath, but he didn't really seem to mind that little tidbit too much. The kid had the time of his life in that little sink.
The blue fingers and lips were, apparently, very worth it.


Lynette did better than I ever could. She covered the kitchen TV and the counters with towels, and she kept most of the water inside the sink--but it still somehow always made quite the mess, which she would dutifully clean up afterwards.


I can't imagine the reason why she continued to go to all that effort, can you?



Ok.
Well, maybe I can imagine why.
It'd be hard to turn that face down as a Grandma, huh?




Thursday, May 21, 2009

In case you wondered how Colin shimmied up the roof....

....he was simply 'helping Daddy' clean out the gutters!



Very quickly, Daddy had more volunteers....

I have a feeling Shane has all the help he will ever, ever need--
right inside his very own household.
*grin*


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Word-FULL part of my Wednesday: The Wal Marts


Our Wal-Mart is new. It's been beautifully remodeled, with new floors, paint...you know--the works.


It is very, very nice.


Going there is not.


Now, I love shopping as much as the next woman, but there is just something about this place that makes me want to either set my hair on fire or rip it all out within five minutes of walking in the door.


I've been facebooking about dreading my trip there today. I certainly survived--thanks in a major part to my friend Jen, who so lovingly entertained all three of my littles while I went--but I was definitely sucked of at least part of my ability to function for the remainder of the day.


It's always something--always a different adventure. I've talked about it before. I feel fairly confident that it will come up again.


I thought I'd give all concerned parties an inside look at today's happenings:


**Within two minutes of walking in the door, I had already been nearly run over by a large woman in an electric push cart who obviously did not know how to work the thing. Good thing I had my cart to shove in the gap, or I seriously may have been a goner. The 'clink' was not pretty....but all parties walked away with no major damage.


**I limped walked over to the front of the building, and began waiting in a line behind six people at the customer service desk with a return. One cashier. Moving about as fast as I do after I've consumed a gigantic meal. Not at all friendly. And not at all smiling, like the ones you see on the posters plastered all around the customer service desk.


**Then, I spotted a Coinstar machine that read: "Turn your coins into CASH!"


Umm.....Since when are coins not cash? Did I miss something here? They do still accept those little metal circle things as form of payment, do they not? And, furthermore, why on earth would anyone pay this machine a percentage of their money, when every single bank and credit union in our area will perform this service for free?


Hmmmph.


**Then it was off to the jewelry counter to buy watch batteries. I own several watches, and three of them decided to quit working on me this week. The lady behind the jewelry counter took my watches and began switching out the batteries. All of a sudden, she turned around and politely informed me that she had "accidentally pressed too hard!" while putting one of my batteries in, and she broke the face of my watch. My most favorite one that I own. The one that I had specially designed at one of those in-home jewelry parties. The one that was not at all cheap.


Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!


While I know she didn't mean to, I was waiting around for the part where she said that they would fix it for me for no cost and have it back to me in a jiffy.


What I heard instead was, "We can send it off to a man in another state and it should be back in four to six weeks. That's if he doesn't have to get the crystal for the watch face overseas."


Overseas? What?!?


Do you mean to tell me that watch faces are made nowhere in America?


Heaven sakes.


So, I politely gave her my information and made sure to tuck my copy of the receipt into a secure location in my wallet....'cause I just have this gut feeling that, four to six weeks from now, this sweet little lady isn't going to know a thing about my watch or where, literally, in the world, it is.


**It also never helps that I need everything from stuff in the garden center to batteries to shampoo to band-aids to Brita filters to BBQ sauce to yogurt to potatoes when I go there. I am, truly, in every corner of the store. It's exhausting.


**Then, I get to the pop section. It's towards the end, so I was encouraged.


*Almost done, almost done, almost done.*


While I don't drink much pop anymore, I do enjoy an occasional can of Diet Coke made with Splenda. The whole pop section had just been filled. Filled with every single kind of pop that they sell at The Wal Marts. A whole aisle, down both sides, devoted exclusively to SODA. Can you imagine? They have every kind known to mankind. Except the kind I wanted. *sigh*


**I was also subjected to hearing Billy Ray's Achy-Breaky Heart streaming over the airwaves. Not once, but twice, actually. That's how long I was in this forsaken place.


**To top it all off, the girl at the checkout counter--also not one of those smiley-cheery-poster-people but rather a grimacing, eye-rolling version of one--informed me that I was--no kidding--a "pain in the neck" and "her most work of the day" because I had price-matched a few items, had some coupons, and had actually brought my own bags to the store. God forbid I try to save some money or be somewhat earth conscious and not let her use 138 plastic bags to pack up my groceries. I'll be sure to remember that next time so as not to inconvenience anyone.


I love love love the money I save at Wal-Mart. I do. I'm grateful that I have a store decently close that has such a variety of items at really good prices. It's what keeps me going back.


But now you see why I can't go very often. I simply don't have enough hair on my head.



Wordless Wednesday: Yep, that's Colin...





Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm never cleaning my mirror again....

.....because I woke up and this was on my side of it!


A little 'frame' for me (made from soap, I found out later) with all kinds of complimentary words written around it--and then a sweet message from Shane:

"Love you Baby!!"




I love you too babe. Thanks for making my day.

And my mirror.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Blast from the past Friday: 2005 trip to Hawaii

Glad you're back again this week! Hope you've come over to join the fun!

Please remember the rules: just add your comment at the bottom to let us know you are joining in (I'm trying something new with Mr. Linky, so he will hopefully be back next week), post your own Blast from the Past story (click for guidelines if you're new), pictures, or video on your blog, and then link your blog back here so others can join in the fun as well. Can't wait to read all of your stories!!


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In the summer of 2001, I was newly married and worked full-time as a legal secretary at the State's Attorney's office of our county. Then one July night, I went to a PartyLite party--and, by the end of the evening, I had decided to start selling candles as a way of earning some great "extra money" on the side.


One of the things that drew me to the opportunity to become a consultant was the fact that PartyLite offered "free vacations". In fact, the consultant that was doing that night's party had just returned from the Moon Palace in Cancun--a place that I had gone to on my honeymoon just a few short months before.


The thing was: she went for free. I had not.


I was intrigued.


Then, she mentioned that there were these incentive vacations offered by PartyLite every year. That year's destination?


Hawaii.


I'd always wanted to go there, and from that night on, I was determined to go on PartyLite's dime. I had no idea what that entailed....I just knew I wanted to go!


Well, I ended up earning {you earned these trips, by the way--they were not won} not only my trip, but also a trip for a guest. After sacrificing, ahem, a bit so that I could be out doing lots of shows and earning said trip, I felt that Shane certainly deserved that guest spot! *grin*


Shane and I actually went on four wonderful vacations during my years with PartyLite. We went that first year to Hawaii--Oahu to be specific; the next year on a seven-day Caribbean cruise, then to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas, and finally back to Hawaii again--the Big Island this time, to a resort called the Hilton Waikaloa Village. The trip was five days, with an opportunity to earn an extra two days....so we were at this amazing destination for an entire week.


These are the pictures from that trip. Well, some of them anyway....I only took like 400. Ah, the days of digital cameras.



Right off the plane--they really do "lei" everyone!



Parylite had gone to quite a bit of effort in welcoming all of us--they used crushed white limestone and formed our welcome in the lava!

"Aloha PartyLite"
Everything with PL was always first class. Our room was wonderful!
The Hilton Waikaloa Village....a beautiful resort with even more gorgeous scenery
There was a river that ran the length of the resort...instead of taking a tram, you took a boat ride to get where ever you wanted to go!

The first day, Shane and I took off by ourselves and actually went to another resort with an incredible beach. We had a great lunch with the Pacific Ocean right behind us!
Then we did some swimming. I don't know that I have ever, ever seen more beautiful water.
The sunset from our balcony that evening
The next night we had a fancy dinner provided by PartyLite. It was always so fun getting a chance to dress up on those trips.
After dinner, we headed back to our room, and caught this sunset. Yes, this is real....yes, this is straight out of the camera with no editing.....and yes, it was this beautiful.

Picture perfect, no?



My new camera had a pretty wicked zoom.
This is the same sailboat as in the picture before.


It was so pretty that we decided to snap one of ourselves. Ever take a good look at my profile picture? This is it. And now you know the story behind it. *grin*

The next night was known as "Dine Around" night. That just meant that PL gave each person $100 to go out and eat at a place of our choosing on the island. {Most of the other nights dinner was provided for us by PL at the resort.}
We chose Roy's, a very popular place with everyone we asked.
It. Was. Delish.


Our resort had several waterfalls, and you could walk behind some of them.
Shane snapped this shot of me after dinner that night. And, if you're wondering....no, I am not actually (for once) carrying any 'holiday weight';
rather, that's Cameron Douglas there--along on the trip with us!

We enjoyed most breakfasts with some great friends of ours, Tom and Gloria
The resort had its own lagoon. We definitely took advantage of that for swimming and snorkeling! We saw some interesting things.....
....like eels....

....and sea turtles. There were tons and tons of these guys.

Everywhere you looked there were beautiful and unique flowers.

The next morning, Shane went on an all-day adventure.
He and the guys headed out for a deep-sea fishing excursion on the Pacific.
They did NOT catch one of these. *grin*
I, however, stayed back at the pool and caught a few rays. Oh, the days where I hadn't yet realized just how bad the sun actually was for me.

Another night out

The next day was another lounge-by-the-pool day. Shane turned into a five-year-old when he got around Tom and Greg. It was very entertaining, let me tell you.
Case in point:


video



Another dinner out with our friends....this restaurant's name escapes me, but it was good
I added this picture just to be able to show the enormity and grandeur of the resort.
This was the front outdoor lobby, right as you came in.

*sniff, sniff* Our last morning on the Island. Someone was kind enough to snap this for us. It's under the same waterfall as the last picture was.

It was so beautiful there....it was hard to leave!


But we got to come home to sweet little Colin, and that made things much, much better.
{He had stayed the entire week with Grandma 'Nette and Grandpa,
making the entire trip possible for me and Shane!}
Daddy and Colin, out to eat at Chili's the afternoon we got home Such a precious kid. Love that picture.
So, that was our trip in a nutshell. Though I am now glad to be a full-time Mommy to my littles, I will forever be grateful for the fun and the friends I had when I was with PartyLite--and the once-in-a-lifetime trips!