Thursday, July 26, 2007

10th Anniversary

Finally got to upload some pictures from our wedding day for those interested. It was a really fun day made very special by a LOT of friends who came a great distance to celebrate with us. Rev. Thomas McCall Sr. and Dr. Whitaker offficiated. We were married in a United Methodist Church in my hometown that my family had grown up attending on Christmas Eve. I had always dreamed of getting married in this church as a young girl. This day was a fairytale day for me in the sense I got my prince; a holy day in the sense we made a lasting covenant; a poignantly sweet memory remembering how proud and happy my Dad was on that day.

Thanks so much to all my friends and family who made this day so special. What a great cloud of witnesses to stand behind us!

"I have now been married ten years. I know what it is to live entirely for and with what I love best on earth. I hold myself supremely blest--blest beyond what language can express; because I am my husband's life as fully as he is mine...To be together is for us to be at once as free as in solitude, as gay as in company. We talk, I believe, all day long: to talk to each other is but a more animated and an audible thinking. All my confidence is bestowed on him, all his confidence is devoted to me; we are precisely suited in character--perfect concord is the result."

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (Chapter 38)

Tuesday, July 24, 2007!

Well last week started off so fun with Jamey and Cara coming to visit, but we had a few unexpected fun summer activities evolve throughout the rest of the week. In the middle of the week we visited our church's (Free Methodist) family camp in northern Wisconsin. We were so inspired to visit with the speaker, Matt Friedeman, and his family. Matt was a professor of Tom's at Wesley Biblical Seminary. They now have six children (much bigger than when we had last seen them) who they homeschool. In addition to teaching, Matt has planted a church, runs a radio talk show host, a weekly prison ministry and speaks at churches, conferences and camp meetings. He and Mary cohost a family seminar that deals with Family Discipleship and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to book them for your church! They have written a children's catechism from a Wesleyan perspective entitled Hidden in the Heart. They graciously gave us a stack as they know we use it and love to give it away to our friends and family. If you want a copy just let me know. It was so exciting to see their firstborn anxious to head off to college in the fall with dreams of becoming a missionary or church planter. It is really inspiring to think that God allows us the privilege of participating with Him in this wonderful world of parenting.

On Thursday Cole graduated a level in swimming...go Cole! These lessons were through our public school system and only allowed parents to come in on the first and last days of class. He was so cute to watch on the last day as he would pull out all his tricks and new learned strokes and then immediately look up in the bleachers to see if we were watching. He is gaining a lot of confidence in the water and having a LOT of fun doing it. Cole is turned and looking towards the camera in the picture below.

Then Friday we headed to Great America/Six Flags via the graciousness of friends who helped us get free tickets for all the kiddos and tickets for the adults at a fraction of the cost--I mean an unbelievable deal. We had 7 kids between our two families, the oldest being our Cole--and they all did great! It was such a fun day. Dawn (the other mom) and I scared ourselves silly riding a rollercoaster called V2 that has you going 65-75 mph while suspended from the rail, feet dangling. When we got off she told me, "all I could think was that God has blessed us with all these great kids and if I die doing this that would be such a waste!" That's how scared we were--why is it fun to be that scared??!!! Both boys rode roller coasters. Cole loves them and is so funny--he rides with all his muscles clenched but immediately when it stops, wants to go again and protests loudly that he was never scared; Josiah rode and never complained but didn't want to repeat the experience either. The highlight of our day was watching Josiah and Caitlyn pared together to ride the old cars. It just worked out that those two were in line together and so rode together--but upon entering the car Josiah assumed the wheel position and Caitlyn pressed the gas pedal (as only her leg was long eough). Well, they stalled and bumped (usually beside signs posted NO BUMPING or right in front of one of the thankfully patient attendants) into the next car the entire way around the track--hilarious. Maddie loved the teacups--why? because they were teacups and, of course, pink!

Our friends: Caitlyn (in Cole's K class last year), Dawn (holding Ryan), Sean (Dad) and Kyle

Saturday through Monday we were delighted to have Jim B (old friend from HSBC) spend the weekend with us. He was flying a plane from the company he works for up to an air show in Wisconsin. He graciously gave our boys their first small aircraft flight. I was glad I was able to go up as well. That is quite the different experience from commercial flight. You literally feel like you are in a bubble up in the air--not much separating you from the space outside. Jim has really stuck with his dream of flying that we've known he had way back when we first met him as a young highschooler. We are so proud of him and his dreams!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

refreshing friends

We were incredibly blessed to have our dear friends, Jamey and Cara, and their four children stay with us Sunday that Monday morning. Cara and I first met at two different perspective Bible colleges we were visiting as high school seniors. I am happy to report we both decided on the same college and soon became very good friends. Jamey and Cara were a GLORIOUSLY-in-love couple on our small campus. They spent every possible second together, always talking, laughing, getting to know their soul mate deeply yet finding that knowledge never lessened their increasing infatuation with the other. It is so neat to see them now, 16 years plus four kids later--they still laugh so easily together (Cara still laughs at Jamey's jokes!!), find their relaxation in each other, complement each other's ministry, love talking and relating, and you aren't around them long before you are drawn into a deep conversation about God--what it means to know Him, relate to Him, and rightly relate to others.

There are few people in life who can make you feel as if you have perfected the art of being. They make you wonder at the amazing truth that we are created for relationship--we don't have to "go anywhere," "do anything" except be here with each other and relate. We sure took our fill of relating to each other from their visit. They drove several hours out of their way to spend the day with us, and we decided rather than "waste" the day driving all around doing stuff we just wanted to let the kids play together and the adults have a chance to talk (and eat!). Our boys amused themselves greatly by digging holes (literally) and chipping "crystal" out of some old rocks in our yard.

The girls played dollhouse, giggled, picked flowers, traded shoes, and giggled some more. Cara and I talked for umpteen hours straight. The guys did go down to Trinity for a few hours but mostly talked the day away together as well. We finally hit the Kenosha museum late in the afternoon before eating gumbo together and then saying a joyous (because everybody had made such great memories) good-bye with promises of the next big gathering.

I can't imagine a more fun or more refreshing way to spend the day. And as Josiah said at breakfast the next morning, "Could they please come back for sixteen more days?"

Two tired and happy friends--we stayed up waaaaaay too late to maximize our short visit--and learned we aren't as adaptable to those late night talks as we were in our college days.

Now to get Cara blogging...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Well, it's been interesting at our house lately, to say the least! Yesterday we were enjoying a quiet day at home (the kind I love) and had invited two little playmates over to play at the house. After lunch I went out on the front porch and was sitting talking to my neighbor and we both commented on the extreme change in weather. Earlier in the morning (running Cole to swimming lessons) it had been so, so hot--even at 9:30 a.m. but sitting on the porch it was much, much cooler. Well, those of you who know me well know I never am one to know what the weather will be--I'm more of a "go step out on the porch and see if you need a coat" kinda mom (and I'm only slightly exagerating). So, I learned sitting on the steps from my neighbor that we were about to get a big thunderstorm, even a chance of hail. And I immediately thought well that sure makes sense because this was a pretty drastic and sudden change in weather. The next little bit of time was spent having the kids clean up the yard, roll up the van windows, shut the sandbox, move the firepit into the garage....etc. By this time it was eerily dark for that time of day. I moved the kids indoors, called my friend, Jen to say don't bother picking them up right away because she would just get soaked in the storm--and then settled the kids in the basement watching a movie. A few minutes later, no power. So, I moved the kids into the living room near our large front window because that was the most well lit room in the house and I knew my boys would be fascinated by watching the hail that was now pinging the front window. Well, the kids all moved right over to the window to watch the action when RIGHT before our eyes a very large tree in our front yard split and fell!!! Providentially it fell between our neighbor's house and ours. Had it fallen into our house it would have undoubtedly hurt me and all 5 kids who were standing there. Tom had removed the storm window to repaint and clean so there would have been just one pane of glass between us and the tree. The entire ordeal was such a surprise and just one of those instances where the quietest of days is turned upside down. Tom commented (after he got home) that this really helps us put horrific events like Katrina in perspective. He said imagine our whole neighborhood being flooded and trees like this being teensy tiny issues in comparison to the magnitude of destruction leveled on your city. We just couldn't imagine try as hard as we could.

We also learned no home owner's insurance policies cover wind damage (unless of course, "it falls on a covered building"). There was no damage to our house but some definite (but not huge) damage done to our neighbor's house. And our home owners's insurance says she has to file a separate claim even though the tree is ours--doesn't seem right does it?

So, yesterday was a day of thankfulness for the safety of our family and friends who were visiting. My friend, Jen came over and stayed with me until Tom could get home from work and she was SO helpful! I must confess I was wigging out a bit but she definitely held me together. Then, in the evening a co-worker of Tom's (a theologian/logger--what a combo, eh?) came over to clear out our driveway--and did it in 46 minutes!!!

Sooooooo.......Thank God for safety, friends who share your rainy days (ha!), and a spouse who is so gentle with me when I come unglued.

In the next few weeks, we'll be working on repairs for our neighbor and have to take down the rest of the tree--but tomorrow's problems will take care of themselves. And this is so small compared to the real problems of the world that we don't think about near enough. But one of the bright spots about this whole ordeal was knowing I had a whopper of a blog story to share with you all!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Top Ten re: our PA Trip

Lookin' Good Babe Sweet! The Beautiful Yount Family

Top 10
(in no particular order, but kinda chronological)

1. Being coined "Jerry" by my adorable neice, Becca. We are now collectively known as "Tom and Jerry." The picture above is of Becca with our Maddie--they are only 2 months apart and quite the pair of girly girls when they get together.

2. Meeting our new nephews, Grant (left) and Graham (right), and seeing Krys and Jeff in action as wonderful parents. Krystal is an amazing momma that never stops giving herself away as she faithfully mothers her beautiful family! She is definitely the busiest mom I have met--but she does it all with grace and a smile.

3. On Sunday, little Jay reached for me over a close friend of their family's at church. I know it sounds trite--but it just felt so good to have my little nephew know not just the words "Aunt Jen"(or Jerry!) but to have him actually know me, if even for a fleeting weekend--wow! that made the drive seem like just a little jaunt.

4. Watching Tyler throw rocks 1/2 way across Penns does he have an arm. It was fun to be with Aunt Deb and cousin Tyler while we were there! Here Tyler is pictured with our Josiah and Cole. Tyler is 6 months older than Cole and they did a great job including Si in all their outings.

5. ISAAC IS CRAWLING!!!--no pictures to prove it but he started while we were at Krystal's. He seemed so contented playing in the rug in the middle of their floor with new toys when one day I noticed he was definitely going to town rocking on all fours. Next thing I knew, he was at the outer edge of the rug. I looked up and said to Krys, I do believe he's beyond scooting and he's graduated to a crawl. Now that we are back home he is into everything and getting around better each day.

6. A lesson learned and hopefully remembered: ALWAYS believe your children when they say they are sick on Pennsylvania roads! Enough said...and definitley no pictures.

7. Maddie turned 3 last Thursday! We were thrilled to be able to celebrate her birthday at my mom's house in PA. She received a doll house from us and hasn't quit playing with it since. We keep waiting for Benny to come back so he can be the dad!!

8.Tom took Cole and Josiah on their first roller coaster ride on a visit to a local kids amusement park (Idewild).

9. Watching Grandma & Maddie ride the carousel for the umpteenth time (who's counting?)... priceless.

10. Remembering why I do this blogging thing....

Found on my mom's computer--she's definitely one of my biggest fans. In this long distance crazy paced 21st century life I'll take every opportunity to extend the connections that matter.