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Monday, October 11, 2010

A Veiled Blessing

As Solomon said long ago: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest-“ doesn’t happen often at our house! In fact, it seems that we get busier and busier as time goes on. Not that the things we are involved in are necessarily bad, but the harried pace and lack of sleep sometimes puts us behind the eight-ball. Our eldest son, Austin, has learned this the hard way. While trying to squeeze in a little more homework before going to play rehearsals seemed like a good idea to him, when he realized the time he flew out of the house and took off in his car. Or, more accurately, he tried to.

Back up a little over a year when the tragic accident happened with Stephen Curtis Chapman’s family. The horrific death of their adopted daughter caused by their teenage son in their own driveway struck a tremendous chord of fear in my heart. I used their tragedy as a teaching moment MANY times since then, especially since I had a teenage driving son and now adoptive daughters as well. Add an element of senior-itis that has been settling into Austin’s heart and mind for months—which led to a few discussions about his driving habits and my promises of taking away his keys if he didn’t improve. Fast forward to the present: I had reminded Austin twice that it was late and that he needed to leave. He chose to stay. When he did get up to go, he also chose to ignore my repeated warning about backing out and driving too fast, especially in our driveway since we have young children at play. Austin saw the car of a friend that was parked in the middle of the driveway and knew to steer around it, but cranked the wheel and gunned it in reverse. What he failed to remember was how the front of the car arcs out farther than the tires, and when the speed was added to the equation, it resulted in the fender being bent, the front bumper being ripped out, and the front left headlight being pulled away. The garage also sustained damage, but cracked siding and splintered wood were the smaller part of the problem. David thought it would be about 1k in damage, but his friend said it would be closer to 2k. Austin’s entire summer’s wages were on the line in a rash moment.

Why do I call this a veiled blessing? It goes against everything in me to welcome a financial burden! If you know me, I use coupons, shop sales, and pinch every penny that I can. From the moment this happened I have been overflowing with praise and gratitude to God!  I believe to the bottom of my soul that God allowed a wake-up call for Austin, one that cost him his time and money but not his sister’s life. Hannah and Mandy were playing at the neighbor’s that afternoon, running back and forth between houses and across driveways. It cost him dollars, but our family is intact. Praise the LORD!  Austin seems to have sobered through this ordeal. I don’t think I will hear his tires squealing in the cul-de-sac any time soon!

As it turns out, by doing the work ourselves and buying aftermarket products, the financial won’t be as steep. It will take several hours of work and learning. It will cost him a school’s month of wages, not his entire summer’s wages. He has gained an appreciation of his parents’ warnings. He also has changed his perspective on the cost of every day things, blessings he takes for granted, because they can be lost so rapidly.

In the midst of it all, when everything was up in the air and he thought his savings were drained, Austin made a hefty financial contribution to support a local Christian radio station. When the world would advise him to hold on to whatever wealth he had left, he in faith gave what he had to God. I asked him about it and he shrugged it off, saying it was what he needed to do. I am amazed at the strength of character my son is gaining. His faith has blessed me.God has blessed me, over and over.

All my best,

Whether Think You Can or You Can’t, You’re Right

This weekend was homecoming for our schools. (Go HAWKEYES!) The bands were required to march in the parade, which was “normal” for both Andrew and Hailey, but terrifying for Hope. She refused to perform in last year’s concert because of the fear of failure; this year she was making her playing debut not only publically but also while marching.  The worry and stress that was invested into this event!  Friday came; the weather was perfect, the crowd was massive, and Hope marched alongside her classmates, playing like the rest of them.  After the parade, Hope was smiling from ear to ear, almost glowing with pride. Her first comment? “I can’t wait to play in the next concert!”

Austin also overcame an obstacle that had been a thorn in his side for his high school career: the pep assembly. It seems that the former “pep” assemblies were just a time for the school to be gathered together in a orderly manner and to be lectured about how to have “spirit”, as long as it wasn’t too loud or rowdy. As a senior, Austin was eligible to organize the pep assembly this year, and he took the bull by the horns. After a month of planning, gathering footage of the football highlights, and organizing, the pep assembly was a hit. There was music, cheering, games, and the football players actually jogged onto the main floor—they didn’t walk on in an orderly fashion! I am so proud of my son: he didn’t just complain about his grievance; he did what it took to make it better not just for him, but for his entire student body. He didn’t say it was too hard, or out of his comfort zone, or he was too busy: all of which were true. He just did what it took to be the change.

All my best,


It’s Ok…We’re Family!

We have three large dogs. When we had one, he was allowed to be an inside dog. When we had #2 come along, they were inside/outside dogs. The third one cemented their living conditions--outside dogs 24/7.
Boomer, our eldest dog, is definitely showing his age and slowing down. Having the experience of losing our cat this past December, we all are more aware about appreciating what we have while we have it. That said, Boomer was given a night inside, including a lot of petting by many hands.
He loved every minute of the attention, eyes rolling and tongue lolling. He was drooling profusely, making his legs, the couch, and Hannah’s and Mandy’s hands quite wet. Hannah wrinkled her face and said “EEEeeeewww!” but Mandy kept petting, saying, “It’s ok; we’re family.”
Well said, Mandy!
All my best,