Thursday, September 29, 2011

Splat--a Van

Raindrops. They were falling. Some annoying, some refreshing, some necessary.

Two years ago we ventured into the world of no longer being a one-car family. For all but a brief season of our marriage we have always had one car. [While we briefly owned an older Jeep, it doesn't really count because it was broken down more often than it ran!]

In October 2009 we were told about a program called "Air Check Texas". If you had a vehicle that was 10 years or older and wouldn't pass inspection, you could apply for a voucher from the Texas government to help you get a newer car. [Part of a plan to help reduce emissions in urban areas--like Dallas.]

We didn't have an older car. We had one van. But, friends of ours had an old Honda that was falling apart. They didn't qualify for the program (there are income restrictions). So, they gave us their old Honda. We only had to pay for the title transfer. We found a 2007 Hyundai Accent at a dealer who would accept the voucher. He offered us a great deal on the car. We walked away with a second car for just a few thousand dollars. We committed to paying it off in one year.
Last fall we did just that--Daddy's little white car (as the kids call it) was completely paid for. We were blessed to have a second vehicle. Joel took Rylee to school each morning and then went to work himself. I had the van to run errands. We didn't have to juggle who would pick up whom.

We were especially blessed as we would let others borrow it when they needed a car--if their car was in the shop or if Joel was out of town. We let someone borrow it this summer while we were gone for a month. The whole story of how it fit into this really neat plan of God supplying our friend with a vehicle for months on end so he could save money was just one story of many. God used our second car in some neat ways.

We have seen God's faithfulness through vehicles in more ways than I can chronicle here.

Most recently, though, we saw His faithfulness as we realized Daddy's little white car was, indeed, very little. The Hyundai has suited us well for the past two years. However, this year Joel takes the three big kids to school each morning and I pick them up. His little white car could fit three booster seats in the back, but they were a tight squeeze and the kids couldn't buckle it themselves. It was also a 2-door car, which was a royal pain when I used it--taking Jett in his car seat in and out.

We decided it was probably time for us to sell the Hyundai and look for a bigger vehicle.

We decided to sell the car over Labor Day weekend. We listed it on Saturday. I got a few calls Sunday. A woman came to test drive in Monday and gave us a deposit. She brought us the rest of the money and we signed off the paperwork on Tuesday.

The kicker--we sold it for $1,000 MORE than we paid for it two years ago! (And, remember that Air Check...so we actually paid out of pocket several thousand less than that!)

Apparently 4 cylinder used cars are in high demand with this economy. When have you ever heard of someone making a profit on a car they drove for two years? Okay, maybe a used car salesman, but not a family like us!

We found another van (almost identical to our current van) within two days and bought it. So, we now own a little mini fleet of minivans. They are both older vans, but the new one only had 62,000 miles on it. It's now "my" van and Joel's driving the van with more miles on it.

I'm constantly amazed at the ways God chooses to take care of us. We will sometimes hear people talk about how much faith we have to trust God with support raising. I've heard people talk about the crazy life of living on one modest income. Honestly, God has shown us His greatness so often through having limited finances (according to this country's standards), I can't imagine that I'd see Him as the provider so easily if we had more.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Ministry in Haiti

My friend Heather and her family serve in Haiti with a ministry called Heartline. They are doing some really neat things to help the orphan crisis there. They have an opportunity to win a huge grant that will enable them to better serve the families of Haiti and to serve MORE people there. Will you take a second to vote for their ministry? (It seriously takes about three seconds.)
You can learn more about my friend Heather and her family by visiting their blog. And, you can learn more about Heartline by visiting their website.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

a little splattering

More raindrops. (read my post about "raindrops")

I felt like raindrops were falling on my head last week because the girls had been sick with strep their second week of school, then Jett got a fever for 24 hours that weekend, then Asa got a fever that seemed to last 24 hours on Labor Day. He missed school on Tuesday, but then went back on Wednesday.

Thursday afternoon he came home with a 105 degree temp. That was also the day we bought our new-to-us van [that post is coming soon] and it was Curriculum Night at the kids' school.

It felt like that annoying raindrop thing...where the sky can't decide if it's really going to let rain fall or just sprinkle you enough to make everything have spots.

I took Asa to the doctor on Friday because he was still running a fever and it had now been four days. I thought for sure he had strep like the girls. Nope. No strep. No flu either. Ears were clear. Doc said it was a virus and that it should wrap up over the weekend. If not, I should bring him back.

The fever lingered Saturday with bouts of highs and lows. Asa played some, rested some, and then went to bed with a fever. I gave him medicine and over the next few hours it seemed to "break" (lots of sweat). He woke up Sunday and insisted on getting his homework done. He played and acted totally normal. He pulled out his uniform for Monday, just like the girls. Then at 4am Monday morning he woke Joel up saying he was sick. Sure enough, he had a fever.

He stayed home, and I called the doctor's office. His fever never went back up. Then, it increased at bedtime. By this point I was frustrated and concerned. I called the doctor Tuesday morning and got an early afternoon appointment. Throughout the morning Asa complained about his back aching, then his chest hurting when he took deep breaths. His temp stayed around 100 degrees...until we were getting ready to leave for the doctor's office. Our thermometer read 107!

They did more tests...another flu, another strep, checking ears. They did a mono test, urine sample, chest x-rays, and finally took blood. Everything came back fine/clear. One ear was slightly red, so the doc prescribed meds. We left still wondering what was up.

He's back at school today. No fever yesterday and he's been on the meds since Tuesday night. The bloodwork all came back normal. I have no idea what he had or has. I have no idea if he'll get a fever again or if something was bugging him and is now gone/on its way out.

But, I know that my hair is starting to frizz!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Raindrops

I began a Bible study on Wednesday. During introductions we had to pick a statement that best represented our life right now. The choices were:
  • Raindrops keep falling on my head
  • It's the best of times, the worst of times
  • Try, try, try again
  • O what a beautiful morning, o what a beautiful day
I picked the raindrops phrase. Well, actually, that morning I said it was a combo of the first three.

But, as I've pondered it longer, I think the raindrops line is most accurate.

Sometimes raindrops are much needed on parched land. (We know this well here in Texas after a scorching summer!) Raindrops provide water to sustain and grow vegetation and keep people alive. In my life there are times when God gives me small bits of life-giving truth that sustain me. Not a torrential flood, but little raindrops.

Sometimes raindrops are an annoyance. For someone with wavy hair who likes to wear it straight (not kinky!), little raindrops can ruin my hairstyle in minutes. It is especially annoying when you don't look good in hats, too. Sometimes, the raindrops that fall on me just annoy the heck out of me. They usually reveal my incredible selfish nature, vanity, and need for a Savior.

Sometimes raindrops are devastating. Just ask my friends in central Pennsylvania who are enduring awful flooding right now. The raindrops keep falling and falling and falling and.... I kinda feel like there are seasons where this has been true for me. My kids have been battling being sick for two weeks now. While it's nothing compared to my friends who have battled cancer or had chronic illnesses, two weeks with sickness going through four children with days of health and wellness sprinkled in between--it feel like the rain stops, then drops come again.

So, raindrops keep falling on my head.

I welcome them all because as I look to the Lord through it all, He teaches me, grows me, and is (hopefully) refining me to more effectively and thoroughly reflect Himself.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cutest Boys Around

[cheeks -- his new name;
to fully appreciate the shot, click on it]

Well, that fever just couldn't leave well enough alone. It had to go and land on Asa!
He started running a low fever last night after dinner. It never went up very high, but it was high enough to keep him home with Mama and Jett today.
The first thing he said was, "I'm going to watch tv all day like the girls did!"

That didn't really happen.
Instead, the guys on top of our house were being so loud replacing our roof, he couldn't hear the tv.

So, he did some math with magnets, drew pictures, ran an errand with me, watched the guys working outside, expressed great concern that the men wouldn't clean up the mess they were making, played with Jett, and put together a U.S. map of magnets.
He thought it was hilarious that the men working on our roof took a break and sat at our kids' picnic table.For some reason, I thought it was a little funny to see them all sitting in our backyard too.And, what did this other little guy do with all the incredible banging?
He settled himself right down to take two naps, like every other day, thank you very much!
My goodness he is just as cute as can be! We all love him to pieces.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Last Two Weeks

School started. The first week went well. Then, Saturday the girls both started running a fever. It went pretty high--up to 105 for Jenna. We tried to keep them comfortable but let the heat run its course.

We stayed close to home Sunday and Monday. Then, Tuesday the fevers were down to 100 and I needed to run some errands. It was a lot of driving so I figured the girls would be fine to ride. As we were getting ready to grab some lunch both girls complained that their throats were hurting.

I ended up calling the pediatrician, getting a 4pm appointment, and taking the girls in. They both had strep. yippee!

They stayed home one more day (making it three missed days of school), then they headed back to try and catch up.It was a long week. Being inside does that to me. Some days I end up staying home. But, when you're "forced" to be home (with kids who are sick of being sick and have run out of movies to watch and have no energy to do much else except start arguing), it gets a little maddening.
[my daytime playmate]
[this is what he does twice a day for about 90 minutes each time while the big kids are at school. LOVE the crossed ankles!]

All was well by Friday and I decided to surprise the kids with a cream slush smoothie and a snack after school when I picked them up. I also threw their swimsuits in the car and planned to let them play in the water fountains nearby. The fountains were down for repair and cleaning so we ended up swimming with friends in their pool. They were excited and had a good time.

Then, Jett started running a fever on Friday night. Argh! Thankfully, it was only mild and he still nursed and napped and then it was gone by Saturday night.


Last night, Joel decided to take our pergola down.

What's a pergola?

It was this...
Now, it's this...And, my kitchen now looks like this...
But, the weather outside is currently B.E.A.U.T.I.F.U.L. So, blaring sunlight into my kitchen is totally okay with me.

We are getting a new roof tomorrow--thanks to hail damage in May. And, then, hopefully we'll get a new pergola in the next few months. Until then, we'll have a lovely screen hanging over our window so I can tolerate standing at my kitchen sink in the mornings.

So, there you go...you're all caught up![i LOVE this outfit. i got it for Asa when he was little because it says "Ace"--can you see it on the chest? today, when I put it on Jett, i realized it's fitting for him as well; it has jet planes!]