Capturing the full flavor of life in Christ.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome Home

138It’s hard to believe how time flies by. It’s amazing that we’ve been living in our house for over eight years now. A lot has changed since 2003. Our oldest child, Ellie, was born only two weeks after we moved in to our house. That was a mad scramble getting the nursery ready. Thank goodness for family. And since then Brandon and Tyler have come along, filling our house with noise (the good kind). We have a lot of great memories in our house.


We’ve done our share improvement projects on the house. From multiple landscaping projects, building a huge 24’ x 14’ deck, adding a workshop and storage off the garage, and finishing the basement – we’ve worked hard and had a lot of fun. And we’ve met so many tremendous people here too. We’ve been blessed with terrific neighbors, many which have become our friends over the years.


Which takes me to the purpose of this post; we have decided to move this year. In late summer/fall last year we decided to build a new house. It’s been a fun process. Part of the process (maybe not as fun) is selling our current house. So yes, this is a shameless plug. We thought we would start with our friends and family. If you, or anyone you know is looking to move, we are proud to share some pictures with you. Please pass along the pictures, and contact us with any interest.


We live in the beautiful Ada Moorings neighborhood, right behind Ada Park. Ada Moorings features a neighborhood playground (5 doors down), and walking/biking trails to the Grand River and Ada Park. A convenient walk to downtown Ada Village. This is in the Forest Hills Central School District.


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Living room, with French doors, so could be more private and used as an office, or music room.


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Dining room, right off the kitchen and the foyer.


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Bright and open kitchen with walk-in pantry


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Informal eating area


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Large family room with stone fireplace open to living room and eating area/kitchen.


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From the family room looking back at the eating area and kitchen.


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Mudroom includes a half bathroom, laundry room, walk-in closet, and custom built lockers.


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Upstairs includes four bedrooms and two full bathrooms (master bed and bath are included in this number).


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Master bedroom with two walk-in closets and separate master bathroom


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Spacious master bathroom with soaking tub


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Over 900 finished square feet in the basement with daylight windows. Basement finished just three years ago. Basement includes a full bath, guest bedroom, office, and large 30’ x 12’ play and rec room.


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Downstairs bathroom


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Basement office with solid wood floors


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We have a private backyard, backing up to protected wet lands and Ada Park


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This is another shot looking back at the house and our large custom deck.

We figured most people who view can contact us through Facebook if you are interested. If not, feel free to leave a comment and we will get in touch with you. Thanks!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thankful for Food Allergies

My sister wrote a beautiful blog today http://andrewssusan.blogspot.com/2011/06/gratitude.html?spref=fb that prompted me to try to reprogram my thinking. You see, yesterday was a sad day for me. My daughter got hives from wheat flour. My daughter, who is almost 8, has always been allergic to wheat. I have know this since she was 6 months old. So, the fact that it gave her hives yesterday shouldn’t have been a big deal.

A brief version of the story is that at 6 months old, when Ellie was first diagnosed with allergies, the doctors all told me she would surely grow out of them. They have confirmed this theory every summer since, on our yearly visit to the allergist. Yet, here we are, with an 8 year old who can't eat wheat, dairy, eggs, nuts and flaxseed.

So, about 6 months ago we began trying acupressure because we know of several people whom had success with this. We figured it was worth a shot. However, it seems when ever it comes to us testing our allergens out, Ellie gets hives.

Because wheat would certainly make our lives so much easier, I was really praying about this one. I had so much hope it would work. And yet again, I ended up disappointed.

So while I cried to my husband last night, I brought up all the worst kind of self pity. Why did it work for so many people and not us? Why didn't my child grow out of these things, like so many others? Why won't my child get to go to summer camp, and missions trips? Why me? Poor me.

So today, I read my sisters words just before going out for a run. (Which I have been motivated to do based on my other sisters blog. They are both fabulous if you ask me. http://phil313-14.blogspot.com/2011/06/just-say-no.html ) I decided to change my self pity into thanksgiving.

So, while running, here are just a few of the things I realized I have to be thankful for.

1. Ellie has never been to the emergency room, and we have never needed the epi-pen. That would be a whole level of fear that I haven't had to deal with.
2. Ellie's food haven't cause behavioral or emotional issues for her. I know those things can happen, and are often much more challenging to deal with and rectify.
3. I have learned a new kind of discipline.
4. I have learned to be thankful for growing through something.
5. Ellie is compassionate and sensitive to others with special needs.
6. As I ran, I felt strong and healthy, and thought what a blessing it is that my daughter is too. Food might be limited for her, but that doesn't mean she is limited.
7. My husband is wonderfully supportive and a great listener. He didn't tell me to snap out of my self pity, though he could have. It is much nicer coming from God.
8. We are living in a world with so many options for food that she can have, and people are so much more aware.
9. She is finally getting old enough to read and protect herself.
10. I tell my kids often that they will keep learning as they keep trying. This is true for me too, I will keep learning as we keep her safe through alternative foods.

I came home feeling like a changed person. I know there are more reason to be thankful, and I will keep finding them all the time. The only change today is my perspective. Ellie still can't eat lots of food that the rest of us love, and maybe she never will. But God will do a good work in all of us. He is alive and active will turn even our ugly self pity into his lovely creation.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

What a lovely Friday it has been, packed with many of my very favorite activities. I did some crafting, some cleaning, some snuggling with my kids. I baked cookies, took a bath an even had a friend stop by with a surprise blessing too. And all throughout the sun was beaming, lifting my spirits.

Now I have a quiet and clean house, while clean children sleep in their beds. This is very satisfying to me. On this very happy day, with my happy heart, I wrote cards for my mom and mother-in-law for Mother's Day. I am amazingly blessed in this category, and told them as much.

But, just as I was putting my kids to bed, I got a little Mother's Day gift of my own. No one spoiled the surprise, and I didn't go snooping. I was doing the most mundane of things and was so, so blessed.

After Ellie got out of the shower, I sat down to put cream on her skin. I realize that this practice probably stops for most people when their babies become mobile at age 1. But, since Ellie who is 7,has such bad eczema we still do it, every time she gets out of the shower. Today, she stayed home sick. She just has a head cold, but it seemed enough to have her home. It really was a joy for both of us.

As I was creaming she said, "thanks for always taking care of me mommy, just like God does." I said "God can do a lot more than I can. I just put cream on."
She said, "you do more than that. You take care of me when I am sick, and take care of my skin. You teach me to read and write, you teach promiseland (Sunday school) and you always make me food."

Hallmark can have their cute rhymes and clever punch lines, my daughter gave me a beautiful Mother's Day message today. There are so many days that as a mom, I do this stuff, not feeling the joy and even the importance of these little tasks of life. But over time, they add up to be meaningful and beautiful to our children.

So, I wanted to remember today, and her sweet words. This blog is for future me, having a hard day, and any others who are in the thick of it as a mom. One day out there, they will notice what you do. The sum of the little things will eventually add up to be very significant to them.


Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Victory in Jesus

When I write the title, I am flooded with memories of my sweet Nazarene church that knew how to rock out some serious old hymns. But today I am feeling triumphant and have to give God the glory. I cannot keep it in.

Anxiety and worry have always been part of my life. From the time I was a little girl, I have been a worry wart. I have this memory of a specific time when I worried (and drove my parents rightfully crazy) because I had lost my new pack of markers. I literally would not go to sleep until they were found. Markers, really? As I got older, I worried about my relationships, and my future. Graduating from college without a ring on my finger consumed me with anxiety.

However, over the past few years, I have found freedom from this. And frankly, I am sleeping so much better now. I am not going to take any credit here. The only cure I have found, is spending time with God. During that time, He has healed my anxious heart, and filled me with trust in Him. He has never let me down.

Sunday, our pastor talked about anxiety and worry, and how it is out of place in the life of a follower or apprentice of Jesus. It reminded me of how far I have come in this particular area of my life. I am sure I will have setbacks over the years to come. I am sure there will be things, that might just pull me back into my old ways. But, I sat in church this week, so full of blessing, that God would work so directly in me.

We will be doing a whole serious on the sermon on the mount and apprenticeship to Jesus, for which I am so excited. I am keenly aware that despite this victory, I still have a lot of stuff, that God wants to work on in me. I am celebrating this victory, yet am also becoming aware of other areas that I need to bring to Him, and allow him to mold.

This month, the theme of my devotional has been trust. I am reading Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, which takes the voice of Jesus and is full of love, hope, depth and nurturing. Yesterday it said "If you keep on stating your concerns to Me, you will live in a state of tension. When you thank me for how I am answering your prayers, your mind set becomes much more positive. Thankful prayers keep your focus on My Presence and My promises."

So often, I forget to give God the glory when he comes through for me. So, I am going to practice thankful prayers. So, thank you God for filling my anxious heart with your faithful love!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Scents

The Christmas season seems to get started with the smell of turkey. One of the greatest blessings of being the host of Thanksgiving dinner is that the aroma seem to travel to every corner of the house. Those smells are so rich in comfort and satisfaction. Throughout the holiday season, there are many smells that seem to be part of Christmas. My kids even have a scratch and sniff Christmas book. Our noses seem to love the anticipation of the holiday, cookies baking, wassail on the stovetop, peppermint candy canes, a fire in the fireplace and of course the fresh pine tree in our family rooms.

One time, a few years ago I walked into a Yankee candle store and was looking for a candle of a specific color to match my room. The salesclerk said to me with an air of pious, "we are a fragrance store, not a d├ęcor shop". So, I wanted to see what this "fragrance store" thought that Christmas should smell like. I found things like Hearthside, Balsam and Fir, Christmas Cookie, Mountain Pine, and Peppermint swirls.

I love these aromas, and they really do add to my love of this season. But, today I got a little perspective about the true scents of Christmas. I went to a barn, on a preschool fieldtrip. We pet bunnies and kitties. We said hello to some goats, and enjoyed seeing the sheep's full winter coat. But the reason we went was to see a live nativity. As I stood there, watching my little guys get up close to see baby Jesus, and listen to the music playing, I got a little emotional. The shepherds came and bowed in front of King Jesus, it really was beautiful.

It struck me that Christmas with cookies and peppermint and pine is kind of a cover. The true Christmas smelled like manure and hay and earth. There was such humility in that scene. I am amazed anew today that the King of the World, came to save me, as a vulnerable baby, in a barn!

Though I promise I won't be burning stinky candles when my family comes for Christmas Eve. I will, however keep the scents of the stable alive in my heart as I celebrate the season.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hard Work

My older sister is like my parenting mentor. She is a great, purposeful mom, whose children are a few steps older than mine, so she stays ahead of me with advice. Oh, and her kids are fantastic and so well behaved and have so many traits that I want to see in my own kids. Whenever I spend time with my sister, I find myself motivated to be more meaningful in my mothering. During my recent visit with her she was talking about how, whenever her children need an attitude adjustment, she cures it with hard work. Her kids are all beyond the ages of spankings or time outs, and she has found that making them do a bunch of chores seems to help put things into proper perspective for them.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to put this theory to work, pun intended. I was taking my boys to Target to get the things for our Operation Christmas Child boxes. This is something our family has done for a number of years. We buy toys and essentials for children in foreign lands who wouldn't otherwise get Christmas gifts. This seems like a great opportunity to me to open my kids eyes to the fact that we are completely blessed with things, and family and that not everyone has such reasons to be grateful. My daughter is a thoughtful compassionate little girl, and this has traditionally been a fun little time with her, to pick out things and think of others. Well, she was away at school, and I thought I could do this with my boys.

They really wanted nothing to do with picking out gifts for others. Instead, they wrestled and squirreled around in the cart, threw tantrums when I wouldn't buy things for them, and pointed out item after item that they would like to receive for Christmas. I was dismayed. But then to top it off, as I was finishing up at the checkout they were laughing and pointing at people and saying "he has a bad face, oh there is another bad face."

At this point I was furious, and told them so. As we drove home with the doom of impending punishment in the air, both boys fell asleep. (This must come from the same skill set that husbands have that enables them to fall asleep during an argument.) Well as they slept I was able to gain a little perspective. First, yes I was reminded that they are 3 and 4 years old, and I was expecting a lot. Second, I was also reminded that they were clearly tired, and perhaps I that has some reflection on their behavior. Third, I remembered what my sister had said about hard work and so when they woke up, I had a plan.

Brandon had recently done a creation book at his preschool and learned how God created the world. We talked about how God worked for 6 days and rested just one. I told him that God designed us to work and that he had been getting away with to much play and not enough work. So, they had to do 6 jobs before they could play. The boys, put laundry away, carried a bunch of things down stairs, cleaned up the basement, dusted, cleaned bathrooms, even vacuumed the van. All supervised of course. It definitely worked, they both had better attitudes. The sweetest part was a bedtime prayers when Brandon ask God for forgiveness for his behavior at Target.

I sometimes struggle to make selfless choices with my time. I like facebook, and dinner out and even going to the gym. I like watching tv and reading the occasional book and yes, I like to go to Target. These things may be permissible, but they are not always beneficial. I need to keep that balance that God ordained which is 6 days of work, to 1 day of rest.

I feel a little pathetic realizing that the same principal applies to me. There are many times in my life that I also need to be put to work, to gain a little perspective. I am still a child of God. I love to live in a clean house, but even more than that, I like the process of cleaning. While I am at work purging and purifying my home God is often at work purging and purifying my heart. So, if I am grouchy and critical and self absorbed, I am realizing I need to get off my duff and get to work. A clean house plus a clean heart seems like a win-win situation for my family.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blueberries

I went to the farmers market the other day. There were some women at the entrance taking produce donations for God's kitchen. So, my daughter and I made some selections for our family, and bought a few things for the charity. She went to put the donation in the basket as I finished up paying. As we walked back to the car, one of the ladies thanked me, and as I looked over the other one was reaching into the bag of blueberries and selecting on for herself. She caught my eye, and hid her blueberry.

At first I was mad. I made a special trip to the bank, to get cash to make a small donation, and she was eating it! But then I thought about how often I eat blueberries. Not literally (I actually don't like them much, gasp, I know) but figuratively. How often do I mean well, and end up being selfish and sinful along the way. How often I justify just this one blueberry.

I have been studying the holy spirit this summer. Last week I read the story about the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-30. He asks Jesus what is required of him to receive eternal life. Then he finds the answer to be a bit hard to swallow.

22When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
 
The question from my study called Forgotten God by Francis Chan was: What do you think the he was expecting Jesus to say?

I have been mulling over this question, and thinking about how we want Jesus to require a neat, easy thing from us. 10% of our income seems so much more palatable then sell it all and give it all away! I somehow want God to use me, but only when it is easy and convenient.

I am very humbled by how far I am from where I should be. I want to give my time, but do so grudgingly. I want to give my money, but don't want to give up date nights and new clothes. I want to surrender it all to Christ, but I also want just one little blueberry from the world. Why is it so scary to me? I know in my head that the rewards out there are much greater than a new skirt. So what the heck is my problem.


Today, I guess I am just being real about how I am still on the this journey toward surrender. Not my will Lord, but Yours. One blueberry at a time.

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About Me

I am a wife, mother of three, friend to many, sister, daughter, and follower of Christ.