Saturday, March 27, 2010

What were we thinking?!?!

It's about that time for a mental breakdown right?
In the past week we kept most of our, two baseball games, groceries, laundry, etc.
But then we added in box hunting, organizing utilities, reserving storage units, a visit from Pops Howie, and packing, purging, packing.
I managed to watch one movie while I purged an old sock drawer and folded laundry.  But other than that I have been in Go mode all week.  And I'm done! Stick a fork in me I'm aWHINING  now!
Not like that is anything new ;)

But in all honesty, I just don't like myself right now.  Sure I could blame it on the toilet STILL sitting in my hallway.  Or the fact that my house is in a constant state of chaos.  Or that my kids are out of control without a schedule or sense of normalcy around here.
But I realized that this is all par for the course.

The part I don't like is the way I'm processing all this stress.
I'm trying to do it in my own strength.
I keep finding ways for ME to make it happen.
Ie, sending the kids off with friends, or drinking my weight in caffeine.  But I'm realizing that no human could really help me in this situation.  I've been bypassing my greatest helper.  My Savior of all people!
My heart hurts when I think of all the missed opportunities I've had to BE Christ to my kids.  The patience I've lacked, the teaching moments I've passed by because my hands were already 'full.'

The fact is that nothing in ME will get this house packed up, my family moved to a new place, or make a wonderful time out of the interim. 
This is all happening for reasons FULLY beyond me, or this great little family.
So praise God for that!  I just have to remind myself that this world does NOT revolve around me (GASP!) or my emotions.  And then the other things begin to fall in place. 

I can't let this get overly emotional.  Though I want to cry when I think about my beloved box wall.
This was the first wall I painted when we moved in.  It took a week and involved a LOT of tape and clear sealant to make the crips lines.   The new tenants have asked to paint over it.  So I snapped a picture and said a prayer of thanks for the 8 years we spent together ;)
This was never our house to begin with.  It was just under our care.
This family will truly never be about a structure.
Please God let me remember that. 
To nurture our relationships in the meantime....even if there doesn't seem to be enough time to do so.
In the end, we'll all be together in another building.  But if I've yelled and cried and mopped about in the meantime, what have my children learned this week?

I know I've learned to lean elsewhere for I need to pass along that advice. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lesson Learned...Pride!

As I mentioned HERE, things started moving QUITE quickly the other night. 

There I was wasting precious time on Facebook at 10pm at night.  
I dropped a quick line to a friend of a friend I knew would be moving out of her place soon.
Less than half a dozen messages later we decided they would come over the next day to have a look at our house.  Yes, ladies and gentelmen...that would be less than 15 hours away....take away any sleep I was hoping to get, and factor in church in the morning and I had ZERO time to get my house ready for a 'viewing.'

GAH!  I was a jittery mess thinking of 'qualifications' I would give all along the way.  Then the BOMB dropped.  As I was describing my FB exchange to my husband....and we shared this giggly moment where we rejoiced about God's faithfulness to 'bring' us a renter......He said very gently, "I think you should go to bed and leave the house the way it is."

WHAT?  Como estas??  No habla English!!!  I chuckled nervously...."Well, um that's NOT going to happen," I said SO obediently.  

He smiled, "Babe, this is a God thing.  You can't MAKE it happen."

"I'm not trying to make ANYTHING happen, I just want our house to be presentable to this woman and her family."  (who am I kidding...on Saturdays our house is ALWAYS thrashed because we come and go so quickly on the weekends.  It becomes a dumping ground for equipment, a cafeteria for quick meals, and a locker room for wardrobe changes!) 

I think there were about 5 loads of dirty laundry overflowing various recepticles.....almost every flat surface held clutter, forget about the sweeping or mopping I had done two days before...the dogs had tracked in something strange.....need I say more?

"I'll just stay up tonight and get things straightened up, it won't take me long...."  I stammered.  

"Why are you striving?  I really think you need to look at WHY you want to do's not about what NEEDS to be done, this is about PRIDE," he stated matter-a-factly.   I started straightening the office as he spoke.  "Please stop, babe.  You need to let this be and come to bed,"  He remained calm.

"I just don't think you get how this reflects on me.  On half my job description!  This is my workplace, my responsibility...and I decided to I'm just trying to fix it..."  I stared at him, stupefied by his request.

"Exactly! You're trying to fix this, and take away that much of the glory.  This isn't about YOU.  She'll see past the dirt and disorganization.  And if they are meant to rent this house then we will KNOW it is the Lord!" 

"You are REALLY asking me to do this?  Well, if I go to sleep now, can I have an hour and half after church tomorrow, before I take the kids to that birthday party?"   Defeated, he said, "If that's what it takes.  But you're missing the big picture."

I continued to clean up for atleast 15 more minutes, then I went to sleep and dreamt restlessly about reorganizing my house.

In the morning I woke up early and started cleaning up my bathroom as I got ready.  It was a little thing, but it bugged my hubby, as if I was breaking a no-cleaning pact.  So we fought all the way to church. 
He claimed I had fought dirty by negotiating time to clean in the first place and then waking up early to do MORE cleaning.  All of it was a concession to him....and he just didn't see the point.  Why try to 'gloss up' who we are or what we represent.  Let it be real, let it be true.  Those are FINE lessons.  Along with learning to swallow my pride, and let go of this outward image I think I am protecting so hard.
But can't I just learn those lessons TOMORROW Lord??

Needless to say, I cried so hard that I was too puffy eyed to help lead worship.  Then I just wanted to cry some more as I sat in the car and my family went in to church.  I could FEEL how hard my heart was about this.  I REALLY wanted to be right for the WRONG reasons. 

You may not understand the freedom in being under your husband's headship.  I've told him before he's actually cuter to me when he aserts his authority.  But not this time.  I was MAD at him for making such a request that he KNEW was hard for me to swallow!

Well, I'll wrap this up to say that we made up just fine.  I still came home and cleaned and in that hour and a half my heart changed.  Jarrod was so gracious about helping me clean, and I was just a big walking fuji-face.  It was disgusting.  Believe me it might seem like I 'won' that argument....but you can't do much to mask a lifetime of disorganization and packratitis in an hour and a half.  The surfaces were spit shined as Jarrod likes to say. 

The miracles came later when our soon-to-be-new-renters arrived and completely looked past our clutter.  It was 'lived-in' they said.....that's ONE way of looking at it ;)
 I also didn't cringe while showing them around.  That had been one of my biggest reasons for needing to straighten up.....I said FINE! I'll leave the house as is.....but YOU get to show them around the house, I will NOT be a part of it!  I would feel like a fool with every closet door that opened!
*Wouldn't you know that I never even looked away during the whole tour! 
AND they loved it.
AND I think God is knitting together some fantastic plans for these two families!

To think that I almost missed it by demanding MY way.
It's not an easy thing to submit.  Seriously, sometimes I think I would rather DIE first.
Then the showers of obedience wash over me and I feel renewed rather than defeated.

Thank God for my husband.  He is quite the Shepherd for this band of Weiners.
Weiner sheperds...hee hee

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why is there a toilet in my hallway?...and other tales

Well, I've been a little absent from bloggy land lately.  I know, you were TOTALLY missing me right?
But the truth is in all our craziness I have TOO much to post!
So I'm going to sneak one more entry in here before things go beserk...or more beserk.
I tell ya, we're you're walking with God, things become a sprint REALLY quickly!

About 6 months ago I saw a billboard on the side of the road. It was very minimalistic.  Mostly white with an orange square off centered....and the word SPACES in a bold font.
It was an ad for a new housing development and I was smiling psuedo family, no blah house, just an orange square. So I looked it up online and found this development being planned.
I REALLY like what they were selling, but had NO designs on buying a new house. So that was the extent of my quest.  Pretty billboard, nice concept.

Then 3 weeks ago I ran right into the subdivion while taking the boys to their art class.
A class we had been attending for 4 weeks.  But for some reason I noticed the sign again.  This time I went and took a look.  I fell in LOVE with the unique vision for this small development. The houses are designed with a European flavor.  They are very open and sleek, think Ikea done well.
Next thing I know Jarrod and I are gathering our info to get pre-approved, just to 'see.'
It was the first time I had EVER imagined moving for other reason other than ministry or a job.

This was just fun.
Well wouldn't you know, we could afford the house, but as we looked into it further, we didn't like the lots they were offering.  Door #1 shut.
Enter our dear friend with her mad Realtor skills.  She offers to start looking up houses for us.
We oblige for the fun of it, knowing full well that we have NO down and NO nest egg to speak of, since we had put everything we had into medical bills over the past few months.

But the more we prayed about it, the more info we gathered and it really seemed like this was a good time to make an investment.  We realized that as much as we'd like to move out of the area. We want to be here, close by my parents and Jarrod's family for as long as possible.
So we decided the next step would be to finish up those long awaited projects and find a renter for this house.  Mind you, we've had no idea HOW to do any of this!
But things were flowing along.  God kept putting exactly the right people in our path to provide just the right information we'd need. 
Then we talked to my parents about moving in with them for a time to save some money.  They graciously agreed, and we continued on our occasional house tour.  Is that Door #2 opening?
Then we saw one we really liked.  It was just enough MORE room, and was move-in ready, a stipulation Jarrod was firm on keeping!
The thought of losing this opportunity while we saved up our down became something we prayed HARD about...We had toyed with the idea of asking my parents to borrow the down, but we did not want to take advantage of their generosity.  Moving in would be MORE than ENOUGH!
So we kept praying and Jarrod had a plan to pay back the down payment loan and all of a sudden we began praying for the courage to ask.   Again, we felt the Lord nudging us in this direction. To stop fearing and just put it out there.  Our parents were SO gracious, "That's what family is for!" they replied.....and Door #3 swung open.
So we steadied ourselves to find a renter, and to fix up what needed to be fixed.
That's when I thought I'd drop an acquaintance a note on FB.  She and her family were having to move quickly from their townhouse a couple of cities away.  It was a long shot, but I had a peace about asking.
So I put out minimal details in my note, just to let her know we'd be renting out our home within the next month.  Wouldn't you know she replied almost immediately and we spent the remainder of the evening exchanging information and details about her wishlist and our home.
They visited less than 24 hours later, and we all have SUCH a peace about their NEW home!
We will be leaving mid-April :D
Our first offer will be submitted for OUR new home tomorrow.
Meanwhile this is what Jarrod created in our master bathroom.
Fine, this is what it ACTUALLY looked like....the green effect just made it seem like the monster it is!
I'm glad that the new tenants will enjoy a brand spanking new shower....but why did WE wait 8 years to fix it?!??!
He's just lucky I think he's cute with a white mohawk!  That'll get him far....
So that is what we are up to....I have 3 weeks to turn over our home to a new family.  It hasn't sunk in yet, the drama of it all.  But watching God provide every step along the way is amazing!
I wanted to cry when our new renters were leaving.  They are believers as well, and they have their OWN story about where God is taking them.....whodathunk it was to OUR house!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


What's in a name?
Our entire identity.  Our nicknames are important....even whether or not our name rhymes with the WRONG word.  Or GASP!  IS the wrong word.  ahem.
In life we don't really choose our name.  It's usually up to our parents.....Unless we decide to jump through legal hoops and have it changed. 
I know first hand that you can't choose the name of those who you fall in love with....Marriage doesn't guarantee you get a 'better' name.  It just brings a 'different' name.  In my case, it's a name that's such a source of entertainment and giggles!  Most of the time it's not MY embarrassment...but that of another's that I get to share.  I LOVE hearing telemarketers stumble over 'Whiner....Weemer....Weener?'
Anyhow, I tend to think of my name as not so much an identity, but a comedy bit.

I thought of all of this when I came across this picture.
You see, I have a namesake.  Well that's what her parents tell me.  This is a little girl who goes to our church.  She's not even 5 yrs old....but she was named after me.  Meet Nikki.
I may be partial, but I think she's adorable.  And everytime I see her I get a little twinge in my heart.  A reminder that not only am I accountable for my own sake, and for my kid's example, etc.  But, there are others who watch me, and see my actions as well.  For reasons that make me blush Nikki's parents thought I'd be a good person to be named after.  Mind you, these people have no other tie to me, other than church, so I hold this responsibility very dear.  I guess that explains a lot huh?  They may not know me as well as they THINK they do.....Muahahahahaha! ;)
Either way,
Nikki is counting on me to walk the walk, and not just talk, the talk.

But not only am I a Nikki.  And certainly not just a Weiner, but I am a child of the Most High Living God.
The Creator of this earth....the One who placed SUCH importance on names, that it was the first job he gave Adam in the name all the animals.
And I have His name.  Elohim, Jehovah, they are written on my heart.

So much more than worry about what I am called, I need to worry about who I am named after.   My God, my King.....He has commissioned my life for a purpose, and I carry my name like a badge, because there is much to be done.
So to all the Nikki's in the world, let's make a difference.
Love today, when you think it's impossible.  Forgive and shake off the grudge. 
Dance through the awkward moments and rebuild what was torn down.
Life is ticking away, and there will only be ONE YOU to leave a mark.
And if you ever get down on yourself, just remember that there are Weiners rooting for you.....
And you are Holy and Set Apart, no matter who picked your name!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Ready for a Change?

(a year ago this month...we were in Maui...*sigh)
Lately we've been contemplating the direction of our life as a family.
Where to live, where to serve, how near to stay to our norm.
If you've chatted with  me at all in the past, you already know this about us!

Almost 4 years ago, we our lives were being redirected to Modesto, CA (!?!) for training...and then off to foreign lands to work as full-time missionaries.
Then our house sat on the market for far too long, and we watched that door swing shut.
But a part of us remained open to the idea of going we became restless with the norm.

Then my hubby signed on with a new company.
And I don't think I can express my feelings about that decision without being I won't.
But that job kept us in the here and now, and has been a blessing, as we've never gone without.  We have food and clothing and more importantly, stability when so many have NONE in their lives. 
We are SO grateful.
But still restless.
Now with the housing market where it is, we are pondering new 'investments.'
It would be wise to buy....but where?
And we're reminded that God's ways are NOT man's ways.
What makes sense on paper may be FAR from the will of God in our lives.
And so begins a new set of prayers....and waiting for peaceful answers.
I guarantee I have none.

And it's funny to know that the kids have all turned a year older, and the school year is wrapping up again.
And some parts of my world are as completely disorganized as ever (ahem, our office)....while others have gained new effeciency and polishing (several closets).

On a personal level, Merrick is walking.  And much faster than he should.  His orthopaedic surgeon expected him to begin walking and make progress over a 6 week period. 
He was walking with a limp by the end of the first week.  Sam, Merrick's Physical Therapist was astounded.  I now have to remind him not to run, and to point his foot straight.
It's just a matter of building strength and straightening his form at this point. 
There is no doubt about the past year Merrick grew, lost, and continues to heal from a tumor.
He is speed walking toward a full recovery.
It's all so indicative of the speed with which life is passing us by.
I've never thought I was one to sit back and enjoy the ride, but apparently that is what I have been doing.
This year has been so busy, I've been more of a spectator than a rule changer.
How about you?
Do you have dreams for your future?
Where do you go to find peace about your decisions?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Valentine surprise...delayed

When we were first married...Valentine's day brought about tears and lots of scrambling.
As I stated last year in this post, I associate 'receiving' with 'loving.'  My hubby on the other hand, associates 'being with' someone with 'loving' them.  It won't take a far stretch of the imagination to realize how disillusioned I was when a major holiday like Valentine's Day rolled around!  After a year or so he got the idea, but then he'd rush out at the last minute and buy that overpriced bouquet of flowers, or the standard box of candy.  This is the man who wooed me with poems, and scrapbooks.  I KNEW he had it in him!

The thing is he doesn't appreciate the pressure.  He would rather decide on his OWN to be creative, than to be told by society that he SHOULD do something on a particular date.
Jarrod saw the celebration of St. Valentine as a fake holiday conjured up by master manipulators to force people into spending their money on worthless tokens of affection.  His reasoning:  Don't I show you I love you every day of the year?   Well, yes, but um, I need more.....sounded like a LAME response!

The fact remains that I enjoy decorating, creating, buying, and otherwise blessing those I love with gifts on any occasion.  But major holidays are a MUST! 
Thankfully, with the arrival of our kids I had a distraction and other subjects to dote on....though I never gave up on my hubby.  I just stopped expecting the smallest things would be a surprise.

Valentine's Day this year was no different.  In fact, since we were in the middle of caring for Merrick, I didn't really have the chance to shop a lot or to get super creative with our Valentine gifts.  I was happy to gather some unique candy for the kids, and for Jarrod.  

Jarrod on the other hand, was looking forward and stepping outside of his comfort zone.  
He ordered a gorgeous bunch of roses to be delivered to the house, and then he headed over to Etsy
I had been abusing Courtney ever since Christmas when the flash that Jarrod bought for her refused to fit into my camera backpack.  So I resorted to toting Courtney in my huge purse.....GASP!  What a terrible camera owner..... I KNOW!

Well at Christmas time I had set up a Universal Gift List on Amazon....and I had featured this seller...Gypsyrose who makes Snugglens DSLR camera bags.  I loved the gorgeous fabric she used and the obvious care she took in creating each bag.  After all, this would be a major accessory for me, as well as it needed to protect a MAJOR investment!  The price was not small, and the fabrics were often out of stock.

Well, imagine my surprise when Jarrod included a note in my Valentine's recording.  He said to watch out for a special delivery in the mail any day now.  He had ordered it on February 2nd...only to find out that it would take 2-3 weeks to make the bag to his specifications.

I waited and waited, and just last week Courtney's new travel bag arrived in the mail.....the bag is lovely!
It features a happy brown and pink design that is very cheery.  The fact that my hubby picked it out, special ordered it and kept it a surprise for Valentine's day just sweetens the deal! 
I love him so!
Even after 10 years....he still keeps me guessing!

As a funny side note....the above picture shows my new bag next to Janel's new bag.....both ordered by our hubbies, who HAD NOT talked to each other about their surprise! Too funny huh?  It's like our bags are adopted creations from the same family :D
Wow, I REALLY to stop personifying inanimate objects!

Here's to keeping each other on our toes!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Homemade has a different flavor

I am a creative being....I think most of us are in some way.  Maybe you scrapbook....or dance.....or dream up organizational systems for your office/home (yup that counts!).....or find yourself party planning  for the tiniest milestones.....etc. 
After all, WE were created in the image of God....our Creator....thus, as His reflection, I think we would all feel the need to create in SOME way.
But what do I know?? 
I just know that I am more content when I am making something new.  Even if it's just sprucing up something old....or using a new recipe like this one....for the 4 year old who loves wasn't hard, but it was new to me:
So for the little girl who loves gifts.....who was in LOVE with Natalia's faux pearls during dress-up time....I thought a jewelry box would be a lovely birthday gift.
I ran to Marshall's hoping I'd find a perfect little girl trinket box.....but to no avail. 
Then I spotted the gem above.   At a GEM of a price...not that it matters gift-wise...but don't deals make the world go 'round? 
And with one small flaw....a tiny black smudged section on top.  Well I rubbed and rubbed and cleaned the spot with little result....then I thought....oooo pretty paper!
.....and Modge Podge!
Hopefully I girlied it up just enough....
Either way...the key was what was inside!
Baubles and gems and glittery goodies galore!
I think it worked...
She was in awe!
So here's to getting your creative juices flowing....I promise you'll feel better once you do!
As for me....those were just a couple of the things I 'made' this week.
How about YOU?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Let's Here It For The Boy!

When you have kids you find yourself swelling with pride...and often.
Little things can set me off on a proud moment.  Watching my 3 yr. old wash her hands without being asked.  Witnessing a moment of sweetness between siblings.  Hearing our oldest read to his siblings.  It doesn't take much  really.......but then a MAJOR hurdle presents itself and you realize that the little one you nursed in your arms just 5 short years ago....he is able to climb MOUNTAINS!

Inspite of having our Physical Therapy appointment cancelled yesterday.....(our PT guy called an hour before our appointment to say that he was booking up for the day...and he'd see us on Wednesday.
I might have growled at him....just a little)
Merrick is walking around like crazy.

All he really needed was the permission to try it out.  So we prodded a bit and now we're praying for him to slow down!  It's tough to keep a newly-mobile 6 year old from straining anything!
Especially when Tuesday's xrays looked great!
This is the side can see the spot where a tumor used to it looks like a paper cut in the bone.  Just a small little slice left to represent the hours of pain, the bushels of worry, and the upheaval of our lives.
The back view shows a bit more damage.
You can see where the bone had a nice chunk's indented a bit on the left side.
Because the healing bone represents the same in an xray as the tumor did, there is no way to know that it is all gone.  Well, except that our boy is no longer in pain.  Which is the best news of all.
The best thing is we won't be going back to THIS anytime soon:
Especially since this is what he looked like for most of Sunday.  Determined to 'run' with his friends.  You can see the concentration on his face as he hobbles.  Shuffle, shuffle, swing that leg.....
But he did it....and he slept like a baby that night.
By the grace of God we have heard the last of 'tumors'....and
we look forward to many more of these:
Cheers to our brave, strong boy.
Let's take it one step at a time!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Silver Lining

“God left the world unfinished for man to work his skill upon. He left the electricity still in the cloud, the oil still in the earth.
How often we look upon God as our last and feeblest resource!
We go to Him because we have nowhere else to go. And then we learn that the storms of life have driven us, not upon the rocks, but into the desired haven.”
I read this and's not that our cloud has a silver lining......
The lining was never the point.

This storm was a means to an end.  The process was was shaping and molding us, testing us at every turn!
The point was to trust in and rely on our Creator.  Not an unjust God who is blind to our plight.  But a compassionate, loving Savior who knew before we breathed our very first breathe, that this too was needful.  It was time to return to our haven.

I can only speak for myself, but I had missed the point for so long.  I had stopped talking to God as a friend, and more as a genie.  I pleaded and demanded from God.....I came to Him often as a tyrant or an unfair boss. 
As the waves of the storm continued I remembered my purpose.   I may be commanding this ship, but I have never been the captain.  These kids were counting on me for direction and to follow my example.  Would I complain our way through this ordeal, or rejoice with every new step? 
I think you know my choice.   And now I'm here to say that the end is in sight.

The shadow of those clous had obscured my view.  But then we saw it......

“A cloud cannot cast a shadow unless the sun is shining beyond it”

Merrick shuffle/walked for most of today.  I dared myself not to get over excited.  But with each halting step he proved his bravery.  Tomorrow we go back to Physical Therapy to check out his 'form.'  It's no longer an IF he will walk has progressed to a WHEN will  he walk smoothly again, and how can I help him?  From here improvements may be slow and laborious...Six more weeks the Dr. said, and of those two weeks need to be low no running.   

So as the sunlight warms my face with hope, my discouragement is waning.   I won't deny that complaining is still my forte.  But with so much to be thankful for....we must stay focused on the light behind the clouds.