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Broken Chains


And to top it off...it's spring cleanup in Woodstock, which means PILES upon PILES of JUNK. Everywhere.  Posted by Hello

The daffodils were even less impressed... Posted by Hello

I don't think the trees were too impressed with the snow. Posted by Hello

It snowed on Sunday... Posted by Hello

Glimpses of Spring Posted by Hello


I AM an American, after all...

Your Linguistic Profile:

75% General American English

15% Upper Midwestern

5% Dixie

5% Midwestern

0% Yankee

Neat little quiz...and further proof that I am NOT, contrary to what my dear husband claims, a "Yank".


Spring has Sprung!

The Daisy
What hand but His who arched the skies,
And pours the dayspring's living flood,
Wondrous alike in all He does,
Could raise the daisy's purple bud,
Mold its green cup, its wiry stem,
Its fringed border nicely spin,
And cut the gold-embossed gem,
That, set in silver, gleams within,
And fling it, unrestrained and free,
O'er hill and dale and desert sod:
That man, where'er he walks, may see
At every step the stamp of God?



Jacques--he's still alive! Posted by Hello


The birthday boy...ain't he cute? Posted by Hello

A Few Things I Love About My Husband

In honor of the birthday...here are a few things about my husband that bring me great joy.

1. He sings. A lot. And makes up songs. Frequently. About nonsensical things. It’s hilarious and joyful and wonderful.
2. He also raps…sort of. He makes bass sounds with his throat, and other noises with his cheeks and lips…he makes music!
3. He can come up with a poem at the drop of a hat. He rhymes like no one I’ve ever known. His favorite time to do this is after he’s gotten up in the morning and worked for an hour…he then comes back to bed and recites poetry to me. Annoying at times, yet endearing.
4. He likes to plan our menu for the week. He takes such an active role in our food lives…until it comes to actually cooking. Good thing I do that so well.
5. He is NOT a picky eater…he likes just about everything, except seafood. Which I also do not like. What more could I ask for?
6. He smells GOOD. All the time. Or nearly.
7. He winks. The world needs more winkers.

8. He is currently wearing a lanyard around his neck (for keys) that is black with bright yellow smiley faces. With a large (quarter-sized) yellow smiley face right in the middle. What’s not to love?
9. He believes birthdays are for celebration and thanksgiving, no matter how old you are. You will never hear him bemoan his age.

Happy Birthday, NPD!


Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you...

Today is a day to celebrate--with red text--the beginning of your 30th year. Hmm. Maybe just saying your 29th birthday is better? :)

"The Lord bless you, and keep you;
The Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace."

I hope you have a wonderful day! I love you!

*And, internet...feel free to leave birthday greetings here for my husband!*


Our "Hot Little Hands" Just Got Hotter!

We got the financing for our first home!! Woooo-hooooo!

Wow. Not as excited today as a few days ago, but still rather overwhelmed. And feeling guilty, for some reason. I've always thought that we wouldn't build a house until we were older, had a couple of kids, wanted to move out into the country, etc. But, here we are, 26 and almost-29 (more about THAT on Friday!), and not only on the verge of owning our own home, but also BUILDING it. Surprising to me, that's for sure. And yet not to God...so I wonder what He has in store for us in the next couple of months. Surely more opportunities to trust Him, to glorify Him, to live in Him...I REALLY hope we don't miss the boat on those awesome tasks! In the middle of the wonder and excitement and hassle and stress of building a house, I don't want to forget who we are in Jesus Christ...we are not our house...we are pilgrims, strangers, travelers...our citizenship is heavenly, not earthly.

Help us, Lord, not to forget that most important of facts. May we not become so attached to this home that we forget where our real Home is...and may this house never suffice, never satisfy us, never consume us, but always point us to the mansion You've prepared for us. At the same time, help us to truly make this house a godly home for our small family, for our friends and extended family. May it be a home full of grace, laughter, love, life, forgiveness and true contentment. May it be a reflection of You, Your grace, and the way in which You welcome sinners.


My first attempt and use of Picasa and Hello... Posted by Hello


Hot Little Hands

Hmmmm...maybe I should have titled this post "House Hunting Part 3"? 'Cause that's what it's about!

We have, in our "hot little hands" a CONTRACT to BUILD a HOUSE. SIGNED. [sorry for shouting...can you tell I'm excited?] This totally freaks me out, and of course Neil is totally stressed about it. Good news: my dad thinks it's a good investment, and would himself go for it. Good news #2: this contract is signed by all significant parties, and yet it is the ONLY copy of it. Therefore, if we change our minds, contract goes to Shredder Land, and no one loses any money or body parts. Tomorrow we discuss this with the in-laws...hopefully they will have some wise wisdom for us.

Reasons I am excited:

1. My piano can become a Canadian immigrant, too! Notice, people, I said IMMIGRANT, not citizen. Just so you're clear.
2. Neighbors...people to get to know, form friendships with, and...dare I say it...evangelize?
3. SPACE, people, it's all about the SPACE.
4. Decorating. I loooooove decorating.
5. My family doesn't have to stay in a motel when they come for a visit! Wooo hooo!
6. A dishwasher seems to be looming in our future...goodbye, dishpan hands!
7. NO MORE SMELLY STAIRWELLS. This alone is reason to rejoice.
8. NO MORE POT-SMOKING NEIGHBORS. At least that we can smell.
9. No more field of dog feces when you step outside...sorry, peeps, I know the mental imagery isn't good, but it is, unfortunately, a fact of life here at 60 Hiawatha.
10. We can actually entertain more than one couple at a time. I see a wine/cheese party in our future, as well.
11. People might actually be able to find our house now, instead of calling us while circling the city..."WHERE do you live??!!"
12. A garage. At least ONE family member will no longer have to wade through knee-deep snow to uncover the vehicle. And since I am the sole female member of the family...and the one who almost invariably leaves the house last...I wonder who that fortunate member would be??
13. Bikes. My bike can also become a Canadian immigrant. And Neil's can make the short drive from his parents' house to ours.

The possibilities and benefits seem to be quite endless. I could go on forever, but 13 seems a good number at which to stop. So, au revoir...off I go to contemplate house building.

I Think She Was a Vampire

Yep, I'm convinced. She wanted my blood...and she got it.

I had to get blood drawn yesterday for an immigration-related physical, and it was undoubtedly the WORST part. First an hour-long wait with a lot of elderly people and pregnant ladies (I felt rather out of place, and kept wanting to let other people go ahead of me. I didn't.). Then, when it was finally my turn, the blood letting began.

I don't watch when I get my blood drawn. I'm a little squeamish, but more importantly, if I watched, I'd probably jerk upon impact. Don't wanna do that when you're being impaled. So it hurt...a lot. I've had this done before. Not my first time. Doesn't freak me out...or, it didn't used to. When she pulled the needle out, I told her that she needed to sharpen her needles. It had hurt the WHOLE time. I almost had tears in my eyes. She--rather cavalierly, but I will allow her that since she probably sticks around 75 people a day--told me that the "inside" veins always hurt more (what other kinds of veins ARE there??!!), and that since my skin was cold, it would also hurt more. Hah. I suppose next time I'll come all bundled up in fleece and microfleece and wool and whatever else, even if in the middle of summer.

Then, of course, came the cotton ball that I had to hold...I realized I was pressing too hard, and the pain let up a little bit when I relaxed my grip. Then the bandaid...

I walk out of the hospital, not much worse for wear, thankfully, yet my arm CONTINUES to hurt for most of the day. Not just the point of impact, but my forearm, biceps, and SHOULDER. It's the shoulder that hurts the most. WHY would this BE??!! I'm envisioning infections and things getting poked that shouldn't have...however, today, all I am left with is a little hole, a nasty black and blue bruise, and an angry-looking red mark that I'm at a loss to explain.

However. Through the whole ordeal, I'm reminded that my little pinprick and resulting pain and bruise is NOTHING...NOTHING compared to what my Lord suffered on the cross...for ME. I squirm at a needle? At least it was relatively sharp. Imagine NAILS--large ones--being pounded through your hands and feet, and then hanging by them, the weight of your body tearing your flesh.

I have a tendency to gloss over the details of the crucifixion and focus on the fact that I'm going to heaven, and isn't it nice that Jesus rose again on the third day just like He said He would. But this was no small thing, people!! Just because we've heard it all our lives doesn't give us the right to say, "yeah, yeah, I know all about that". BECAUSE He died FOR US...shouldn't we be meditating on the COST of our freedom and imputed righteousness? I'm preaching to myself here, because I will be the first to stand up and admit my failings in this area. When the cross becomes real, it becomes powerful, and we see the gospel in all its bloody, wondrous glory.

And then our sufferings take on an entirely different meaning. We don't suffer needlessly or without purpose...we can rejoice in the cross, in our salvation, in the redemption that is taking place at this very moment in us and in the world...and yet it may be that we need to "be grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of our faith...may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1).

Devotions last night produced a few quotes for meditation:

"...some of the grace of God that are already in you are not able to show themselves, nor their excellency, nor their power, nor their potential, except when you are in a state of suffering..."


"...in truth, it is for our present and future good that God sends them [troubles] our way...such things are necessary for the health of our souls, just as bodily pains and labor are for the body..."

"...we need those bitter pills, at which we wince and grimace so much: and it will be well if finally we are purged and healed by them. I am sure we are only a little better yet, although the physician has been treating us for a long time..."

"...I see that we still need these trials; and if God by these, will judge me as He judges His saints, that I may not be condemned with the world, I will cry, "Grace, grace for ever!"

--John Bunyan, Advice to Sufferers, pp. 4-5