Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Summer 2016

It's been so long and I don't have any idea where to start. It is the Summer of 2016 and the months have been flying by. This was the first summer in my children's lifetimes that I had to go to work everyday, instead of having the summer off with them. To say my heart was broken is an understatement, but we managed to squeeze in a family vacation and fun on weeknights and weekends. August will be here in just a few weeks, and it seems odd to not be preparing my classroom with lots of colorful supplies for upcoming students. I still question myself daily on whether or not I made the right decision - leaving the classroom after 13 years of teaching. There are pros and cons to my decision and I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. One thing is for sure - I miss the lazy summer days that I had with
my kids. Here is what we have been up to all summer:

Playing lots and lots of baseball! Callie played T-ball for the first time this year and did a great job - and paid more attention in the game then I thought she would! 
Max moved up to the major league and was the youngest on his team - but ended up having a great season and even made All-Stars!


We spent time with close friends and family...


We had a baby shower for my sweet sister-in-law…and I will have a brand new niece in just a few weeks! I can't wait to hold her and see my brother become a daddy!



 We visited Destin, Florida with Gabe's family for a week and had such a wonderful time bonding with family!


Relaxing in the sun...

Fishing in the pond in front of our home...


And having some unforgettable moments of fun!!



Friday, June 3, 2016

News stories...

I lay in bed while the news articles I have read earlier today jumble up in my head. As I read each story I felt physically ill. That feeling didn't leave as a trudged through my day. It kept nagging and nagging at the edge of my emotions.
Children.
Children being beaten and starved and raped and I just don't understand. Details and phrases are stuck in my head - the agony these children experienced without reason.
I think of my own babies tucked tightly into their beds and feel guilt. Guilty that they are so loved and so taken care of...when there are so many children who aren't.
I feel such a desire to GET UP and HELP...to do something that will make a difference. Something that will make the horrible news stories stop. The only viable option I can see at 10 pm on a Thursday night is pray. I pray for the mothers and fathers who are ravaged by drugs, I pray for the children who only get a meal when they go to school for the day, I pray for the babies who are beaten to death for crying, yet aren't even old enough to form words for what they need or want.
And I cry. I cry for those kids who have never known what it feels like to be safe.
To not be afraid when they go to sleep.
To not wonder when they will eat next.
To not worry about making mommy or daddy mad.
For those who suffer and have done absolutely nothing wrong.
I pray.


Our world is filled with sadness and scariness and hit-you-in-the-gut stories every single day in the news. The only thing I can cling to is my HOPE in Jesus. And I know how He feels about children:


Matthew 18:2-6
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them.
3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
                                    
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.


Please join me in prayer for the children who are helpless to the abuse and suffering they endure each day. "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. " Matthew 18:20

Friday, July 24, 2015

Okaloosa Island - 2015

Over July 4th (Gabe & I's 5th anniversary) - we traveled to Okaloosa Island, FL, with my parents, my brother, and his fiance, Hanna. Cole, Melinda, and Nate couldn't come - we missed them like crazy! It was a 10 hour drive that I was VERY nervous about, but everything went extremely smooth & the kids did great with all the traveling! We stopped about every two hours for restroom breaks and snacks - Max kept busy on his iPod, while Callie watched movies on the DVD player. 
Neither of my kids had ever seen the ocean - so I was SUPER excited to see their faces when we arrived at the beach! Max is 9 years old - and the last time I was at the ocean, I was pregnant with Max! He didn't know what to expect, but ended up LOVING it!








































We stayed in a condo called "Sea Oats 106" and it couldn't have been more perfect! We literally walked out the sliding glass door right to the pool, then just had to walk over the short boardwalk and onto the beach. 



The location was perfect and the island was quaint & family-oriented! There were no fast-food restaurants on the island, but just over the bridge (about 3 min.) - there were all kinds of fast-food, grocery stores, or anything else you needed! The island is also just 15 miles from Destin - but we never even made it over there!  
Some of our favorite places to eat on the island were Rockin' Tacos, The Old Bay Steamer, and FudPuckers. I even had some yummy drinks!


Each morning we would head out to the beach and play in the ocean all morning! The kids really loved the water - I was afraid Max wouldn't get in because of all the reports of shark attacks this summer (none where we were), but he swam more than anyone else! We spent each morning soaking up the sun - then would go back to the condo for lunch!

After lunch each day, we would spend the afternoon in the pool, relaxing, and sometimes taking naps:) It really was the most relaxing vacation I've ever been on!

In the evenings, we would do something fun for the kids and go out to eat. Sometimes the kids would want to take an evening walk on the beach. There was so much beautiful white sand and clear, blue water!!




The kids LOVE their Uncle Clay - he is such an amazing role model in their lives!

The kids loved The Gulfarium - there were lots of dolphins, crabs, penguins, sharks, birds, and alligators to see. 




I even had the opportunity to take some engagement photos of my favorite couple - I mean, come on- there is no way to get a bad photo of these two!!!

I tried to convince my family to just forget about little Odon, Indiana and move to this little island…but it didn't work! I really did want to stay - it was the best vacation I had ever been on! I will never forget the look of amazement on my children's faces when they realized there is more to see besides cornfields and 1 stoplight towns. I hope we can return to this same location some summer soon!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Those I've loved and lost...

Death is such a punch in the gut. 
One day we were getting sweet kisses on the check and feeling his soft, wrinkly skin against our faces. 
My phone was ringing and his number was showing up on the screen. 
He had his old, worn Bible clutched in his hands with his arms spread wide…waiting for a hug. 

And this isn't the first time. It wasn't that long ago that we mourned this sweet man. I don't remember a time he wasn't waiting for a visit in that old house - with the musty attic and creaking stairs. 
He would drive up to the house on his green ranger for a visit. 
He would hold my children and capture my heart with his laughter. 
He didn't say much, but when he spoke to you…you listened and took everything to heart. He was a farmer his entire life, and passed down the love of the soil to his oldest son. 

And then there is this sweet woman - who had a huge part in molding me into the woman that I am today. 
Her kitchen was always open, always filled with amazing aromas, and a sanctuary where I could learn and share in her joy for baking. 
I inherited her "worrying" gene.
Max was her pride and joy…and although she never got to meet her first great-granddaugther, I like to think that she was the very first person to hold her namesake, before I even met my Callie Catherine.
So here I am…an abundance of sadness in my heart, but memories flooding my mind on a daily basis. I will get through this - God is my strength…these three people have instilled that in me. Because of their guidance and example, my faith continues to grow and I have so much HOPE...

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Hello Spring!

The weather has taken a turn for the better - HELLO SPRING…and we have been enjoying the warm temperatures! We spent a couple days at French Lick over Spring Break just to get away with the kids on a mini-vacation. They loved every minute of it and swam their little hearts out!


Max has been playing lots of basketball and baseball - he is a true sports lover & wants to be playing one or the other every single second of the day! Even on our days "off," he's asking to go to the ball park or gym!


We also celebrated Easter at several family member's houses! Lots of fun, Easter egg hunts, catching-up with family, and candy, of course:)!
 

We also celebrated my Grandpa Beasley's 90th birthday, Max had a wax museum at school where he was Albert Einstein, and Callie had her first preschool program! It's been a busy 2 months!


May is almost here - my next surgery is scheduled for June 2nd. I am extremely anxious about it, since it is a larger surgery then the 1st. Keep me in your prayers - because sometimes my anxiety is overwhelming!


Monday, March 23, 2015

3 months and a few photos...

I don't even know where to start - it's been soooooo long! I've just been:
dreaming and thinking,
working and watching ball,
snuggling my babies and enjoying the weather,
napping and relaxing,
cheerin' and traveling,
on-the-go and blessed-as-can-be.   Here are a few photos of what we've been up to!
This was taken during the North Daviess Cheer Clinic by Amy Graber - thanks for capturing this moment, Amy!!
The Odon Sawmill was recognized in Indianapolis for being the 2014 Loggers of the Year! Congrats guys!
I went through a surgery to remove a fibroid in my uterus. Unfortunately, it was too large to remove the entire thing, so another surgery will be scheduled for this summer:(!
Max has been playing ALOT of basketball - and his team won their division at the State Championship in Salem! That little team hustles like crazy, I'm super proud of them!
 Playing in the snow in February…we had a week off of school!
 My sweeties eating out at Steak-n-Shake…they had to order milkshakes for dessert!
 Snuggling with my babies - there is NOTHING better then being a their mama!
 Taking a walk in the beautiful weather…summer is on its way!
Celebrating Gabe's birthday with chocolate-covered strawberries! Well, there's nothing like catching up on 3 months worth of life with a few photos! I HAVE to do better at staying up to date on the blog!!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas 2014

Today is the first day of 2015 - seems completely impossible how fast the years are going. Christmas seemed so relaxed & magical this year. I really think the health problems I'm dealing with are making me slow down and take in each moment…just enjoy my kiddos and the magic that surrounds Christmas. We had several family parties to attend, but were able to really relax at each one & visit with the ones we love. 
Christmas Day family selfie

We spent Christmas Eve going from the Raber's, Grandma & Grandpa Swartzentruber's, and then ended up at my Mom and Dad's. 

 Callie was happy with her Frozen helmet, that matched her Frozen scooter…the only thing she asked for for Christmas!

The grandkids at Grandpa Bob & Grandma Raylene's…Lexi, AunaRay, Max, Jamison, and Callie

 My mom had a sign made for Max of a "quote" he came up with. He is super proud of it! He loves sports and making up sports quotes…he is an athlete through and through! 
 
 Melinda & Nate being sweet on Christmas Eve!
 Callie and Lexi Faith at Grandma Swartzentruber's!
 All the grandkids at Grandpa & Grandma Swartzentruber's - Max, Callie, Jamison, AunaRay, Reese, Lexi, Mila, and Parker
Uncle Clay & Hanna all snuggled in on Christmas Eve…

A few more days and it's back to the real world for me - back to work. I'm praying I keep this stomach bug I got yesterday to myself and my kiddos don't get it!! Yuck!
Happy 2015 - May God bless you and your families this year!!