Saturday, October 29, 2011

Started Making CHRISTmas Gifts

Trip to the Cider Mill with Mimi and Papa

Lots to Update

I have so much to update. I think I need to be a bit more diligent. So this post will cover a couple of weeks and will, most definitely, not be in chronological order. But, I guess, you would never know.

A week ago, the 19 year old daughter of my parent's friends, died in a car accident. My heart has been breaking for them. I can't imagine, and don't want to. They have obviously been grieving, but what I didn't expect (and am not sure why I didn't) was how it would impact my own parents. It is as if their wounds from B.T. have been ripped wide open. Not only can the empathize with their friends and grieve with them, their own hearts are gushing blood again. I hate this. I hate how this hurts them.

My grandma went into the hospital and has been there a couple of weeks. They think she may have had a couple of strokes and she has fallen and broken a couple of bones in her back. The doctor says she really can't live alone anymore. My mom has been dealing with this too. Grandma does not want to give up her independence, but she really isn't independent anymore.

Greg went into the hospital this week. He had a terrible bout of diverticulitis and had to spend a night in the hospital, getting IV antibiotics. We REALLY have to change how he eats. I know this attack was brought on by poppy seed chicken and corn. Those are off the menu.

Jacob, Grace and Jadyn all had field trips within the last week. Jacob and Grace went to the pool, and Jadyn went to the cider mill. I guess I can put in the pics here.

Jadyn woke up one morning and came to my bedroom and told me that her "nose was all hogged." She meant clogged. I guess it was more funny to see her tell me than is comes across here.

I have made a new friend - and I am very happy about it. She is the mother of one of Grace's friends. Each time we talk, we seem to have more and more in common. The best thing? We have Jesus in common. Thank you LORD, for my new friend, Stephanie.

Oh.....I almost forgot one of the MOST exciting things that has happened to me recently. The night that Greg came home from the hospital (thank you, Papa) I went out to run some errands. One of them was to go to Target for a return. I really try to limit my trips to Target because I want a pair of Converse tennis shoes and Greg keeps telling me to wait until CHRISTmas. While I was there, I ran into my friend, Kristy - Kenton's (Jadyn's old boyfriend) mom. We have not seen each other in a while and stood there talking for about 30 minutes. I miss hanging out with her - she is now homeschooling. We keep talking about getting together for lunch, but never quite seem to make it happen. We really have to get on that. But...over the course of our conversation, I told her about why I limit my trips to Target. Fastforward to the next morning, and my kids were shouting that there was a present on the front porch. We all thought we were "boo-ed", because we are so close to Halloween. When I opened the door, I saw a card inside. I took it out and it said my name on it. Weird, I thought. Who would have left this? I opened the card and the sobbing began. It was from Kristy. And, it was a pair of Converse tennis shoes! What a sweetheart. The card said some very nice words about me - words that I really don't deserve. Words that can only be said of the good that comes from Christ. I did spend the entire morning crying. I was so overwhelmed by her generosity. And I was overwhelmed by the way God provided for me. I know this is such a small deal, but like I explained to would you feel if someone left an Ipod Touch on the front porch? He said, " I would love it!" I told him that now he knew how I felt. Kristy is an amazing friend - and not because of the shoes. But what I love about this is how God worked it out. That still has me completely dumb-founded. I love my GOD so much! And, here again, not because of the shoes (although they are a nice bonus). He loves me so much. What matters to me matters to Him. It doesn't always mean I get what I want. Rather, it means, I get what gives Him glory. Praise His Holy Name!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Prayer ALWAYS Helps

Funny how that is, huh?

Tonight, I was putting the boys to bed......20 minutes early......because I was sick and freaking tired of their fighting. Also an interesting thing. My 9 year old and my 3 year old fighting. So, I was sitting on their beds and did not feel like singing to them. I did not feel like praying. I just wanted them to sleep and be quiet. Nevertheless, I prayed. First, telling God that I simply did not want to pray and that I was sick of them fighting. Then, I prayed for my own forgiveness, for being crabby and impatient and plain tired. As I prayed, I felt the irritation slipping away. Next, I prayed for forgiveness for the boys, for their fighting and crabbiness. Before I knew it, Grant was lying his head in my lap. Then he was climbing up me. How could I continue to be irritated and angry. These are MY boys and I love them so much. Yes, they can certainly irritate me. But, I know I can also irritate them. But, God has really given us an amazing relationship. I firmly believe this is because HE is the center of it.

The boys are in bed. The girls are reading to each other. Greg is sitting across from me reading something - out loud. It makes it VERY HARD for me to concentrate on what I am typing, so I will go before my irritation comes back with a vengeance. Night.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thankfulness Abounds

I have so much to be thankful for. But if you have read one word I have said, I think you might already know that. But, I cannot express enough the greatness, faithfulness and love of my God. As I was sitting here paying bills last night, thinking we are never going to make it, worrying about how to pay all the bills.....I realized that every single month our bills are paid. Every. Single. Month. Period. God is so good to us. We could never earn this type of provision, this type of love. It is truly unbelievable. Greg makes less money than he has in years and yet, by the wonderful grace of God, we still eat, are clothed and housed and even do some fun things. I am certainly feeling content, despite the attempts to look at houses yesterday.

(As a footnote to this....a dear friend asked me yesterday if I was "forcing" contentment on the house front. I can easily and truthfully answer "no" to this. Clearly, I would like my own house, but I also realize that right where I am now is exactly where God has put me and when it is time for me (my family) to move from here, He will let us know.)

So, I looked at a house yesterday. Actually I looked at 3. Funny thing is, I was supposed to look at 7 - and 4 of them canceled! if that was not enough, while I was at the first one, I received a call from the school that Grace was in the office with a migraine headache - the exact thing that happened the last time I was looking at houses during the day. I thought, OK LORD, do you really want me to stop looking at houses? I kind of figured yes. So I told Greg about the houses and he really couldn't talk and didn't really seem to care, but later in the day he called me and wanted me to schedule to see this one house - so he could see it. As I was in the process of scheduling it, I received an email with information on that house. The price had just dropped! OK, now what was I to think? Is this yes? Is this no? Is this proceed with caution? I am very confused. Greg seemed to like the house but if we were to do it it would have to be for much less than the asking price. So we will just see what materializes.

(I feel like my thought pattern is all over the place today - sorry.)

Another thing I have to be especially thankful for marriage. Greg said in church on Wednesday night that our moving to Illinois, even though it was difficult, was the best thing to happen to our marriage and our family. And I totally agree. Then yesterday I was talking with a friend who lives in our old subdivision and she was telling me about some people who were getting a divorce. The sad thing about this is that it is like divorce is spreading through that subdivision like a disease. There are so many couples that have gotten divorced or are in the process, since we left, it is scary. Yet, God had a plan for us. Am I saying that we would have ended up divorced is we stayed there? I don't know and honestly, I don't care. God took (OK ripped) us from there and planted us in an area with fresh (soybean processing smelling) air and allowed us to grow. Not only as a couple and as a family, but most importantly, in Him. I LOVE THIS MORE THAN ANYTHING!!!!! It is so cool to look back and see God's hand all over your life.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Can Jesus Be Demanded into Your Heart?

I was just talking with the girls and Jadyn asked who was better God or Jesus. I explained how they are the same, yet different, and that Jesus is who died for our sins. He is who we ask into our hearts. I told her that he will return one day and take us to heaven to live with Him forever. She said, "I don't want to go to heaven forever." I said, "Well, the only other place is....*nod, nod* know....hell." Grace chirped in, "You do not want to go there. It is terrible." Jadyn looked at me, she looked up and said, very matter-of-factly, "Jesus......GET INTO MY HEART." I told her that maybe, just maybe she might want to ask. Who knows? If her heart is right, that is all that matters. I just think she could ask Jesus a little nicer. That's all I'm saying. However, she did immediately cover her face, and within a few seconds she said that she asked Jesus into her heart in her mind. I told her is doesn't really matter how you ask or even what you say. God knows your heart. He knows when you are serious and when you are being silly. What a precious night for a mom!

Monday, October 10, 2011

On My Mind.....

1. The house thing again. I can't shake the desire for my own place. I keep praying that if this is wrong, that God will change my heart. Either I am way too stubborn, or it is not wrong. I will continue to pray.
2. Tanner - Shelbi and Dylan. Sweet baby born 10-3-11, 16 weeks early, 1lb 6 oz, Fighting hard.
3. Tracey Sahouri and her family.
4. Myana Komaromi and her health.
5. Carolyn and the stresses in her family.
6. Loralee and the loss of her mom.
7. Lisa and her family situation.
8. Marileen's daughter, Connie and her daughter, Grace.
9. My kids and their choice in friends.
10. Finances.
11. Salvation of my family and friends that do not know Jesus.
12. Laura on bed rest.
13. All the rest of my pregnant peeps: Becky, Julie, Jacki.

Clearly, there is more, but these are the things weighing most heavily as of this moment. Just in case you wanted to know. God knows.....and that is all that really matters. What matters to me, matters to Him. I so love than about Him.

Another prayer is that I will remain a humble servant of my LORD. I have a tendency (with 2 specific people) to get a secret competitiveness inside. I hate that so much. I am praying that God will change my heart in regard to this. I have no reason to compete with anyone on anything. I am so blessed and I never want pride or arrogance to get in the way.

My heart after yours LORD.

I need to embrace our family motto:


(In that order)

Maestro, If You Please......

I walked in on Grant playing the piano this morning. He was playing the way he was taught - one finger at a time - no banging. The song actually had a nice sound to it. Then he started the lyrics. He sang, "I love my Grandpa. I love my Grandpa." I was the sweetest thing. I just wish Grandpa would have seen/heard it. Or that I would have had time to get my camera before he caught me watching him.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

On a Lighter Note.......

Monday, Grant and I were at grandma and grandpa's house, visiting grandma. As I was sitting on the bed talking to my mom, I didn't realize that Grant had started drawing on the picture of a girl that Grace had just colored for Grandma. When I finally noticed what he was doing, I quickly stopped him and asked what he was doing. He replied, "I'm giving her boobs." WHAT?!? How do you even know what that is? He is only 3 for crying out loud!

Later that evening, at dinner, I was re-capping the days events. I started telling the story to my family and my sister's friend Kristie (who was over to test Grace, but I digress). When I got to the boobs part, Jacob, who had just taken a huge drink of milk, gave those of us lucky enough to be sitting across from him, a milk shower. Completely covered the table, myself and Kristie. Nice, Jacob. Real nice. This was immediately followed by outrageous roars of laughter. A very fine evening at the Pawlak household, if I do say so myself. So much for fine dining.

Carry One Another's Burdens

All I really want to do is rest. Ever have days like that? We are coming off the emotional roller coaster of mom's surgery, and we have hopped right back onto another TWO wild rides.

The first of which has to do with my own kiddos. There is some "stuff" going on around our school - our second home, if you will. There are some accusations and legal proceedings, of which I know nothing, taking place. What I do know is that the person being attacked is nothing if not professional and proper and kind. I am really appalled at what is going on. Now let me be the first to say.....I was not present at the above-mentioned incident. I do not know what, if anything, happened. this I care. What may or may not have happened in this situation, has ZERO impact on how this person performs her, yes she is a woman, job. In fact, I only recently learned about what is going on - and this has been going on since the beginning of summer. There has been absolutely no stutter in her step. She has consistently been present and done her job in a way that is absolutely professional. And....if that was not bad enough....some COWARD had the nerve to contact the "MEAP police" and "anonymously" tell them that our school - MY school - was cheating. Seriously? If you really thought there was something going and, and had proof of it, wouldn't you feel confident enough to leave your name? And wouldn't the first step be to go the person? Wait......that is in a world where people have common sense and know what is "right" to do. Sorry if I sound cynical, but this just really cheeses me off. I have nothing but respect for this person being accused. She is not only having herself dragged through the mud, but also her career and even her own family. That is W-R-O-N-G on so many levels. What is even more interesting (absolutely is completely by the GRACE OF GOD), is that yesterday, when the "MEAP police" were present at school - checking to see if we were cheating (which is definitely a good thing, when it is warranted) - I happened to be there. Wednesday is my day to be at school, working for my kid's teachers. I knew something was up because there were all kinds of meetings going on. Around 3pm, I was asked if 2 of my kids would talk to the investigators. Because I feel confident that MY school is not hiding anything, I allowed my kids to talk. Of course, I was with them and so was another child and parent. What I did not like about the interview was the investigator trying to lead the kids on in what to say. Things like asking them how they "did" math. When the kids told them they did packets (like they have always done), the investigators were like, "tell us more about the packets. Where did they come from?" Oh, come on. Really? The kid knows that? I was very bothered about the whole incident. I came home and sent an email to the person, telling her I was so sorry this happened, and that we were behind her and we would be praying for her and her family. Which we will and are. Then, this morning as I was reading the Bible, I read Psalms 59, and I could not help but think of this person again. So, to the computer I ran again and sent her another email - attempting to encourage her from here. I took my kids to school and came back home. As soon as I walked into the house, I noticed that Jacob had left his snack. Being the dutiful mom that I am, I drove back up to the school with it. Secretly, I also hoped to talk to this person. Again, by THE GRACE OF GOD, I was able to spend a few minutes talking with her. My purpose was to let her know we were standing behind her, and that we were praying for her, and to remind her that truth always wins. What I really wanted to say and didn't was......God always wins!!!! Praise His NAME!!!

I am carrying a burden for this woman. We are not what I would consider "friends", although she seems to be the kind of person I would be friends with. I care deeply for her. She has a tremendous impact on my children and this cannot be trusted to just anyone. I pray that God's will will be done in this situation and that all the kid's at MY school will come out of this unharmed. This includes hers.

LORD, please strengthen and encourage this woman. Let her know that YOU are "our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1) Help her to rely, not on her own understanding, but solely on YOU - the Creator of All that Is. Praise You forever!

The second ride has to do with the grand-daughter of a friend. She left home to live with her grandma. Her grandma gave until there was no more to give and the girl finally ran from there. She ended up in the U.P., and apparently since then got married and pregnant. 3 days ago and 16 weeks early, she gave birth to a little boy (Tanner) who weighs 1 lb 6 oz. The pictures of this precious baby are heart-wrenching. What is think of the life this sweet baby may have. If, and that is a huge if, he does not have physical problems from being born so early, he has the ridiculous challenge of being raised by someone who is hardly more than a child herself. With age having nothing to do with it, this precious girl was never really parented herself, so she can't possibly have any idea of where to start. Now, I know this sounds really rotten. And I know it is. But I also know it is the truth. But.....what I also know is that we serve the One Who Overcame. God sent His Son to overcome death, to overcome sin......believe me when I say, God most certainly can overcome this possible perpetual circle of un-parenting. I remember sitting at my kitchen table with this girl, trying to set up a schedule for her for when she went to college. Trying to help her get through college successfully. We were all so happy that she graduated high school, and she felt like no believed in her.....that she could do college. She was determined to prove them all wrong. THAT is why this is so sad. She did EXACTLY as people thought she would. It was like as soon as she got there, she just gave up. Told herself she couldn't do anything more. Believed the lies of the devil. She absolutely could have done so much. Now...she HAS to. There is no time more important for her to grow up and prove everybody wrong, than there is right now. She has this precious new life, hanging in the balance, to care for. She NEEDS to grown up FAST. She needs to be the momma. Tanner needs her - badly!

Jesus, sweet Jesus, PLEASE help this girl realize how important this time is in her life. Please help her grow up. Please remove the scales of past failures from her eyes and help her to see the possibilities of this new future. Jesus, please protect that baby, however you must. I pray for strong lungs and heart, strong brain waves, and a vibrant will to survive for that precious child.

"Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2

Monday, October 3, 2011

Bountiful Blessings

What a busy weekend it has been! Friday night we had a fun time eating and watching baseball with Doug, Edy and their girls. Saturday evening I was supposed to go with my mom to my grandma's house to spend the night and help prepare for my cousin's shower on Sunday. Notice I said "supposed to". Saturday morning Greg, most of the kids and I went and looked at pop-up campers. While we were there I received a phone call from my mom, telling me she was in the hospital. I said, "Seriously?!? You're lying." She said, "No, Michelle, I'm not." She ended up having to have her gall bladder removed in an emergency surgery. While surgery of any kind is not any fun, we were really blessed by this one. First of was Saturday. That meant a few things. One...there was no one else in the surgical unit but us. Two...Greg was home so he could watch my kiddos. Praise the LORD ~ everything went well with her surgery (which started at noon, and she was home in bed by 3pm - wow!) I made the phone calls letting people know we would not be at the shower, but my mom kept saying that she wanted to go. I finally told her we would see how she felt around 11am on Sunday and decide from there. When I got to her house on Sunday, she looked way better. And she was going to the shower. So......we went. It was a beautiful shower and my mom was so happy that she was able to go - I think her family was too. I know I was glad for her. But by the time we got home, she was past ready for bed. While I didn't get to have the night away at grandma's with my mom, we certainly spent quite a bit of time together this weekend. I was so blessed to have been able to be there to help her. I was also blessed by my Aunt Gayle, who sat at the hospital with me, then brought over homemade chicken noodle soup later that night. What a treasure. Then Carolyn brought over chicken and rice for dinner the next night - yes.....another blessed treasure to our family. My mom's friend, Georgette, came up to the ER and was sitting with my mom until I got there. She is an awesome lady too. Oh, how God has blessed us with wonderful family and friends. Where was my dad, you are asking? Home. Working with Jacob. Now.....before you go getting mad...hear me out. He is not real good in situations where my mom is hurt. AND....he knows that I will be there. She did not want anyone at the hospital with her and he respected that - I did not. I was not allowing her to be alone. Basically, it was the pain talking and that was what my dad was listening to. It really worked out good. Another blessing from the LORD. My dad had Jacob to keep him occupied, so that he wasn't driving me crazy at the hospital. And I was able to care for my mom the way she wanted. When she got home, dad came in and took over. He is much better in that environment.

In the meantime, Jacob made a travel basketball team. We were not trying to do that, but, well.....we'll see. He was supposed to be going for evaluations for the rec league. Apparently, I got the dates mixed up and yesterday was tryouts for travel. Greg decided that since he was already there, he might as well try. Parents were not allowed in the gym at all. This was something different for us. About halfway through, the coach came out to Greg and said that Jacob was on the team. He also said that Jacob was not the best player, but with his aggressiveness and height, he could be coached into a great player. Wow! That was awesome to hear! We always knew Jacob was awesome! While we were not intending to enter into the world of travel sports, apparently that is where God wanted us. I pray for protection over Jacob, great growth in Jacob as a young man and as a basketball player, and that God would use us for His glory in that league.

So, you see, it has been a VERY busy weekend. Praise God for His blessings!